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The Moving Crew

Gifts that Fit

Tuesday, December 7, 2004; Page HE03

You've come to rely on the Moving Crew for knowing, nuanced, even dazzling fitness counsel, not cheesy holiday gift guides. But since we pride ourselves on delivering the unexpected, this week we proudly offer . . . our holiday gift guide!

Unlike others, our list is certified cheese-free. More important, it matches each gift with a particular type of exerciser (or prospective exerciser), making gift selection a breeze.

Pilates videos (or DVDs) by Romana Kryzanowaska.

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Door Gym (Creative Fitness; $43; www.karatedepot.com/chinup-bars.html; 877-216-2669)

Best for Exercisers under house arrest; anyone with enough motivation to hang out in a doorway and work out at home; those who yearn for the high-school fitness tests of yore.

How to use Resembling a mutated chin-up bar, the Door Gym attaches (and detaches) in minutes to most doorways (no fasteners needed) and lets users employ body weight for chin-ups, pull-ups and, when laid on the floor, elevated pushups. Add Ab Loops ($33) -- i.e., elbow harnesses -- to perform mid-air midriff exercises.

Pilates videos (or DVDs) by Romana Kryzanowska, the oldest living Pilates trainer to have studied with Jospeh Pilates ($20 each; $70 for set of four; www.centralhome.com/ballroomcountry/pilates.htm).

Best for Serious Pilaticists who will appreciate the "authenticity" of the link to Da Man Himself; seekers of long, lean muscles, core strength and great flexibility who bristle at the "om factor" of yoga; older exercisers seeking inspiration.

How to use Square up in front of the tube and try to keep up with the lithe octogenarian as she leads basic mat work and more challenging moves (the advanced video promises to work every muscle(!) in 20 minutes). We sat in on one of Kryzanowska's classes and can attest to her skill, energy and ability to teach the unlithe and unknowing.

Stretchware, "ergonomic software" (download, $25; CD-ROM, $30; www.stretchware.com/index.html#buy) developed by Bob Anderson, author of the tome "Stretching."

Best for Pod dwellers cultivating repetitive motion injuries; byte-frazzled geeks who regularly forget they have bodies attached to their brains; anybody who has begun to resemble Quasimodo.

How to use Created on one of our favorite premises -- that humans aren't designed to sit around -- the software shrewdly reminds you when to stretch (based on keystrokes, minutes, etc.) and demonstrates desk-front stretches tailored to your needs.

Medicine ball and instructional video (starting around $18 for ball and around $35 for video, from numerous makers; try www.bodytrends.com/prodmed.htm).

Best for Exercisers enthused by colorful new toys; people who prefer to play, not work out.

How to use In home, office, yard or neighbor's holiday party, these spheres can be tossed, spun, caught or dropped (whoops!) on a rival's toes to boost muscle speed, strengthen the core and improve balance.

Quick hits, both available from various makers: For chronic suitcase-schleppers, try an exercise band ($10-$25). For people with sore backs or kids around the house, try a stability ball ($20 to $50). For either of these two, add a slim book explaining their use.

Have a favorite fitness item we didn't mention here? If it costs less than $50, e-mail us at move@washpost.com. We'll report great suggestions in our online chat on Thursday, Dec. 16.

-- John Briley

© 2004 The Washington Post Company


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