Barlates 5 Best Exercise Series is a collection of mini workouts from Linda Wooldridge. Each workout focuses on a single muscle group, contains 5 exercises for that muscle group and each exercise is done for a full minute. You’d be surprised at how quickly 5 exercises can fry a muscle group. I used (and am still using) these mini workouts as finishers for longer workouts, primarily Paul Katami’s 4×4 series. They worked very well to round out my workout. All of these workouts are also available for free on YouTube and, in fact, each of the segments below has already been reviewed on this blog. So if you’ve already read them, then you can skip this. However, if you are a DVD person, then below are all of the workouts on the DVD, collected in one review. You can use these workouts as finishers like I did, or you can stack them. For example, do you want to fry your lower body? Do all of the lower body segments, one right after the other, for 54 minutes of torture. Maybe an intense core workout? Do all of the core workouts for a 24 minute core workout. Upper body? 22 minutes of upper body work. Or you can combine a few from each muscle group for a total body workout. Linda also recommends repeating them. So if you want to really blast your butt–do Butt Blasters 2 or even 3 times. Then try to walk.
Butt Blasters is 11 minutes long. I used Butt Blasters as a finisher after doing Cathe Live: Triset Legs–so my legs were already fried. But since Triset Legs is only 47 minutes and I workout for an hour most mornings, I needed something to round out my hour. This was perfect. I mention that for several reasons–first, to show it is an excellent finisher for a lower body workout, but also to note that my legs and glutes had already been well worked before I even started this workout. Triset Legs always works my legs and glutes very hard and leaves me drenched in sweat. So that is how I came to Butt Blasters. And Butt Blasters definitely finished my glutes off. I was hurting and hitting muscle failure with exercises 2-4! It felt brutal! But again, not sure how much that had to do with what it was following. Nevertheless–it was excellent for a finisher!
Equipment needed: a chair and a mat. 5 exercises; each exercise is done for one minute. If the exercise focuses on one side of the body then you work each side for a full minute.
- Squats (basic, unweighted squat; bring elbows to tops of thighs with each squat)
- Single Leg Lunge, toe up (get into lunge, raise front heel and place hands on back of chair; pulse in for a full minute, never lowering heel)
- Sit Backs (hands on back of chair, torso hinged forward, raise one leg straight out behind you; do a one leg squat, never lowering raised leg)
- Bent Leg Raises (pizza presses; get on all 4s, raise one bent leg and press/pulse foot up to ceiling)
- Attitude Raises (still on all 4s, leg still bent but knee is now behind you so ankles cross; raise and lower bent leg, ankles tapping at bottom)
Hips is 13 minutes long. This mini workout fried my legs. It is lower body barre and mat work that focuses on the hips, but works your glutes and outer thighs, too. There is no warm up or stretch, which I really like because I am using these 5 Best Workouts as add ons. This morning I did Cathe Live: Hard Strikes Low Impact Boxing, so my legs hadn’t just been worked hard though I was definitely warmed up. This still burned my hips out. Every time I do one of Linda’s strength or barre or mat workouts she fries whatever muscle she is working so thoroughly they do not function properly immediately after the completion of the workout. This one was no different. But to counter that, I finished this workout off with a 10 minute hip opening flow from The Yoga Collective which was actually the perfect way to finish this off. It was gentle but deep yoga that gave my hips, outer thighs and glutes some nice relief after this painful little workout.
Equipment needed: exercise mat and chair. Each exercise is done for one minute. You do all of the exercises on one leg, then repeat them all on the other leg.
- Curtsy lunge to side leg raise
- Lower into plié squat then raise up onto toes; in this position, tuck hip up to side, never raising out of raised heel plié squat
- Get onto all 4s and raise one leg out straight to side, toe on floor; from this position, raise leg then bend knee, tapping heel to bottom, straighten leg again and lower
- Attitude pulses: still one all 4s, lift leg behind you and bend knee in attitude–pulse
- Back to side leg sweeps: in plank or on knees, sweep one straight leg to the side then behind you (Linda does it on her knees–and so did I)
Standing Abs is 9 minutes long. All that’s needed is a light set of hand weights. Linda uses 1kg (2pound) handweights. I started with 3 pound handweights, but by the second exercise I grabbed my 2 pound handweights. I went back to the 3 pound hnadweights for exercise #6 below. So in the future, I will use 2 pounds for #1-5 and 3 pounds for #6. This little workout is made up of 5 exercises; each exercise is done for one minute. If the exercise focuses on one side of the body then you work each side for a full minute. The hand weights are used for every exercise. I love standing and weighted core work, so I was looking forward to this one. It isn’t terribly tough–sometimes I felt it more in my arms than anywhere else. It has a cardio element to it, too. It would work very nicely in conjunction with the other workouts on this DVD–maybe the mat abs or upper body ones. Or even to finish off a cardio workout (like a working cool down). I used it this morning as a finisher after Cathe Live: ICE Chiseled Upper & Lower Body Blast. It was a perfect finisher for that workout, rounding out my hour nicely.
- Torso Twist (cross punches @ shoulder height, twisting across body while keeping hips straight)
- Ribcage Shift (shift ribs side to side, arms held straight out to side and bend arms in to shoulder w/ each shift)
- Knee Pulls (stay on one side, arms raised overhead and pull arms down w/ each knee raise/pull)
- Straight Leg & Arm Crunches (raise both arms straight overhead, raise one leg out straight to side while lowering same side arm to meet it)
- Repeat 3 & 4 on other side of body
- Upper Cuts
Back Fat is 7 minutes long. Equipment needed: a light set of hand weights, a resistance band (dyna band) and a mat. I used a set of 8 pound dumbbells for the first exercise and for the final exercise I used 2 pound hand weights–but in the future I will try the band. This workout is made up of 5 exercises; each exercise is done for one minute. This is actually an excellent mini back workout. I suggest repeating it a few times, unless you are using it as an add on after a longer workout. I am currently doing Paul Katami‘s 4×4 workout program and I am using Linda’s 5 Best Exercise workouts as finishers after Paul’s workouts. Back Fat worked perfect for that purpose since the 4×4 workout I did this morning worked every muscle group except the back. So this rounded out my workout perfectly.
- Hinged lateral raises (rear delt flys) (8# DBs)
- Lat pull downs (fold band in half and start with arms wide holding band overhead; pull band down behind head, raise it back overhead, then pull down in front of head; alternate these two pull downs)
- Back rows (sit w/ legs in front of you, wrap band around feet and choke up on band so there is plenty of tension–I just kept the band doubled)
- Y-pulls (band still around feet, criss-cross band and hold an end in each hand; pull arms up high in a Y)
- Supermans w/ pull backs (supermans but with lat pull down arm movement) (2# DBs or dynaband)
Outer Thigh is 13 minutes long. Equipment needed: a fitness mat and nothing else. 5 exercises; each exercise is done for one minute. This workout is brutal! Ouch! I used it as a finisher just like I am using all of these 5 Best workouts and this definitely finished my legs off. For a 13 minute workout, this definitely does the job. My outer thighs were burning. You do all of the exercises on one leg before repeating them on your other leg. They seem much more excruciating when repeating the exercises on the second leg–probably because that leg was doing some work when you do the exercises on the first side. I was looking forward to #3 on leg 2, thinking it would be somewhat of a relief after the pretzel exercises–it was a bit of a relief the first time through. But it burned anyway on the second leg! Pair together several of Linda’s 5 Best lower body workouts and you could easily destroy your lower body in less than 30 minutes! A good destroy, that is!
- Pretzel lifts (one leg bent in front of you and the other bent behind you, so your legs are in a sort of Z or pretzel; raise and lower back leg)
- Pretzel push backs (same position as #1 but push back leg behind you)
- Outer thigh raises (lay on side and raise and lower top straight leg)
- L toe heels (still laying on side, bring both straight legs in front of you so your body is in an “L”; tap top toe to bottom toe and top heel to bottom heel, lifting leg a small amount with each tap)
- Diagonal leg extensions (start in same position as #4, bend at knees and raise both calves/feet off ground, keeping knees and thighs on ground; push top leg up to ceiling and return knee to floor
- Repeat 1-5 on other leg.
Muffin Top Melter is 8 minutes long. Equipment needed: a fitness mat and nothing else. 5 exercises; each exercise is done for one minute. A tough little core workout that focuses on obliques. Some of these exercises were difficult to do for a solid minute. More than my core was protesting sometimes–they hit your hip flexors pretty hard, too.
- Oblique knee tucks (C sit w/ hands on floor behind you, knees bent and feet raised off floor; pull knees in and out while tilting hip to side; alternate sides)
- Diamond touch downs (lay back onto elbows, raise bent legs bringing toes together so there is diamond shape between legs; roll legs side to side, tapping outer thigh on ground)
- Side jack knives (lay on one hip and bottom elbow, raise and lower straight legs to meet straight top arm)
- Side elbow touches (get into C-sit, lace fingers together so elbows are out to side and twist side to side, tapping mat w/ elbows)
- Side heel reaches (lay on back, knees bent and feet on floor, head/neck raised and arms straight at sides, tilt torso to side and tap heel w/ same side arm; alternate sides)
Arm Toning is 7 minutes long. Equipment needed: an exercise mat and light handweights. 5 exercises; each exercise is done for one minute. I am using all of these 5 Best Exercises workouts as finishers after a longer metabolic strength workout. This workout really well to really finish my arms off. You can’t use heavy weights for this workout. I used 3 and 5 pound dumbbells and that was sufficient to burn my arms out nicely.
- Arm circles (hold arms straight in front of you and do small circles) (3# DBs)
- Straight arm raises (lean forward, hold arms straight out to sides of body, turn wrists/hands so pinky facing the ceiling; pulse arms in this position) (3# DBs)
- Alternating bicep curls (hold arms straight in front of you and bend arms at elbows, bringing handweights toward shoulders) (5# DBs)
- Wide & narrow push ups (no DBs; do push ups on knees–regular push up arms and tricep push up arms)
- Tricep dips (crab position)
Thigh Blasting is 8 minutes long. Equipment needed: chair and a mat. 5 exercises; each exercise is done for one minute; if the exercise focuses on one leg, you do a full minute on each leg. This is another mini workout that will burn your thighs out. This workout is all barre exercises. I used this workout to finish off a very intense Katami 4×4 workout that had already hit my lower body pretty hard, so I was struggling through this. But I am sure it is hard on its own. Since these are all barre exercises, you need a chair for everything. Though in the picture (and the workout) Linda has the chair beside her, I am sure that is only so we can get a better view of her. For this workout, I suggest having your chair in front of you. Better for balance purposes. You will be on your toes this entire workout. Yes–other than the 10 second rest you get between exercises, that is 8 minutes on your toes. My feet and legs were protesting! Yet another excellent mini workout from Linda/Barlates. Pair/group this workout with some of her other 5 Best lower body workouts and fry your lower body in one session.
- Parallel squat (raise onto toes, keeping spine straight and bend knees so you are in squat–pulse in this position–barre move)
- Squat tucks (same starting position as #1 but tuck pelvis in and out)
- Inner thigh kisses (heels together, toes turned out, lower into squat (back still straight) and open and close knees)
- Wide plie pulses (get into wide plie squat, raise onto toes and pulse)
- Lunge tucks (get into lunge and raise up onto toes; tuck pelvis in and out while remaining in lunge)
Lower Belly is 7 minutes long. No equipment needed except a fitness mat. I found this lower abs workout tough. I did do it right after a Katami 4×4 workout that had a strong core focus, so my core was already fatigued. But several times I had to drop down to a modified level because it was burning out my core and my hip flexors! Excellent little ab workout to use as an add on or group together with several other of Linda’s 5 Best workouts.
- Alternating leg raises (lean back on elbows and scissor straight legs)
- Knee tucks (lean back on hands and pull knees in and out of chest)
- Hip twists (lean back on elbows, legs lifted straight to ceiling, swivel hips side to side)
- Straight leg reverse curls (reverse crunches)
- Fast bicycles (lean back on elbows and do bicycle legs)
Triceps is 8 minutes long. Equipment needed: exercise mat and light hand weights. 5 exercises; each exercise is done for one minute. I came to this workout after a very intense Katami 4×4 workout that wore me out so I am not sure how much that affected this workout, but this workout really burned my triceps out. Of course, this is Linda/Barlates, so she does an excellent job of burning muscles out without any help from anyone else. I did find the first exercise and the 3rd exercise easier than I expected it to be, but all of the others burned my triceps out–#5 especially. I used 5 pound dumbbells for #4 and 3 pounds for #5.
- Side tricep dips (on side, knees bent, one hand on mat; do a push up with that arm, staying on side)
- Tricep dips with toe touches (tricep dips while in crab, touching toe w/ opposite hand)
- Modified tricep push ups (tricep push ups on knees but butt is up and you lower all the way to your forearms)
- Twisting tricep extensions (kickbacks but rotate wrists so palms face ceiling–this is not full range of motion, you keep arms at the high end, so lighter dumbbells are more appropriate)
- Straight arm squeezes (on knees, lean torso forward, arms behind back, palms facing ceiling; bring DBs together behind back so hand weights tap each other)
Inner Thighs is 9:30 minutes long. Equipment needed: Exercise mat and nothing else. 5 exercises; each exercise is done for one minute. If the exercise is done on one leg then each leg gets a full minute. As usual, I did this as an add on after another workout–a Katami 4×4 workout that was exhausting. So I was worn out when I came to this workout. And this workout continued to fry my legs. I do feel like part of the reason my legs were giving out on the first and 3rd exercises was because I was so worn out from the previous workout but I’m sure on their own they are very challenging. I know in exercise #3 my second leg handled it better than my first leg, which does make me think it had something to do with the “wear out” factor since it generally works the opposite–the second leg wears out quicker. But either way–another excellent 5 Best workout that worked my inner things well and definitely finished off my workout.
- Elevated mini plies (lay back on elbows, raise legs and press heels together–bend knees and extend, pushing heels to ceiling)
- Wide inner thigh sweeps (still on elbows, legs straight and wide, feet flexed–sweep straight out wide to sides, then in, scissoring them across each other)
- Inner thigh raises (lay on side, top leg bent and foot on floor either in front or behind bottom leg–raise and lower bottom leg)
- Forward and back raises (same starting position as #3, except bottom leg sweeps to the front, then raise, then sweep to back)
- Inner thigh tucks (get onto knees, thighs together and straight and tuck hips back, lowering bottom toward heels)