This is my Barre week. I checked out a bunch of barre workouts from the library to sample and this was my first. It will not be the first barre review to post, but that is because there are two workouts on this DVD and at the time of this writing, I have only done one of the workouts so far. I also did a Tracy Anderson workout this morning but I am not sure that was actually barre—so maybe this wasn’t my first. Not sure. Prior to this morning the only barre work I’ve ever done are those done by Cathe. Well, Element‘s barre workout was different from both Cathe and Tracy. And painful! My legs were stinging. Keep in mind, I am new to barre and working my muscles this way, so this may seem harder to me than to someone who does barre workouts frequently. **Having done several barre workouts this week (including the second one on this DVD) I am really impressed by how barre works my lower body in completely new ways. I will definitely be incorporating barre into my rotations to round out my lower body training.**
The Element: Barre Conditioning contains two approx. 30 minute barre workouts. They are created by Sadie Lincoln, the founder of Barre3 brand. I have never heard of Barre3 but I plan to discover more! A quick Amazon search shows quite a few Barre3 workouts. Like all of the Element workouts, this workout is in a beautiful setting–green with flowered trees, a reflecting pool, the Pacific Ocean. Just the setting is gorgeous and relaxing. The workouts are done with voice overs but after sampling other voice over workouts (like Tracy Anderson), Element does theirs very well.
Burn & Firm is 34 minutes; 2:30 minute warm up and 6 minute stretch. A chair is needed. The entire workout is done standing. This workout is a lower body workout and it is tough! There is some core work and Sadie says you are working your arms several times but you are not. All you are doing is lifting and raising your arms. Hardly an upper body workout. Each move that is done, is done for a long time. The basic pattern is pulsing low in the pose–so isometric. It burns. And a few hours later–my legs were still burning, hamstrings, calves and quads. Workout: You start with plie squats that turn into plie squats with leg lifts. Next come the plie pulses. After doing that for a long time raise your heels and continue to pulse. You will do a standing diamond; you’ll be on one leg (knee bent) with the other raised behind you and bent; bend and straighten both legs simultaneously. Next you will stay on one leg but bring elbow to knee. Position your feet in V with heels raised and pressed together and do more pulsing squats. Sumo Squats. Move chair to other side of body. Do the plie squats that turn into plie squats with leg lifts again. Plie pulses; raise heels and pulse some more. Do the standing diamonds and elbow to knee. You do something called power leg which is a squat but on toes (pulsing of course). You end with chair pose, first doing pulses in chair then full squats (you go from standing to chair pose). The workout ends with a long and much needed stretch.
Lengthen & Strengthen is 31:30 minutes; warm up is 3:30 minutes and 4:30 minutes stretch. You need a chair, a mat and a rolled up towel. Just like in Burn & Firm, you do a lot of isometric pulsing to burn the muscles out. This was also a good workout. Not as challenging as Burn & Firm and I didn’t enjoy it as much, but I did enjoy it. Workout: You start by facing the back of the chair and getting into a lunge with hands on back of chair. Lift front heel up and hold; add small pulses. Lower front heel and hinge forward; pulse down and up, working glutes now. Next lower into deeper lunge but when you lift up, you raise the back leg and one arm. On the last one you hold at the top, raise up onto toe and hold. You are done with the chair. Get on all 4s on the mat. Extend one leg straight behind you and extend opposite arm to the side. Bring knee in while bringing hand in to knee. For final rep hold leg out and bringing arm straight in front of you; pulse the leg. Lay on your side for diamond. Your knees are bent; raise top knee, toes touching then raise other calf/foot off ground, creating a raised diamond with your legs. Hold for a while then open and close top knee. Hold position again, then pulse top knee back. Hold position again. Stretch your hip and spine. Lay on back with knees bent, heels touching and toes 4 inches apart. Pushing through feet, raise hips slightly. Raise and lower hips slightly. Place rolled up towel under hips, raise straight legs, toes to ceiling, heels touching, toes a few inches apart. Draw one leg down along the inner thigh of the other while slowly lowering the leg toward the floor; alternate sides. Bring heels together into plie position and bend and straighten knees, pushing feet to ceiling; flex feet while knees are bent and point them when straight. Next you will place your legs/feet into 4th position; bend and straighten legs; while doing this you will also be tilting the belly/hips. Next is plank work. Get into straight arm plank; bend and straight knees; add bending elbows slightly while bending the knees to work triceps. End with a nice long stretch.