Barlates: Lower Body Mat Series

Lower Body Mat Series is another collection of advanced lower body workouts from Linda Wooldridge. The DVD contains 4 mat workouts: Ankle Weight Butt Sculpter, Lower Body Mat Burner, Outer Thigh & Glutes and Ultimate Inner Thighs. They are all very painful but very effective. I should have learned my lesson from Linda’s Loop Extreme Series but apparently I like pain. I suffered through all of these workouts and was never sorry–but in the midst of them, I was begging for mercy. This is one of Linda’s (many) strengths in creating workouts–lower body mat torture. She creates brutal yet effective workouts. This collection hits your entire lower body but there is a lot of glute work and since that is an area I always like to give extra attention, I am very pleased with this collection. I found them all very, very challenging but if you are a machine like Linda, she gives you suggestions on how to make these workouts even harder. They were hard enough for me as presented. But who knows? The longer I workout with Linda, the more endurance I will build. One day I may need some of her super-advanced suggestions.

As a side note, my husband commented after I did Outer Thigh & Glutes that he really enjoys when I do Linda’s mat workouts because of all the noise I make. He can never understand why I keep coming back to Linda’s workouts when I sound like I am being tortured during them then, in the hours afterwards, I make comments about the pain in whatever muscle group Linda happened to be frying that day. I don’t know why I keep coming back. Linda is one of those trainers who, like Cathe, Kelly and Jessica, manages to make hard work bearable by the force of her personality. I love the pain she deals out.

None of these workouts are available for free on YouTube. You have to either purchase the DVD or you can purchase the workouts individually on Linda’s website either via download or she will send you a DVD. But if you’re going to get one, you might as well get them all, right? (I say that but I have actually had Linda just send me one or two workouts when I could have gotten 2-3 more workouts if I purchased the collection/series DVD–but we all have our reasons, right?) However, Linda has posted clips of each of these workouts on YouTube and I have linked to them within each workout’s review.

Ankle Weight Butt Sculpter is 35:30 minutes long; 30 second intro, 45 second warm up and 2:30 minute stretch. Here is a video clip. Linda is wearing 1kg ankle weights (2 pounds). Warm up is plank squats (in plank, bend knees and push hips back to heels then return to plank). Holy $hit this workout was painful. Excruciating, both during and after. I am sitting here more than 2 hours after I finished this workout with my glutes and hamstrings aching big time. So thanks, Linda! I only used one pound ankle weights and seriously considered taking them off several times–but I stuck it out w/ my pansy ankle weights. All this whining to say–what an effective butt sculpting workout! It worked my glutes and hamstrings hard but it also hit my outer thighs and a bit of inner thighs, too. Another excellent, painful and advanced mat workout from Linda/Barlates.

  1. On hands and knees, raise one leg out straight behind you and raise and lower straight leg; changes to pulses; bring straight leg a few inches to the outside of body and raise and lower straight legs; changes to pulses; bring straight leg over other leg and raise and lower leg; changes to pulses
  2. Still on hands and knees, raise straight leg then lower and tap floor to outside of body, raise leg and tap floor behind you, raise leg and tap floor on other side (outside of other leg)
  3. Still on hands and knees, both legs bent, push toe up to ceiling and bring back under body, keeping knee bent; add extending leg at top (so lift, extend/straighten leg, bend leg and bring back under body); raise bent knee and turn knee/thigh out to side (hydrant) and pulse; still holding leg in hydrant, straighten and bend leg
  4. Repeat 1-3 on other leg
  5. Lay on side and bring straight legs in front of you so body is in an “L” and raise and lower straight top leg; sweep leg back then return leg to start (“L”); changes to raising leg as you sweep it back and tap the floor then raise it as you return to start (“L”); bring knee to floor in front of other thigh then push leg out straight behind you
  6. Still laying on side in “L” bend knees and lift and lower top bent leg; changes to tapping top knee to bottom knee then top toe to bottom toe
  7. Sit up with legs in pretzel (sit on mat, one leg bent in front of you and the other bent behind you, so your legs are in a sort of Z or pretzel) and lift and lower back leg; changes to raising back leg then kicking leg out straight, bending knee and lowering leg
  8. Repeat 5-7 on other leg

Lower Body Mat Burner is 37:30 minutes long; no warm up and 2:30 minute stretch. Here is a video clip. Equipment: mat and a light dumbbell (Linda uses a 3 pound dumbbell and so did I). Another nightmarishly painful workout. I use “nightmarishly” in the most positive way. (o: It hurt. A lot. But in a good way. I struggled through nearly every part of this workout. And I felt this workout everywhere in my lower body but mostly in my hips and outer thighs. Yet another excellent lower body mat workout from Linda/Barlates.

  1. Lay on side/elbow with back/hips along the back of the mat with legs extended straight so that toes are at the opposite corner of the mat, raise both legs off the mat and, while holding bottom leg stationary, raise and lower top leg; hold top leg stationary while raising and lowering bottom leg; both legs are still raised–scissor legs
  2. Bottom leg is on the ground now, do large circles with the top leg; changes to two taps to floor behind bottom leg then raise leg and bring it to the front and tap the floor twice in front of bottom leg
  3. Repeat 1 & 2 on other leg
  4. Get on all 4s and do hydrants (raise and lower bent leg to side of body); add extension–raise bent leg kick leg out straight, bend knee again and lower
  5. Still on all 4s, place DB behind one knee, bring knee under you and push foot up to ceiling; pulse foot up to ceiling; changes to crossing knee w/ DB behind it to the other side of other knee then pressing toward ceiling
  6. Knee is still bent w/ DB behind it but turn knee out to side and raise and lower leg (foot will cross behind other knee); pulse at top
  7. Still on all 4s, extend one leg out straight behind you and raise and lower leg; bend knee again and do large circles with leg (leading w/ knee)
  8. Repeat 4-7 on other leg
  9. Hip thrusts while in crab (hands and feet on floor); continue the hip thrusts but on heels now; bring feet out wider and knees together (still on heels), continue hips thrusts; bring heels together, raise hips all the way and hold while opening and closing knees

Outer Thigh & Glutes is 37 minutes long; no warm up and 3 minute stretch. Here is a video clip. OMG! Torture! Seriously–this workout was excruciating. I fought to get through this workout. It was so tough! You do everything on one leg before doing it on the other leg–so the working leg gets zero relief. In addition, this is one of those workouts were the non-working leg is somehow working anyway. Before I even got to the second leg those glutes were feeling some work, too! On #2 below, Linda forgets one of the moves on the second leg. Words appear on the screen apologizing but also stating she doubts you really mind–and I didn’t! I was in so much pain I was glad she forgot one of the moves! I complain a lot but it is an excellent workout. I felt it intensely in my outer thighs and glutes. Linda, as usual, is a machine. She did say a few times she was hurting, too, but she kept going with perfect form, never slowing down. She didn’t look like she was in pain. I had to take several personal breaks to let my burning, screaming muscles thaw. My little breaks only lasted a few seconds and I jumped right back in but I had to. This is a very high rep workout. Oh–Linda says if this isn’t hard enough for you and you need more, you can use a resistance loop and ankle weights. I found it plenty hard with zero equipment!

  1. Lay on side w/ knees bent and in front of you, keep toes together and open and close knees (like a clamshell); changes to lifting feet/calves in the air but keeping bottom knee on ground and continue opening and closing knees while keeping bottom knee on floor; place bottom leg on floor and circle top leg (keeping knee bent); changes to just raising top leg up and down (knees still bent); changes to bringing knee into chest then pushing leg out straight
  2. Extend legs out straight in front of you (so body is in an “L” shape) and do small circles w/ top leg; bring knee into chest then push out straight in front of you; pulse straight leg; changes to leg sweeps (sweep straight leg back then in front of body)
  3. Get on all 4s, one leg out straight to side of body and raise and lower straight leg; sweep straight leg back behind you then back to side of body; raise and lower straight leg behind you; hold straight leg up behind you and pulse leg; bend knee, bringing knee to same side elbow then push leg out straight behind you; bring bent leg up behind you and pulse; changes to circling leg/knee (still bent behind you); raise and lower bent leg to side (hydrants); keep leg raised in hydrant and hold isometrically
  4. Repeat everything on other leg

Ultimate Inner Thigh is 26 minutes long; no warm up and 2 minute stretch. Here is a video clip. Equipment needed: sliding disks/paper plates (or washcloths if you are on a smooth floor) and ankle weights (Linda uses 2 pound ankle weights). Another tough and painful workout–this is the shortest one of the 4 but it still fried my inner thighs big time. It also fried other lower body muscle groups. I really liked how this workout is done partially standing with gliding disks then ends with mat work w/ ankle weights. The standing gliding disk work is what worked my inner thighs and my quads–and it managed to work my inner thighs all the way down to my knee. I cannot ever remember feeling that part of my inner thigh muscle being worked (just above the knee). Linda gives you some options on where to place your hands while doing the standing exercises. On some of them, placing your hands on the floor gives you greater range of motion and allows you to get deeper into your inner thighs, and on others, being more upright allows you to target the inner thigh better. It depends on the exercise. However, it can be difficult and painful on other muscles (low back) to have your hands on the floor for long periods of time. An option to make it a bit easier (on your back) but still get that deeper range of motion is to place your hands on something–Linda suggests yoga blocks or even the seat of a chair. I used my square step at 8 inches (but if that is too low then add risers–10 or 12 inches will still give you deeper range of motion while taking pressure off your back). Once again, it is several hours after I finished this workout and my inner thighs and my hips are burning. Mostly my inner thighs tho.

  1. Plie squats; sliding disks are on the floor between legs, place hands on disks and slide disks behind you between legs then drag disks back, staying in deep plie squat the entire time
  2. Come down into side lunge w/ sliding disk under one foot and hands on ground (or something higher–yoga blocks, etc) and slide leg in and out; changes to sliding leg back and in on a diagonal behind you; changes to pulsing slides (raise torso/hands off floor for the pulses); repeat on other leg
  3. Disk under each foot, do a plie squat then slide one foot across and in front of other foot, alternate sides; just plie squats; narrow squat then slide one leg behind you in a diagonal; alternate legs; place heels on disks and alternate sliding leg out to side, pushing with heels
  4. Put on ankle weights, lay on side, leaning back on one hip with bottom leg straight and top knee bent w/ foot on floor behind bottom leg–raise and lower bottom straight leg; changes to 2 pulses and hold pattern; changes to circling leg; changes to bending knee and pushing foot straight; raise and lower while flexing and pointing toe; repeat on other leg

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6 responses to “Barlates: Lower Body Mat Series

  1. Wow, I don’t think I’m ready for this. Some of the exercises you describe in the hands and knees position sound like what Tracy Anderson does. They definitely hurt but TA doesn’t have the charm (IMHO) to make it “hurt so good.” Thanks for another entertaining and informative review!

    • I have done a lot of Tracy’s workouts and she does work you hard (and well) on the mat, but the trainer always makes the difference. Linda has that special “something” that makes me return to her torture sessions much more frequently than I return to Tracy’s. In fact, now that I’ve discovered Linda/Barlates, I don’t even think about pulling out my Tracy Anderson workouts anymore.

  2. How do you feel her workouts compare in intensity to cathe?? I’m a die hard cathe fan but if linda is equally as tortureous I have to try!! I love a good painful hard workout

    What are her top ten workouts?

    • I think they are as hard as Cathe’s workouts–in some ways harder. For instance, Linda’s mat work is much harder than any mat work that Cathe has done, but Linda’s workouts are also very different. Not the same kind of workouts Cathe creates so it’s hard to compare them. And top 10 would only be my opinion–plus I have only done a fraction of Linda’s workouts. So there may be even better ones out there I haven’t tried. But, in my opinion, here are my favorite Barlates workouts: Stretch Sculpt Lower, Back Strength, Barre Bootcamp Total Body (plus the first 16 minutes of Barre Bootcamp Box–I do them together for a 56 minute workout), Mix and Match HIIT, Quick Fix Total Body Weights, Sweat Series (4 workouts)–and Lower Body Mat Series are excellent lower body mat workouts.

    • I think you will enjoy them. In fact, I think they complement Cathe’s workouts very nicely. They work me just as hard, but in a completely different way.

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