I’m a big fan of Tracey Mallett‘s workouts but I put off purchasing this one because of the subtitle: Beginners & Beyond. I am not advanced in the barre realm but I also don’t want a beginner workout. But the more I read about it the more I decided I might like it anyway. The “Beyond” means she teaches it at multiple levels–so not just beginner level. Plus I loved her other Booty Barre workout: Total New Body. So this one ended up stuffed in my stocking this Christmas. And I was right! This is not as advanced as Tracey’s other workouts that I’ve done, but it is still an excellent barre workout that I felt while doing it and am still feeling in my legs more than an hour later. Oh–and I loved it. It was a lot of fun, well put together and effective.
This DVD has 3 segments: a 12 minute tutorial, a 35 minute barre workout and a 15 minute “Abs, Booty and Flexibility” segment. Like I said, I am not someone who has years of barre work behind me but I am also not new to it (I discovered it about a year ago). But I went ahead and followed along with the tutorial anyway. It was actually very informative. Since I did the tutorial right before I did the barre workout I gave a lot more focus to the subtleties of form. The actual barre workout is lower body focused. There is a beginner modifier, Tracey says she is doing “beginner plus” version of the exercises and there is an intermediate modifier. There is no advanced modifier. I followed Tracey or the intermediate modifier and I did not find this to be an easy workout. There are no complicated moves, but it did work my lower body hard. Like I said–still feeling it! There is an upper body section at the very end of the barre workout but it is very short and incorporates lower body so overall, this is a lower body workout. She even has a low impact cardio blast in it! Overall I loved this little workout. It is the perfect length for a doubles workout, plus it is fun and effective! The 15 minute Abs, Booty and Flexibility segment is also well done. For this one I followed the intermediate modifier for everything and I felt it. So if you want something longer, do the barre workout and follow it up with the 15 minute workout for an excellent 50 minute lower body and core workout. Tho there is a bit of arm work in the barre workout this definitely doesn’t qualify as a total body workout.
Express Barre Main Workout is 35 minutes long; 5:30 minute warm up and 1:30 minute stretch. You need a chair and a set of light dumbbells. I used 3s and 5s. Below in the break down I will describe each sequence of moves but understand that you are doing every sequence more than once. You will be doing at least 8 reps of each move.
- Stand behind chair, facing side with feet in first position; plie squat, lift heels, lower heels, stand; hold in plie w/ heels raised and pulse; plie pulse w/ heels down; she then alternates between pulsing with heels up and heels down, reducing the amount of reps each time until you are doing singles; step out into wide plie squat then step back in; this changes to step out into plie squat and pulse 3x then, when you come in, lift onto your toes and reach arm overhead and to the side; return to first position and do pelvic tilts; repeat this entire sequence on the other side of the body, the only difference is the first exercises will be done in wide plie rather than first position (narrow plie).
- Start in first position but bring your outside foot behind you, toe pointed and on the floor; sweep foot/leg in front of you into a straight leg lift; this changes to raising leg in front of you and bending knee so you are in an attitude position and pulsing leg; next bring sole of foot to inside of other calf and open and close knee; this changes to pulsing the knee out; next, bring feet together and bend knees placing forearm on back of chair and outside hand on inside thigh, bring outside leg straight behind you with toe pointed–lift and lower leg; changes to pulses; keeping leg raised, bend and straighten knee; keep knee bent and pulse up to ceiling. Repeat entire sequence on other side of body.
- Cardio (no chair): start in first position and come out to side into wide plie squat and pulse twice then quickly, hop switch to other side and pulse twice; you will keep alternating side to side then she adds arm movements; next you will remain in wide plie squat and do side to side hip tilts in a single, single, double pattern.
- Return to chair and stand behind it, facing side, lower forearm onto chair back, leg closest to chair is turned out (externally rotated Tracey calls it) and raise the other leg to side (leg straight, toe pointed); still in same position, bend knee bringing it into chest, press leg back out straight then lift leg; hold leg straight out to side and pulse. Repeat sequence on other side of body.
- Face the chair back and place palms on back of chair, step feet back far enough so that arms are straight, legs/feet together and squat; you will pulse squat then raise up into toes and continue pulse squatting, she continues alternating between pulse squatting with heels up and down, reducing the amount of reps each time until you are doing singles.
- Place forearms on back of chair, bring one leg out straight behind you, toe pointed; bend standing leg as you bring working knee into to chest, then straighten both legs as you sweep the working leg up behind you; in same start position, you will circle raised leg behind you; repeat on other leg.
- Move closer to chair, still facing chair with hands resting on chair back, feet turn into first position then raise up onto toes w/ heels pressed together–plie squat in this position; remain in plie squat (feet are close tho, heels together) and shift hips side to side.
- Grab one light DB and stand beside chair, the leg closest to chair is turned out (in first position), the other leg is out straight behind you so you are on a deep lunge–do one arm delt flies in this position (modifier also raises and lowers back leg); fly changes to pulsing at top of move (modifier is also pulsing leg up behind her); turn palm so it faces the ceiling and raise DB to ceiling then behind you, keeping arm straight; this changes to just pulsing straight arm/DB behind you. Repeat on other side of body.
- Grab other light DB, stand in first position and raise DBs to side of body (so arms are in “T”), arms straight and circle them 4x then do 2 bicep curls (bicep curls are with arms straight out to side in “T” and curling DBs to shoulders); arms still straight out to side (in “T”), raise arms from side to overhead, and as you raise your arms overhead you will come up on toes and lower heels while lowering arms; alternating overhead press. The intermediate modifier remains on toes throughout this entire section.
Abs, Booty and Flexibility is 15 minutes long w/ a 3 minute stretch. There is no warm up but it does end in a more extended stretch than the barre workout, so if you do both workouts back to back for a longer workout, it does stretch you out nicely. All you need for this workout is a fitness mat. I will be describing the intermediate versions of each exercise, but know there is also a beginner and a “beginner plus” version, too.
- Pelvic thrusts: kneel on your mat, knees about shoulder width apart; from this position lower bottom toward heels then raise hips and thrust them forward; next you circle your hips in this position; then she puts these two exercises together: 8 hip thrusts + 4 hip circles.
- Lay on back and raise hips into bridge with arms held straight overhead; do pelvic thrusts in this position; this changes to thrusting hips side to side as you lift them; return to regular bridge thrusts; then back to side to side thrusts but faster.
- Lay flat on floor, arms and legs straight; from this position raise head and shoulders then raise one leg straight to ceiling and place opposite hand behind head–raise and lower straight leg; this changes to bicycling that same leg while other remains on the floor; hold leg straight up to ceiling and pulse head/shoulders toward raised leg; repeat entire series on other side of body.
- Raise both legs overhead, cross the ankles and do reverse crunches; this changes to reverse crunches but then lower legs to 45 degrees (so alternating a reverse crunch with lowering legs); this changes to pulsing reverse crunches.
- Bring feet down to ground in a “diamond” position, heels off ground (so a butterfly knees but heels are raised so only top sides of feet are on floor); you will do a full sit up in this position and at the top of the move, twist torso to one side, bringing same side straight arm out to side; alternate sides; this changes to side twists–for this you remain at top of move, feet in same position and both arms straight out to sides in “T” and twist from side to side, pulsing with each twist.
- Raise and lower hips in side elbow plank while bringing arm overhead with each hip lift; hold hips up and pulse them high; she does a stretch with legs in “Z'” position then you repeat side plank series on other side.
- Come into elbow plank and alternate tapping knees on mat; hold elbow plank
- “Snake move”: start in child’s pose, slide forward keeping chest close to mat and bottom raised until you are in cobra then curl spine back until you have returned to child’s pose.