Cathe’s Turbo Barre

turbobarreWhat a deceptively painful workout. I am nearing the end of my new-to-me Cathe workouts (not a problem because Cathe’s Xtrain should be released in a few weeks–more new Cathe workouts!) and Turbo Barre is one that I put off purchasing, then once I purchased it, I put off doing it for a long time. Now, the reason I put off purchasing/doing this workout has nothing to do with reviews. It has gotten glowing reviews. I put it off because it is a barre workout and well, I’m just not a fan of that type of workout. But it is a Cathe workout and I do all things Cathe now, plus, like I said, glowing reviews.

This morning I finally did Turbo Barre and WOW. And OUCH. I will be hurting from this one. Even so, I can’t say I’m suddenly a barre convert. But I am the kind of person who will do an effective workout and this is enormously effective. It is working the muscles in my lower body in a whole new way, hitting muscles that standing leg work, such as squats and lunges, is missing. Cathe does have barre work in other workouts, but nothing as comprehensive as this workout. Even though there is upper body strength work and abdominal work, this workout is primarily a lower body workout. In fact, I’m not sure why the upper body work was included at all and in the future I will be doing the premix that focuses entirely on the lower body and leaves everything else out (other than warm up and stretch, of course). The abdominal work, btw, is brutal. BRUTAL. If there was a premix that did lower body and core work, I’d use that one, too–but alas, there isn’t. Not sure why. I can always go to the chapter section and add on the ab work after I finish the premix–and I will probably do that if I think of it.

Turbo Barre is a 75 minute strength workout; 12 minute warm up, 56 minutes strength work, 7 minute stretch. Of the strength work, 34 minutes is lower body barre work, about 16 minutes is upper body strength work and 7 minutes is very challenging core work.

For this workout you need light dumbbells, the lightest resistance firewalker loop, a barre or chair, and a mat. The warm up is a nice lower body workout on it’s own. It uses the barre/chair for some of the moves and got my heart pumping more than I expected from a workout of this type.

After the warm up, the workout starts with “upper/lower body muscle endurance.” For this section Cathe uses 5 pound dumbbells and the firewalker loop at the end. There are so many reps that for most of the exercises the 5 pound dumbbells were adequate. However, the first exercises were bicep work and, if I were to do the upper body strength work again (which I won’t), I would use heavier dumbbells; 8 pounds probably. For the rest of this section the 5 pound dumbbells would suffice–again, because there are so very many reps. Plus, she varies the tempo, which really gets the muscles burning.

First you do a lot of traditional bicep curls, then traditional bicep curls with alternating curtsey lunges; it ends with more tradition bicep curls. Then you do lots of hammer curls, then more hammer curls with alternating curtsey lunges and you end with more hammer curls. Next is overhead press–lots. Then you do squat pulses with slow overhead presses and finish with more overhead presses. Next is a combo move–front raise then you draw the weights back to your shoulders. Then you do side lateral raises. Then you move on to triceps and do lots and lots of tricep kickbacks. This section ends with the firewalker loop. You put it around your hands/wrists with palms facing each other and pull outward. You feel it through your lats and rear shoulder.

Now you move into 34 minutes of pure lower body work. You do a lot of reps and, course, you work each leg equally.

The next section is called “leg work with firewalker loops.”  For this one you need the barre or a chair and the firewalker loop. You loop it around your ankles and, while holding the barre or back of the chair, you lift one leg out straight behind you and do lots of lifts/pulses. Next you keep the loop around one ankle and put the loop around the bottom of the other foot (bending that leg) and push/press back.

Then you move onto the bulk of the lower body work. It is titled “Ballet barre leg conditioning” and it has 4 parts: thigh focus, glute/hamstring focus, hip/outer thigh focus and calf raises. All of these will be done holding onto the barre or back of a chair.

For thigh focus all of the exercises will be done on your toes. First you stand with feet facing forward and do lots of squat variations (on toes). Then you move your feet to “first position”–heels close together but toes facing out, and again, do lots of squat variations while on your toes. The final thigh focus move is “second position.” The same as “first position” but your heels are not close together.

For glute/hamstring focus you face the barre/chair and lift/pulse your leg out straight behind you. Then you bend it and do more lifts/pulses. You finish by holding the leg up, bent, while doing “squats” on the supporting leg. This whole section hurt.

For hip/outer thigh focus you lift your leg to the side (abductor lifts); first straight, then bent (hydrant move), then you will continue the lift/pulses in the bent/hydrant position while varying the angle of your leg.

This section ends with lots and lots and lots of calf raises at various speeds.

The next section is called “floor work” and it brings you back to the upper body. You need no equipment except the mat for these. First you do some push ups, then some tricep dips, then more tricep dips in which you touch the opposite foot and you end with side plank work.

The strength work ends with some seriously challenging core work. For the first core move you will be using the firewalker band, but after that it is just all kinds of painful crunch variations. Many of the moves were unique and different, not tradition crunch variations. The final move I have never seen before and it was very, very effective. While lying on your back, plant one elbow on the ground with the fingers pointing straight up in the air. The other arm lifts up, raising your torso while your other elbow remains planted on the mat. Wow. It is hard to explain, but I really felt that one.

By the time you get to the stretch you are so ready for it. My legs felt weak, trembly and jelly-like for hours afterward. And even though I won’t be doing the upper body work again, it really wasn’t a bad strength segment if you use the proper weights. Cathe just has so many better upper body strength workouts out there, that I see no point in doing the exercises in this one. And by doing the Lower Body Express premix and chaptering in the core work, you get an excellent lower body + core workout in just under an hour. I do plan to use this for lower body strength days–I feel it hits the lower body in all new ways and I definitely will keep it as part of my rotations.

Premixes: Lower Body Express (all of the lower body only exercises) 53 minutes, Turbo Barre Express #1 (same as the main workout minus the “floor work” section) 64 minutes, Turbo Barre Express #2 (same as the main workout minus the “upper/lower body muscle endurance” section) 58 minutes.

13 thoughts on “Cathe’s Turbo Barre

  1. I just did turbo barre last night and wanted to check your review for confirmation that it was as tough as I thought it was. It’s probably the fourth time I’ve done it, but the “best” time — I was able to complete nearly all of the exercises. I’m exhausted today and shocked that I’m this tired after that workout.


    1. It has been a long time since I have done Turbo Barre–but I do remember how tough it was! I will be returning to doing it again in the coming months. I will be focusing on a lot of barre and mat lower body workouts–and this one is perfect!


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