Xtend Barre: Lean & Chiseled
The barre workout DVD market has exploded lately. It seems like just about every week another ballet-inspired workout DVD comes to FBG HQ. This week? It was Xtend Barre’s Lean & Chiseled DVD, which we popped in for a little bun burn.
A mix of dance, Pilates and old-school standing legwork that makes your legs feel as though they’ll fall off, this DVD combines light resistance work (read: either sans weight or 1- to 3-pound dumbbells) with movement for a ballet-inspired workout that gives you a bit more cardio than most DVDs of this variety. After a short 5-minute warm-up that is actually kind of intense (instructor Andrea Rogers loooves the plié squats!), you have a number of sections to choose from: Upper Body for 11 minutes, Barre (lower-body) for 24 minutes, Core for 10 minutes and a stretch-a-rific 5-minute cool down. There is also a short introduction from Andrea, and a tutorial to learn what all the ballet moves and names are that is super helpful for barre newbies.
Glutton for punishment that I am, I tried them all for one 55-minute workout. The Upper Body section features a combo of traditional exercises with some ballet-inspiration. Andrea leads you through arm circles (this part reminded me of Tracy Anderson’s DVDs…), tricep kickbacks, planks and moving through different ballet positions while holding weights. While not impossible, this section certainly gets your arms burning. The Barre segment is certainly the high-point of the DVD though. Using a chair, you go through tons of lower-body work including the ballet faves with pulses and jumps: first position, second position and, again, the plié. For cardio, you even pair some of these moves together to get the heart rate up. This section concludes with traditional standing glute work à la Cindy Crawford. The Core section is pretty much all Pilates with moves like the Teaser, C-Curve and split-leg crunches.
Overall, I thought this DVD was pretty solid. Despite the fact that Andrea made me have Tracy Anderson flashbacks every time she said “teeny-tiny” (which was a lot—thankfully she used those words to describe movement, NOT her desired body weight), her instruction was good and the music was fantastic. My only real main complaint is that while the sections are divided up and there is an option to play all (which pretty annoyingly also plays the intro and tutorial—good for the first time, but after that pretty pointless), the DVD is sorely missing a mix-and-match option to create your own perfect workout. All in all, not too shabby. (And this is coming from a girl with little rhythm and flexibility!)
FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★
Fit Bottom line: A solid barre workout that is more cardio than most ballet-inspired DVDs. Good for beginners and intermediate wannabe ballerinas alike!
Want to try this workout DVD for yourself? Leave a comment with why, and we’ll select one random U.S. reader to win in about a week. The winner will be contacted via email, so keep an eye on that inbox, chickadees! —Jenn