Barlates: Barre Basics Series

Barre Basics is part of a series Linda Wooldridge created. There are 3 disks and each disk contains 4 workouts. Barre Basics, Barre Intermediate and Barre Advanced. They are sold separately or you can buy all 3, which is what I did. I got the full series from Total Fitness DVDs. Their titles make the purpose of this series pretty self explanatory. You start with this DVD and work your way up until you are able to do the advanced workouts. There is a 2:30 minute intro in which Linda explains that this DVD is the perfect introduction to the correct form for performing traditional barre exercises, she talks about ways to use the DVD and equipment needed. During the workouts little suggestions on how to make the exercises even easier appear in the right or left hand corner of the screen. 3 of the workouts on this DVD are “basic/introductory” but the 4th workout is a 14 minute workout called Total Chair that is intermediate and kind of a test, I guess, to see if you are ready to move up to the intermediate level DVD in the series. There are also premixes on this DVD which are listed at the bottom of this review.

Seat is 36 minutes long; 4:30 minute warm up (#1-3) and 4 minute stretch. Equipment: barre or chair and a mat. Though this was an excellent glute barre workout, I can see how this is easier than many of Linda’s other barre workouts. First, the exercises are basic barre exercises but more than that, you change legs after each exercise. Normally Linda does multiple exercises on one leg, one right after the other with zero breaks, completely burning the muscle out. In this workout you do one exercise then do the same exercise on the other leg, then return to the first leg and do another exercise then do it on the other leg, and so on. A few times you do two consecutive exercises on the same leg, but you always get a brief rest before you do the second exercise–again, that is not the norm for Linda’s barre workouts. However, this workout still did a good job working my glutes. This is also a great workout to add ankle weights to. As mentioned below, when I did this workout I did the premix that combines Lower and Seat into a 61 minute workout. Since Lower plays first in the premix, my legs were already a bit fatigued (especially my calves), but overall that premix gave me a very nice lower body barre workout.

  1. Alternating step backs, making sure heel is on floor when you step back
  2. Alternating single leg deadlifts, raising straight leg behind you and touching fingertips to floor
  3. Holding on to barre, raise one straight leg in front of you, to side, behind you to a diagonal and straight behind you
  4. With hands on barre or chair back, lift and lower straight leg behind you
  5. Still facing barre/chair but standing further away from barre so you are hinged forward, and raise straight leg behind you to a slower tempo (to count of 3)
  6. Still facing barre/chair, start with heels together and toes turned out, raise and lower straight leg behind you, keeping foot in same position (so heel turned inward and hip open)
  7. Still facing barre/chair, feet in same position as #6 but stand further away from barre so you are hinged forward, and raise straight leg behind you to a slower tempo (to count of 3)
  8. Standing closer to barre, feet hip with and straight ahead, bend one knee and push the leg out behind you then bring knee back in
  9. Still facing barre/chair, feet in same position as #8 but stand further away from barre so you are hinged forward, raise and lower leg the same as you did in #8 but lift foot higher toward ceiling
  10. Still facing barre/chair, start with heels together and toes turned out, bend knee w/ hip turned out and raise and lower leg (hydrant move)
  11. Still facing barre/chair, feet in same position as #9 but stand further away from barre so you are hinged forward, raise and lower leg the same as #10
  12. 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, raise and lower back leg (raise entire leg, keeping foot and knee level); keep back leg raised and push leg out behind you then bring back in
  13. Repeat #12 on other leg
  14. Get on hands and knees and raise one leg, pushing foot straight up to ceiling then bringing knee back under body; open knees and cross one ankle over the other, raise and lower top leg at an angle (hydrant lift)
  15. Repeat #14 on other leg

Arms & Abs is 35 minutes; no warm up and 3 minute stretch. Equipment: a mat and a set of light dumbbells (Linda is using 1kg or 2 pound dumbbells, I used 3 pound dumbbells). This was a great way to initiate me back into working my upper body. I have been lifting some very light dumbbells but no push ups or plank based work. Well, this threw me right into the push ups right at the beginning! I haven’t done a push up or plank based exercise in more than a month and the heaviest dumbbell I have used in the past month is 5 pounds! These push ups burned me out big time–on my knees! And the 3 pound dumbbells were plenty for me. I doubt very seriously I would have been saying these things about this workout just over a month ago, but for now–it is a great workout to start developing my upper body muscles again.

  1. Push ups on hands and knees, keeping butt elevated when lowering chest; still on knees, do more push ups in modified plank (body is straight from head to knees); continue doing push ups on knees but tempo changes to 3 down, 1 up
  2. Tricep push ups on hands and knees, keeping butt elevated when lowering chest; still on knees, do more tricep push ups in modified plank (body is straight from head to knees); continue doing tricep push ups on knees but tempo changes to 3 down, 1 up
  3. Straight arm modified side plank (on knees) w/ top arm reached overhead, rotate torso forward and back; changes to hip dips
  4. Repeat #3 on other side of body
  5. Kneel w/ heels together and knees apart, do swan arms (basically gracefully flapping arms like a swan flying)
  6. Bring arms in front of you at chest level, arms bent so DBs are raised to ceiling and push DBs up and then return to start; tempo changes to 3 counts up and one count down
  7. Straight arm side raises; turn palms to face behind you and tempo changes to 3 up and one down
  8. Hold arms out in front of you at a bit lower than chest level, curl DBs in and out (bicep curls holding arms out); tempo changes to 3 up and one down
  9. Kneel w/ legs together, hinge torso forward and do tricep kickbacks
  10. Still kneeling, still hinged forward, do straight arm tricep press backs to tempo of 3 up and 1 down
  11. Still kneeling, but w/ heels together and knees apart, hinge torso forward, do rear delt raises; tempo changes to 3 up and one down
  12. Sit cross-leg, hold arms at shoulder level w/ elbows bent and palms facing floor, push DBs forward, bring back to start then raised DBs so arms are in goal post; changes to just pushing forward for 8 reps then raising and lowering into goal post (scarecrows) for 8 reps
  13. Sit w/ spine in C curve, knees bent and feet on ground, arms extended straight in front of you, do small crunches; continue but crunch gets a little bigger and you swing arms out straight to sides when crunching back and raise arms overhead when crunching forward
  14. Still in C sit, raise arms straight overhead, lower one straight arm so fingers tap the floor while also rotating torso, alternate sides/arms
  15. Spine still in C curve, legs bent and feet on ground, arms extended straight in front of you, alternate raising feet, bringing knees close to chest
  16. Lay back so you are leaning on elbows and scissor straight legs
  17. Lay on back, hands behind head and elbows extended, legs raised off floor and knees bent, do bicycle maneuver

Lower is 25 minutes; 1:30 warm up (#1 below) and 4:30 minute stretch. Equipment: a barre or chair. I did not find this an “easy” workout. Yes, it is definitely basic barre exercises, but it burned out my calves, feet and quads. I imagine the only thing that makes this workout easier than many of Linda’s others, is the fact she gives you rest breaks between each exercise instead of flowing from one exercise right into the next with zero breaks (which is what she does in many of her other workouts). So this was an excellent workout! When I did this workout, I did the 61 minute premix that combines Lower and Seat–it worked my lower body very well!

  1. Alternating knee raises; continue alternating knee raises while angling knee toward opposite side of the body and chopping arms down from side to side
  2. Bend knees so you are in a straight back squat and raise onto toes (hold barre/chair), do small pulse squats in this position; changes to squatting lower to count of 3 then raising to one count
  3. Still holding barre/chair, raise and lower heels; changes to faster tempo
  4. Raise onto toes again and lower into straight back squat and hold, tuck hips in and out
  5. Bring heels together, turn toes out and raise into toes, lower into a straight back squat and do small pulse squats; changes to squatting lower to count of 3 then raising to one count
  6. Raise and lower heels with feet in same position (heels together, toes turned out); changes to a faster tempo
  7. Heels still together, toes still turned out, lower into plie squat and hold, tuck hips in and out
  8. Wide plie squat pulses; raise into toes and continue pulsing; changes to squatting lower to count of 3 then raising to one count (still on toes)
  9. Still in wide plie, raise and lower heels (no longer squatting); changes to a faster tempo
  10. Lower into wide plie squat, raise onto toes and hold, shift hips side to side

Total Chair is 14 minutes; no warm up, 15 second stretch. Equipment: chair. Linda calls this “barre intermediate” even tho this is on the Barre Basics Series. I found this workout pretty tough. But as mentioned during Arms & Abs review, I haven’t really worked my upper body in more than a month and have done zero plank based moves in more than a month, so I found this very challenging. For #4 (tricep push ups with hands on chair) I had to move to the floor (and do them on my knees, too). It has been far too long since I have done a full tricep push up–even with my hands elevated I just couldn’t. I was able to do the regular push ups with hands on the chair, but it was a challenge. When I did this workout, I did the premix that starts with Arms & Abs and finishes with Total Chair. For where I am right now, these two workouts challenged me.

  1. Start standing and drop/bend at the hips, swinging arms down beside thighs then straighten, raising arms overhead
  2. Tap toes while swinging arms side to side and twisting torso up to sides
  3. Push ups w/ hands on chair
  4. Triceps push ups w/ hands on chair
  5. With hands on chair and body straight (in plank) bring knee in to forehead, alternate legs; changes to bringing knee to elbow on outside of body alternate sides
  6. Tricep dips w/ hands on chair
  7. With shoulders on chair seat, feet wide, raise and lower hips; bring feet closer together and continue raising and lowering hips
  8. Sit on ground, facing the chair, legs straddling chair legs and ankles against chair legs, hands on floor behind hips, pressing legs in to chair legs; changes to pulsing legs against chair legs 3x then raise one leg and arc it over chair seat, alternate legs
  9. Still sitting on floor facing chair, place ankles/heels on seat of chair, legs straight, hands beside hips and lift bottom off floor, lift one leg over chair seat, bend knee and push under seat, keep alternating over and under; changes to pulsing straight leg up and down under chair
  10. Lay on back and place calves on seat of chair, hands behind head, crunch while bringing one knee in to nose, alternate legs

Premixes:

Play All 110 minutes

Play All (no chair) 96 minutes

Lower + Seat 61 minutes

Arms, Abs & Lower 60 minutes

Arms, Abs & Seat 71 minutes

Arms, Abs & Chair 49 minutes

Lower & Chair 39 minutes

Seat & Chair 50 minutes

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One response to “Barlates: Barre Basics Series

  1. Pingback: Beginner Rotation | 2 Lazy 4 the Gym·

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