Ballet Beautiful: Sculpt & Burn Cardio Blast
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Shape a lean and long dancer's body with Sculpt & Burn Cardio Blast! Form trim legs, a tight butt, firm core and strong upper body with low-impact cardio elements, light weights and targeted mat work. Includes two 30-minute total body toning workouts to really get your heart rate up! TOTAL BODY STRENGTH & CARDIO: Engage your core with standing abs, and sculpt long, lean ballet muscles with total body toning, cardio elements and light weight work. TOTAL BODY TONING: Sculpt a tight core and butt with mat work, then really work to elongate the legs with focused exercises and light stretching.
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The second workout is classic BB. Four sets of 8 for bridge, abs, inner thigh and outer thigh. It's extremely challenging. Mary Helen has also inserted a lot of isometric contractions (when you just hold your leg in the air for 60 seconds, for example), which are very difficult. The burn is intense! This 30 minutes is more challenging than anything of hers I've ever done before. I love it. Mary Helen is always mixing it up.
I've written before about how BB and the Tracy Anderson method 'fixed' my body after two years of dedicated Jillian Michaels workouts left me somewhat stocky, particularly through the thighs. Mary Helen and Tracy know how to give you long, lean muscles, and keep you unbelievably toned looking. Without changing my diet at all, I've lost 4 kilos since I stopped doing Jillian DVDs and started BB and the method three months. The weight has mainly come off my thighs and waist, and my arms look great too. My legs are so long and lean now! I can't believe how much my body has changed. My advice to anyone looking to get fit AND a lean dancer's body would be to avoid Jillian Michaels like the plague, and stick to DVDs like this one. Mary Helen knows what she's doing.
After seeing a recent article about how Mary Helen trains some of the Victoria's Secret Angels (who are in amazing shape), I decided to do another Ballet Beautiful rotation, and will be working this one into the mix. I'll be doing these and Sylwia Weisenberg's Tonique workouts for a few weeks to see what happens, and will be sure to report back on my results.
When you put the DVD into your player, you have the option of choosing from two options: a Workouts choice (where you can play one of the two workouts or both with a Play All feature) and a Custom choice (where you can choose which order you do the two workouts in). Unlike some of the previous BB workouts that are broken down into multiple segments, this one has two main segments: 1) Total Body Strength and Cardio and 2) Total Body Toning. Each one is 30 minutes long. You also have the option of playing the workouts with Mary Helen's voice/cueing or with the music only.
These two new workouts are different from Mary Helen's previous offerings. I would describe them as almost a mix of her Total Body/Classic DVD and her most recent Ballet Beautiful: Cardio Fat Burn DVD. Also new to this DVD is that Mary Helen uses light weights with the arms segment, which she doesn't do on any of her previous DVDs.
The Total Body Strength and Cardio section uses standing moves with weighted arms work (using two- or three-pound weights), so there is a nice cardio factor to this workout. This first workout is also the most balletic of all her workouts; it's all done standing, and you use poses and postures that are very ballet-like. This workout starts with standing ab work, and then moves into leg work and then arm work that uses the legs. The second workout, Total Body Toning, is all done on the mat and doesn't use weights at all. For this second workout, you do a set of C-curve work for the abs/core, two series of bridges, some outer thigh work, and a mini-set of Swan Arms. (If you want to know true pain for the arms, try her fifteen-minute Swan Arms set on the Blasts DVD! Your arms will be fried!) At the start of both workouts, Mary Helen says that they are workouts that she uses for travel, but since the first one relies on hand weights, I think that it's not the best travel routine.
As with her first two DVDs, Mary Helen counts each rep on this new DVD, and she does four sets of eight counts for each exercise. If this bothers you, as mentioned, you have the option to turn off her voice.
Some of the moves are repeats from other workouts (like a bridge series), but there are plenty of new exercises to make this not feel like a repeat of her other DVDs.
As with the other DVDs, these are filmed in a white studio, with classical piano music playing in the background. I find it really relaxing to have this backdrop and setting -- and am always surprised at how Mary Helen can smile and be so positive, even when she's killing us!
I bought a pair of the Capezio Women's Daisy Ballet Shoe to use when I do Mary Helen's workouts, and would recommend them. You don't need a ballet shoe, but it's nice to have the extra support, and wearing them makes me feel a bit more graceful than I otherwise am. :-)
I'm really glad I pre-ordered this one, and know I'll use it a lot!
UPDATE ON 12-19-13: Someone asked in the Comments section of my review about the intensity level of this workout, and I would say that it is a bit easier than the other workouts, but still challenging. Because you're not doing as many reps of each move, it doesn't feel as tough as perhaps the Classic or Blasts DVDs, but it is still challenging.
Today I completed it for the third time, and still felt nicely worked out. I don't shake as much as I do with the other workouts, but still feel nicely challenged.
UPDATE ON 1-7-13: After doing a few weeks of Sylwia Weisenberg's Tonique workouts, Ballet Beautiful, and Dream Body (using the workouts from the two sets Dream Body Cardio Series 5 DVD Set and Dream Body Workout Series 5 DVD Set), I started seeing big improvements in my arms and legs -- especially in a slimming of my saddlebag area, which is one of my big problem areas. It's been a great rotation for slimming down my larger lower half.
UPDATE ON 3-18-15: If you need more of a low-impact cardio workout, then I'd recommend the new Ballet Beautiful: Swan Arms Cardio, which just came out last month. Since you leave one foot on the ground at all times with Swan Arms Cardio, it's easier on the joints.