My exercise routine, mixed with the lack of gym membership and ridiculous Florida heat, has me working out at home 4-5 days a week. As such I am constantly on the lookout for new and effective home workouts. There is little I hate more than spending hours analyzing exercise DVD’s on Amazon just to purchase one and find out for various reasons that it’s ineffective, boring or some dreadful combination of the both. I plan on reviewing many workouts in the future but I wanted to start today with two of my favorite DVD’s, Xtende Barre and Booty Barre (clicking on DVD photos will take you directly to the products on Amazon).
The first Ballet style DVD I purchased was Xtend Barre by Andrea Rogers. As with most Ballet workouts I would recommend doing them only if you are in fairly good condition to start with, can ‘catch on’ to moves quickly and have 45-60 minutes to spare. If those criteria are met I can assure you this is a challenging and exteremely effective workout. My heart rate stays elevated to approximately 80% of my maximum for the duration of the workout and it’s not unusual for me to experience some mild soreness the next day from it – despite having done this workout for months now! The breakdown of the segments are as follows:
Warm-up: 6 minutes. I am reluctant to say this but I feel that the warm-up may be one of the most challenging portions of the dvd! If you can get through the first 6 minutes than you can absolutely do the rest of the workout. I remember the first time I did this I was shocked that I was sweating buckets before the warm-up was over!
Upper-body: 11 minutes. Here you need a set of 1-3 pound weights. I use 3 pounds but have to do less reps of some of the exercises as even the light weights become tedious after a few minutes of working with them. Andrea really focuses on the shoulders and triceps here and I’ve found it to be one of the best arm workouts of any dvd I own.
Barre: 24 minutes. For this portion you use a chair as your ballet barre. I once had a girl tell me that I had the body of a cheerleader because my ass is so high. This workout is why. Seriously. There are intervals of cardio included to keep your heart rate up and the time flies by.
Core: 10 minutes. For those familiar with pilates you’ll see some familiar moves in this segment. Nothing extraordinary or ‘new’ in this portion but a great ab workout.
Cool-down :5 minutes. I must confess – I never do her cool down. I’ll stretch on my own for a few minutes but by this point I’ve been cursing at her for so long I just want to curl up in a sweaty fetal position alone.
Overall – for people who are interested in trying a Ballet style workout I always recommend this DVD first. Her instructions are clear and very easy to follow and the workout is challenging but not impossible.
A few months after I started doing Xtend Barre I began searching for new Ballet fusion workouts to try. I came across Tracey Mallett and I’m not ashamed to admit I have a total girl crush on her. She’s bubbly without being annoying and has an adorable Australian accent. I find her Booty Barre Total New Body DVD to be more advanced than Xtend Barre so I wouldn’t start with this one unless you have a background in ballet. Her instructions are a little less clear than Andrea’s so I found myself needing a few minutes to ‘catch on’ to some of her moves. Her workout is the same length as Xtend Barre (approximately 60 minutes) but it feels longer as it is more difficult.
Warm-up: 9 minutes. Plie variations constitute the bulk of this fast paced warm-up. I like that it is a bit long for a warm-up and you are introduced to some of the same moves and stances you’ll see later on in the ‘real’ work-out.
Arms: 10 minutes. For this portion she recommends you use 3-5 pound weights. She uses the 5 pound weights and I still struggle to complete it using my 3 pounders. Every time I do this segment I am in shock that she can complete the entire set using 5 pound weights – the arm exercises are brutal! I really like that she encourages you to keep your abs and butt engaged while working on arms so even though you haven’t hit the ‘booty’ portion yet your still getting a total body workout.
Booty Barre: 33 minutes. I don’t know how I can put this nicely so I’ll just have to be blunt … this is brutal. The moves are quick and by the end of the time my legs are always shaking. I’d recommend watching this all the way through before trying it as the camera angles make it difficult to really see how to preform some of the moves. The only complaint I have about this part is that the first few times I did it I would get so excited when I heard her say “Okay only one more set to go!” and think the workout was almost over. WRONG! One more set in that particular circuit….not workout. Don’t get my hopes up.
Abs & Flexibility (Stretching): 13 minutes. Her ab workout is hands-down one of my favorites. She uses moves to target the obliques that I’ve never seen before and she really focuses on lengthening the core muscles to help improve your posture and give you the ‘dancers physique’ famously associated with Ballet.
Her workout is tough, but I’m a total sucker for a beating at the Barre. I’m excited to try some of her other DVD’s soon and I haven’t made up my mind definitively yet but there is a very real possibility I may train to become a certified Booty Barre instructor in the next few months!