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Ballet Beautiful: Body Blast [DVD]
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Get long lean lines with zero bulk! Get a fit firm and graceful body with this ballet inspired workout from Mary Helen Bowers trainer to the stars! Sculpt a lean long dancer's body with four 15-minute targeted workouts! Mix and match these workouts to tone your arms abs and butt! Perfect for anyone pressed for time and looking for a quick and challenging workout with great results! Strengthen and stretch muscles simultaneously to elongate and tone the entire body! Includes Ballet Beautiful Swan ArmsT a 15-minute Ballet Beautiful Body Blast and Butt Series Parts 1 &2. Swan Arms: A graceful workout that tones and sculpts lean feminine arms while building upper body strength and posture. 15 Minute Blast: A full body workout that lengthens and tones muscles in the legs butt abs and upper body. Butt Series Part 1: A targeted workout that tightens and tones the back of the legs and butt. Butt Series Part 2: A focused workout for the outside of the hip thigh and butt; tightening toning and lengthening the line of the leg.
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Top Customer Reviews
As other reviewers have noted, these are not ballet exercises, but more toning/strengthening exercises. All you need to do this workout and the Total Body one is a mat.
The Body Blast DVD includes four fifteen-minute segments: Swan Arms, 15-Minute Total Body Blast, Butt Blast 1, and Butt Blast 2.
Since I've personally found it really hard to do the two Butt Blast segments back-to-back, my big tip is to start with Butt Blast 2, then go back to the main menu and "Play All" so that you then do then do Swan Arms, the Total Body Blast, and Butt Blast 1. Doing the workout this way allows my glutes and legs to get a nice break between the two Butt Blast segments so that I can complete the whole workout -- and still walk the next day! ;-)
If you are familiar with Tracey Anderson's workouts, the two Butt Blast segments on the Blasts DVD reminded me a lot of Tracey's Metamorphosis Hipcentric workout, where you work your legs from an all-fours position. I got great results using Tracey's Hipcentric before I had to stop it due to back strain, but because Mary Helen uses slower pacing, her workout seems much easier on my back. I do have some wrist pain when doing these two segments, but Mary Helen says that you can go down to your forearms if you need to.
For each exercises, you will do four sets of eight repetitions. Mary Helen counts each and every rep, which some people might not like, but I've found that it helps me get into the rhythm of the moves. She also repeats the same phrases, and I could see how that might get old after a while.
If you like these, you might also like Leah Sarago's Ballet Body workouts (Ballet Body Signature Series Upper Body Workout, Ballet Body Signature Series Core Body Workout, and Ballet Body Signature Series Lower Body Workout), which are equally challenging, but equally fun.
I've also had really great results recently using these. When I first got them, I didn't do them on a regular basis, but just recently, I was sick and didn't feel like doing any cardio. I only did MHB's two DVDs for about three weeks (with no cardio) -- and my legs and arms really tightened up! I feel like I had better results in just three weeks with MHB's workouts than I did with 42 days of Tracey Anderson's Hipcentric. Mary Helen is like the poor woman's Tracy Anderson! (I realize that the two methods are very different since TA has you changing up your workouts every ten days, but the Ballet Beautiful workouts seem to work better for me!)
I also love how graceful I feel after doing these! I haven't taken a ballet class since I was about five, but I feel like a ballerina doing these!
UPDATE ON 6-6-15: If you search YouTube, the Be Fit channel has several segments from this and the Total Body DVD on their channel so you can watch them for free and try them out before buying the DVD. :)
UPDATE ON 7-13-15: Cathe Friedrich (another wonderful instructor who puts out top-notch workout DVDs) just published an article in her weekly newsletter, stating that the best exercises for building the glutes without making the thighs/quads bigger are bridges (which Mary Helen does a lot of on her Total Body DVD) and quadruped hip extensions (which are the exercises that Mary Helen does in the two Butt Blast segments on this Blasts DVD). No wonder these workouts help build a nice, round posterior! The article, in case you want to search for it (unfortunately, Amazon doesn't allow us to provide links to outside sites in our reviews) is called "Can You Build Glutes Without Increasing the Size of Your Thighs?" and it was published on Cathe's website on July 12, 2015.
Mary Helen Bowers is someone you could picture being the perfect friend to work out with. She has an incredible body and relentless focus/dedication, but also a very sensible, great philosophy about working out, food, body image, etc. She encourages self-acceptance, taking things at your own pace, and maintaining a lifestyle that you can easily sustain over years rather than some 'push yourself to death for 2 months' regime (as though THAT'S going to work long-term!!). As a result, I know some people might find these workouts not "energizing" enough but personally, this is exactly what I was looking for. I don't like working out (in the typical sense), I HATE cardio, I didn't want to be shouted at or forced to pump my booty to stupid club music in ways that made me sure to draw the curtains (TIGHTLY) every time I worked out - I just wanted to integrate a good workout into my daily life and gain strength and grace without looking/feeling totally ridiculous.
That being said, the first few weeks of her workouts will likely have you feeling like a floundering whale while she glides through the exercises - the first time I did the bridge series (working abs, butt, thighs, calves, all in one), I was in pain for three days afterwards - but it's sooooo satisfying and exciting to notice yourself improving and thinking, "Hey, I used to be unable to complete this set with her and now I can keep up!" I've never had muscles like these (even when I was really into yoga/hot yoga, jogging, etc.) so it's cool to feel strong and energetic as well as slim!
Now that I'm familiar with the workouts on these dvds, I usually don't even need the mat or the dvd: I just pop on my ipod, flop down on the carpet, and do 15-30 minutes of these exercises with Mary Helen's voice in the background of my mind ("Engage!"). Couldn't be easier! This means that it's the first time in my life I have sustained a consistent workout pattern for over 6 months, and the results are obvious and incredibly motivating. I've lost almost 20 pounds in 8 months (and at 5'8 and 140, it's not like I had much to lose, or so I thought) and I get lots of comments on how lean and toned I look now.
Some disclaimers so no one's disappointed: no, this is not a ballet class. It's ballet-based exercises. I think that's fairly obvious if you research the dvd even a little bit, but some people seemed to be expecting something else. Furthermore, don't be surprised if your weight actually goes UP when you first start this workout (for the first month or so): as we're all well aware now, muscle weighs a lot more than flab so until your new muscles start burning off fat (and they will), you'll weigh a bit more as you gain strength. To that effect, you'd be better off ignoring the scale altogether for a while; instead, go by how you feel and how your clothes fit so you stay motivated and see positive results. And lastly, some people have noted that you would need to add cardio to these workouts to get a complete fitness regimen: to an extent, I disagree. If you are looking to burn lots of fat/lose a ton of weight, yes, you probably will need some extra source of calorie-burning, like extra cardio. But contrary to what many fitness buffs would have you believe, the average human body doesn't need to be pushed to the limits of breathlessness to be healthy. There are definite cardio elements in these workouts in the true 'cardiovascular' sense - i.e. working the whole body and getting the heart rate up - so I feel like that's enough for me.
Thanks for everything, Mary Helen!
*Update: April 29, 2014 - It's been almost a year since I wrote the above review and I'm still enjoying the DVDs in this series and continuing to see great results. I think they are a very good exercise not only physically but mentally - you learn to be patient and stick with yourself for the long haul. This is no crash diet or speed-slimming approach. It's a way to build and strengthen your muscles in ways that last years, rather than weeks. Ditto for flexibility - when I first tried to stretch along with Mary Helen (note: PAUSE the DVD, she stretches way too fast if you're not a ballerina), I was hopelessly stiff; now I'm about 70% to where she is in her stretches. Hope the next year brings me even closer to my goals!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm just getting back into the swing of working out, and I've been incorporating both Ballet Beautiful and Barre videos.Read more