Burn at the Barre for Beginners
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We lose muscle as we age and it's muscle that burns fat. Many doctors suggest resistance work and balance exercise to stay ageless and this DVD - Burn at the Barre for Beginners is just what the doctor ordered! Burn at the Barre for Beginners guides you through 30 minutes of Ballet Barre legs, standing core work (no sit ups!) and sculpting work for the arms with light weights (or water bottles!). We integrate flexibility segments to keep your muscles healthy and supple as well as balance practice so you can stand tall. You will have two levels, a beginner and a more advanced option, to follow so that you can strive to improve with each workout. It's never too late to start! As always, Pilates Sport Center includes a Safety Tips tutorial chapter to learn the correct form for best results and a safe workout. No fancy equipment is needed, just a sturdy household chair, light weights or water bottles, and a towel or mat are all you need to change your body, improve your balance and posture, increase bone density and feel strong and fabulous.
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It is much shorter - right around 29 minutes - and you need a chair/barre and a set of light hand weights. There are only two "levels" shown (rather than the three in the regular BATB video), beginner and intermediate, and the beginner is very basic. Even though there is not a LOT of instruction, the two demonstrators are easy to see and it's easy to figure out what they're doing. The other instructor walks back and forth between the demonstrators, pointing out examples of good form and reminding you to keep your pelvis tucked or toes pointed or how to breathe during the exercise.
They run through exercises for the whole body, starting with a warm-up: leg lifts to front and side, a pedal jog, calf raises with parallel feet and with turned-out feet, small plie squats, hip circles, stretches, a pelvic tuck series, some more plies, and then a held plie with a small knee movement. Then they move on to glutes (standing, one leg bent backwards at 90 degrees, and leg pushes back in pulses; then to side, pulsing; then alternating back-side-back-side; stretch leg out to about where 5 o'clock on a clock face would be, and do small lifts/squeezes, and then the glutes are stretched with one leg on chair or in a figure-four stretch holding on to the barre (or chair). This is then repeated on the other leg. The standing leg/glute is getting just as much work here as the "working" leg!
Then there's some leg work, with inner thigh pulses, then front pulses, which are repeated on the other side. Most of these leg movements are small ("up an inch, back an inch") which makes them more concentrated and makes it easier to focus on form.
Ab series: performed standing, the body bends and squeezes at the core, with arms lifted and then kept level with the head as the head bends (one arm at a time, the other on the chair), and then you return to standing. This is repeated a few times, but like Pilates-type moves, you only need a handful of reps to make a difference.
More leg work: demi-plie holds with small movements of knees or heels, followed by a well-earned stretch.
Then you pick up hand weights and work the arms/back/shoulders: start by holding the weights with the palms of both hands side by side, face up (like you would hold a platter), with elbows at right angles to the body. Then move each hand away from the other until the hands are out at your sides, then pull hands back to original position (repeated several times). This is followed by simple bicep curls, and then a shoulder move, reaching your hands out in front and pulling them in. Drop one weight and do tricep kickbacks with one arm, then straight-arm pulses up, then small circles one direction and the other direction, trying to keep your hand right over where your back pocket would be (this is a killer). Repeat other side and then stretch the arms.
This is followed by some deep breaths, a forward bend with rollup, then some more general stretches.
The entire workout is done standing (for people who hate floor work). Aside from the tricep section, I was able to do (or at least attempt) all of the exercises at the "intermediate" level shown. Since I'm what I'd call an experienced beginner, I think this video is a great place to start for people who have never tried barre routines. There are combinations of familiar moves and more ballet-inspired moves. I like barre work because, as I said before, I've never really been the picture of grace, and I feel almost graceful when I'm doing this DVD. If you are an advanced beginner or have done barre or ballet-inspired dance workouts before, go ahead and get the regular BATB video -- you'll find this one too easy. Even though I was doing a lot of the Intermediate level work, I still feel like I could spend time using this video to perfect the moves and my form to get more out of it.
I have a history of back problems (2 herniated discs that won't go away, one in my lower back and one in my neck) and I appreciated the instructor's specific recommendations for modifications for less strain on the lower back. I also have fibromyalgia, and I can say that this was an energy-producing or energy-neutral workout, not an energy-sucking workout (other fibromites know what I mean :) )
Would highly recommend Barre, and this DVD!