I love this workout! Of all of the barre workouts I’ve done so far this week, Xtend Barre: Lean & Chiseled is my favorite. It is an excellent total body workout that is so fast-paced you get some cardio, too. I did not find any of the moves too fast to do with good form either. It is low impact and works your legs and core wonderfully. You also get some arm work.
Xtend Barre trainer is Andrea Rogers, a professional dancer, choreographer and pilates instructor and I really liked her. I was sad to see she has no more DVDs available. I would have snagged them up! Upon reading reviews of this workout, it was compared to Booty Barre which I will now have to sample. One of the reviews also mentioned it is less face-paced than Physique 57 which is already on my wishlist but I’m even more interested now! (Physique 57 was also recommended to me by a forum friend when she heard I liked the fast-paced aspect of this workout–so I will definitely be sampling some Physique 57, too.)
This DVD has an intro, a tutorial and then the workout is broken down into chapters. At the chapter menu, if you hit “play all” it says it is 55 minutes but it is really 61 minutes and it includes the 1 minute intro and 3:30 minute tutorial. However, the actual workout time is 55 minutes. So if all you want is the 55 minute workout, start at the “warm up” chapter. There are two exercisers with Andrea; one shows a modified version of the exercises and the other shows an advanced version. The workout itself is low impact but sometimes there is jumping in the advanced version of a move. In the tutorial, Andrea tells you that she uses a lot of dance terminology in the workout so she demonstrates each dance position/exercise for you.
Warm up: 6 minutes. It contains lots of knee lifts, plié squats, curtsy lunges, and more to get the heart pumping.
Upper Body: 11 minutes. I am not going to break this down because it is a light/no weight segment that moves/transitions fast. You need 1-3 pound dumbbells. Just like in other barre routines, you will be using small, pulsing movements to burn out your arms. About halfway through you will put the dumbbells down and do some ballet like arm movements that are reminiscent of Tracy Anderson! I was actually very surprised. They were fairly easy to follow (as Tracy’s were in Method/Mat Workout). This section ends on the floor with tricep dips, tricep push ups and reverse plank on elbows (which was kind of weird).
Barre: 23:30 minutes. You need a chair; legs/feet together and bend knees; raise and lower heels; hold heels up and pulse in plie squat. Repeat except with feet in first position (heels touching, toes pointed outward). Move feet to wide second (wide plié) and repeat again. Plié squat in and out (moving foot position from first to wide second while squatting). Repeat everything on other side of chair. Next is front attitude (leg raised to the front and knee bent with inside of foot tilted to ceiling). Pulse leg in this position. Next cross the leg inward, then pulse upward and inward. While holding leg in attitude, circle leg up and around, bringing leg so you land in plié squat (this is like a crescent knee from kickboxing, except you are landing in plié). Repeat on other side. Turn so you are facing the side of the chair. Legs/feet together, lift onto toes and bend knees; pulse. Round back into C curve and lower deeper into squat (heels still raised) and pulse some more. Repeat on other side. Stand behind chair but stand sideways with feet in first position. Step to the side into plié squat; while in plié squat rotate so that you are facing the chair and in a lunge, rotate back to plié squat, then bring foot back in to second (you do a lot of these and very fast). End in lunge facing chair; raise front heel and pulse. Repeat on other side of body. Stretch. Move beside chair again. Raise and lower leg to side (lots of reps). While keeping leg raised to the side press it back (glutes). Flex foot, raise leg and pulse. Keep foot flexed and move leg forward and back (small movements). Circle leg. Press foot in and out (bending knee). Repeat on other side of body. Next is curtsy lunges; first with knee raised at top of move, then with kick at top of move. Repeat on other side of body. Come behind chair, place both hands on back of chair and lean forward. Raise one leg straight behind you and pulse. Raise and lower leg to floor, crossing toe behind other leg at bottom. Repeat pulse and raise/lower. Repeat on other side of body. End with stretch.
Core: 9:30 minutes. Start on mat, leaning back on forearms with one ankle crossed over the other, knees bent. Raise legs; lower and lift bottom leg then both legs together. Next bring both legs up into a V then bend knees, crossing ankles and bring back to V. Raise torso (lifting elbows off mat) so that your back is in C curve. One foot on the mat, the other leg lifted. Twist torso/arms toward lifted leg. Lay flat on mat with one ankle cross over the other (legs straight). One hand stretched out to side and opposite hand behind neck. Bring elbow toward knee of leg that is crossed over other leg, raising the knee at the same time. Hold at top of move (knee toward elbow) and pulse. Straight leg scissor bicycles. Full straight leg sit ups, raising arms overhead at top of move. Lay on side with legs straight and top arm straight over head; raise top leg and lower arm to leg. Side plank. Lower hips for “twist and teaser”: cross top foot over bottom foot. Twist onto bottom while raising both straight legs into air (feet still crossed) so that your body is a V, then roll back onto side of body. For final rep hold in the V and lift both arms. End with cobra.
Cool down: 5 minutes. This has a lot of great stretches but it also makes you work, which I don’t like. When I get to the cool down/stretch, I want the work to be finished! She does what she calls arabesque, but it requires balancing. She also ends with releve (on toes again). I just don’t think those are necessary or appropriate for the cool down.