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81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
I had never done any of Leah Sarago's workouts before getting the three new Signature Series DVDs. I had heard such raves about her downloads and these DVDs on the Video Fitness forum, though, that I decided to give them a try. Although I have done similar workouts in the past, I had been worried before ordering these that the Ballet Body workouts would be too advanced for a Ballet Body newbie like me. Each DVD is definitely tough, but they are fun and the time seems to fly by.

The workout runs about 45 minutes long, and you just need a mat to do it. I had been worried that it would be too long and intense for me, but Leah paces it so that just as your core seems to tire from one move, she has you move on to a different one.

This Core workout includes standing core work, along with many variations on side planks and C-curve work. Since my core is my weakest area and I often struggle with lower back problems, this workout was the one I was most worried about being able to do, but I've been able to stick with it by just taking more frequent breaks. I can tell that this DVD is going to make me much stronger and help with my back issues.

Also, if you struggle with neck issues when doing this DVD, try Googling "Pilates Enthusiasts Neck Strain and the C-Curve" for a great video on tips to help with strain/pain. For the last month, I have also been using Suzanne Bowen's Gorgeous Core with Suzanne Bowen DVD, and I think that it helped me build up to doing the Ballet Body one.

One of the only negatives in this and the Lower Body workout is that sometimes I had a hard time seeing the angles and positioning of Leah's body. (In the Upper Body workout, I didn't have this problem.) Instead of shooting her straight on, the camera sometimes shot from a side view, which made it hard for me to see the exact placement. I'm hoping that as I do this DVD more, though, I'll be able to make sure that my positioning is correct.

On her website, Leah also has posted various rotations for using the DVDs. (I would include the link here, but usually Amazon won't allow you to include links in reviews; if you look at the product description above, though, you'll see it.) She suggests you follow each rotation for four weeks, before moving on to the next level.

Here is a basic rundown of some of the rotations:

Day 1 Lower Body
Day 2 Cardio for 30-40 mins.
Day 3 Core
Day 4 Cardio for 30-40 mins.
Day 5 Upper Body
Day 6 Cardio for 30-40 mins.
Day 7 Rest day

Day 1 Lower Body
Day 2 Core + Cardio for 30-45 mins.
Day 3 Upper Body + Cardio for 30-45 mins.
Day 4 Rest day
Day 5 Lower Body
Day 6 Core + Cardio for 30-45 mins.
Day 7 Upper Body

Day 1 Lower Body + Cardio for 30 mins.
Day 2 Core + Upper Body
Day 3 Lower Body + Cardio for 30 mins.
Day 4 Rest day
Day 5 Core + Upper Body
Day 6 Lower Body + Cardio for 30 mins.
Day 7 Core + Upper Body

For cardio, Leah suggests that you do things like dance workouts, cycling, or swimming -- activities that won't "bulk" you up.

I'm just starting a six- or eight-week rotation using these, so I'll be sure to update my reviews of each DVD as I continue with this program. I plan on doing dance cardio (like Zumba and hi/lo aerobics) and kickboxing for the duration of my rotation.

Overall, though, each workout is very unique, and I'll post back on any changes I notice as I progress through my rotation.

UPDATE AFTER THREE WEEKS: I did the Intermediate rotation using all three DVDs for three weeks (after which time I had to stop working out for a few weeks due to some stitches), and loved the results I was getting! My abs and arms were noticeably tighter, and I could see more muscle definition. My legs seemed to lag behind a bit, and I felt like my saddlebags were a little more prominent, but perhaps that is because I needed to add in a bit more cardio. These are great workouts, and I look forward to starting back up with them! The next time, I will take measurements to track my results better.
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88 of 92 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2012
Imagine being severely overweight, your stomach is out to HERE and drags down to THERE.
And then imagine someone saying "I can make it all better."
You laugh.
Nope. Leah can do it!

Leah works "corset" muscles properly, teaching you to train your abs in and flat, not out and puffy, and boy, does she hit your core in EVERY angle. Planks, standing and c-curve work. [no crunches here, but sometimes You wish at the end that's all ya did!] and then you turn around and work your upper, mid and lower back and balance [remember the back is core too!}. 45 minutes of slightly cardio-esque work while you work your core, so while you eat properly and do cardio (buhbye abdominal fat!) when it is all gone, you will have flat, strong abs, that most dancers will be envious. These can be supplemented with Leah Sarago's downloads [I've been training with this woman for almost two years now, and I am telling you, she's a wizard]. but the dvds, get the downloads, train your body properly, and look and feel fantastic.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2012
I am a subscriber to Ballet Body downloads since June 2010. I have all of Ballet Body downloads and the Periodization System. I love everything Leah Sarago has put out and I have been anxiously waiting for the Ballet Body Signature Series to be released. The wait was worth it!

Ballet Body Signature Series Core dvd is a unique workout that works your core in forty-five minutes. Forty-five minutes may seem like a long time to work your core, but Leah has broken the workout down in three segments. First is standing abs, side planks, and variations of the c-curve. The standing abs portion of the workout uses balancing moves to engage your core. The exercises are done gracefully and you feel like a dancer while performing the moves. Next is a series of side planks to hit the obliques and abs more. Leah uses a lot of variety to work the abs while on your side. Last is the c-curve exercises. Leah quickly moves from one exercise to another. She doesn't do a whole bunch of reps, but uses a lot of variety to hit different angles of the abs. Leah completes the core workout with stretches to release any tension that you may have in your upper body, neck, and abs.

Get this won't be disappointed!
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2012
I bought this product mostly because it had such positive reviews and I am disappointed. There is no warm up, Leah just immediately jumps into exercises that require a back round in dance training to hold your balance/ body right and a good knowledge of yoga. I have been dancing for 4 years and found her jumping into working out right away dangerous. Her moves are also advanced so if you are advanced you will probably like this alot. A knowledge of yoga is a must for some of these moves.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2012
I always say that I don't like to specifically work my abs (crunches are dreadful), but this DVD makes working your abs and core enjoyable and fun. There is a wide variety of moves that challenge your entire core (transverse abs, obliques, back), not just the six-pack muscles. The DVD begins with standing work to challenge your balance and force your core to stabilize. There is a short series of side planks, which is just long enough to feel the burn! The work then moves onto the mat for pilates-inspired variations that target the obliques and transverse abs. The DVD ends with back extensions and bridge work.

The DVD is very well-balanced. It targets the major core stabilizing muscles, including the back, which is often overlooked. As always, Leah's cuing is spot-on, which allows you to feel the work deep in your abs. I have learned so much from Leah's attention to form and detail. This DVD contains many unique variations on traditional moves that make it so fresh, exciting, and particularly challenging!
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2012
I usually end up putting workout Dvds in my stack of 100's as ok. I think maybe they will be good to use if I cant get to the gym. I have done Every workout there is. Insanity, P90X, Hip hop abs and have been a personal trainer for 15 years and these DVD's blew me away. I have never been more challenged in my 20 years of fitness and exercise. The ballet title is deceiving. This woman will change your body. I was so impressed with these 3 workouts and wish she would make more!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2012
I've tried this 3 times, and the last 2 times I found really dreadful. I had a hard time with the standing abs because the camera angles were weird so I had a hard time execute the moves with proper form. And I felt like a lot of my hip flexors were working instead of the abs. I like some of the floor work, but I also had an insanely hard time because I am super inflexible and I can't straighten my legs. I'm sorry, I tried to like it.

I really like the upper and the lower body DVDs though. They are really intense but more doable for me. I can feel the burn too.

Anyone have tips on how to increase my flexibility quickly? And what other ab DVDs do you recommend? Please comment.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2012
So this is a great workout...I am in good shape from other types of fitness however running, etc. doesnt really prepare me for core work apparently. I feel like my abs got the workout of their life today. The moves are a little hard...keep in mind that you may not be able to do them all like she does, and there isnt anyone showing modifications. I do have terrible joints and it didnt effect them which is good and she does say things like bend your knees here if you need to, etc. I think if I do this every other day I will FINALLY have the abs I want! She is awesome!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2015
I started off hating this, but then I realized it was just because I wasn't yet strong enough to even do these workouts without getting totally annoyed, because they require balance. Unlike my other barre workout videos, this one does not use a chair or barre for balance at all, so you're on your own and if your balance/core is not strong enough yet, you will know it immediately with this video!

But after doing other videos for a handful of months, I decided to stick this in again and try it. Lo and behold, suddenly I'm not annoyed. :-) I appreciate the training in balance and extra core work from having to balance now. And, I like that this video has a nice, steady, more modern musical beat going than a lot of barre videos. A lot of other barre videos have more soothing, almost new-agey music (which I like for them, but the change in this video is nice), or classical piano (which is nice too, but again more modern music in this one is good).

And, why do so many exercise videos feel like they're straight from the 80s!!! This one does not. Her modern attire, along with the music, gives this an up to date feeling.

One thing, the instructor has NO PERSONALITY in this video, but that's's just, let get to work and get 'er done with this video. :-) No rah rah cheerleader energy with this video. She's not cutesy nor is she a hard-ar*s tough girl...she's just all business in this video.

Anyway, I'm not IN LOVE with this video, thus only 4 starts and not 5. Nonetheless, I do like this video and it's different enough from my other barre videos that it brings something new and fresh to my repertoire. Recommend!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2013
I bought the entire Ballet Body 3-DVD series. The is my least favorite of the series but only because I didn't feel really worked out considering it was 45 minutes in length. For that reason, I think this is a workout more appropriate to a low intermediate exerciser than an advanced exerciser. I have a lot of shorter workouts that do a lot more in less time, so regretfully I had to knock off two stars for that reason only. However, I did find the initial standing exercises to be very unique and quite a balance challenge. This is also an enjoyable, no-dread core workout and that says a lot since I don't usually enjoy core work. Leah's movements have a lovely, dancer-like flow and elegance to them. Truly a quality instructor!

The production quality is simple but pretty. Leah is in a ballet studio with violet lighting. Leah also carefully chose special music, which is a relief next to the mass producers who usually use generic, elevator sounding music. There are no background exercisers and Leah does voiceover rather than live cueing.
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