I have heard a lot about Ellen Barrett but I have never done one of her workouts. So when I came across Stretch Sculpt at the library, I decided to give her a try and see why everyone seems to love her. I also went a step further and did this workout barefoot. I previewed it and there was no jumping and there was some foot strengthening exercises. I have really bad feet (plates and screws in both heels) but if I think I can handle a barefoot workout that will actually benefit my feet, I attempt it. I found some of the moves hard on my feet, so if I ever return to this workout I will do it with shoes on.
I liked this workout. It is a fusion workout that really takes you through some range of motion exercises, dynamic stretching, and high rep and bodyweight strength. This workout uses light dumbbells. Ellen says they are not for building muscle but to add resistance to help you get a better range of motion with the exercises. She recommends 1-3 pound dumbbells. I used 3 pound dumbbells.
I did this workout on a rest/recovery day and preceded it with another fusion workout from Jessica Smith: Fusion Walk from her 3 DVD Superset, so I was already warmed up nicely. This workout kept me in my fat burn zone (according to my FitBit). This also really burned my legs out during the lunge series. Part of me wonders if it has to do with how my feet were struggling and cramping with some of the moves, so maybe there was some unnatural compensation going on. I think if I had worn shoes, I would have enjoyed it more. Still, I did like it and I did get a very nice recovery day workout. So I do think it is a winner. Will I buy it? Not right now! It is $40 on Amazon and even though I like it, it is not worth $40. But after my surgery I will definitely check it out from the library again. This is a great one to do while I am rehabbing. **A reader pointed out that this workout is available for free on YouTube! So enjoy!**
Am I inspired to try more Ellen Barrett workouts? Not really. Not unless I see them at the library.
Stretch Sculpt is 30:30 minutes; 4 minute warm up and 2:30 minute stretch. Equipment: fitness mat and light dumbbells. Ellen and crew are doing the workout barefoot. There is modifier who shows easier versions of the exercises. You start holding the dumbbells even during the warm up.The workout is chaptered.
- Overhead shoulder press varying direction of your palms (facing each other or facing the front); add wide plie squats
- Alternating overhead reach; add reaching other arm down and across body when reaching the other arm overhead and to the side
- Alternate reaching arms/DBs across chest with palms facing the ceiling; add extending other arm behind you when reaching other arm across chest; changes to 3 reaches then do a side leg lift on 4th reach
- Stand on one leg and do bicep curls while raising and lowering straight leg to side
- Holding hands/DBs at hips and do “ballet tree” (raising and lowering leg in and out of tree pose); add a straight arm front raise; add bringing heel down behind other foot at bottom of tree; front raise changes raising arms overhead and lowering
- Stationary side to side lunges; reach hand/DB toward opposite foot as you lunge while extending other arm behind you
- Pivot to side and lower into runners lunge with hands on floor, bend and straighten back leg dropping knee to floor when bending knee; place DBs on floor in front of you
- Raise up into lunge (hands off floor and spine straight) and pulse
- Still in lunge, return hands to floor on either side of front foot and raise one arm to ceiling and lower back to floor (same side arm as front leg)
- Repeat #8
- Lower into straight arm plank and bring foot up to floor on outside of same side hand then return to plank, continue bringing foot to hand and back to plank staying on same side
- Repeat #8
- Lower back into runners lunge w/ hands on floor on either side of foot and bring shin and top of foot flat to floor, raise and lower back knee while keeping top of foot on floor
- Repeat #8
- Pick up DBs and do stationary lunges side to side while doing a figure 8 w/ DBs while holding DBs together
- Still standing with legs wide rotate torso and DBs side to side, wrapping DBs hip to hip
- Repeat #2-16, if done on one side of body it is now done on other side of body
- Legs still wide, still holding DBs together, circle DBs from floor to overhead and do an overhead tricep extension then circle arms back down to ground (lower into wide plie squat when circling DBs down near floor); changes to pulsing wide plie squats w/ pulsing overhead tricep extensions
- Legs still wide, lower torso w/ flat back the round spine back to top and circle arms/DBs 3 times
- Repeat #18 circling in the other direction
- Repeat #19