The Bar Method Burns Like a Mother

bar-methodYou know which athletes are bad asses? Ballerinas. (Um, did you see Black Swan?) And you know what exercise professionals are ridiculously strong? Those who teach fusion ballet classes. Like those who teach The Bar Method. Read on for a three-part review on these workout DVDs that combine ballet bar fitness (although at home you can just use a chair as a “bar”) with isometrics, dance conditioning, interval training and physical-therapy techniques. Yeowsers!

The Bar Method Beginner’s Workout

I’ve done hard ballet-type workouts before, and I know they’re no joke, but I still get hoodwinked every time I set out to do one. The moves looks so simple and graceful and easy—but they burn like a mo fo. This beginner’s DVD was seriously perfect for a ballet-fitness newbie. The 37-minute workout gives great instruction on exactly what to do and how to do it, is encouraging and is challenging but not so impossible that you feel like it’s out of reach. Through different series of push-ups, a version of tricep kickbacks that are so targeted that I swear you develop a new muscle (okay, maybe it just feels that way), lots of leg work while standing on your toes and some floor glute work that will have your biscuits burning, you definitely get a good strength workout. And because the instructor, Joey Decker, also provides a number of stretch breaks (these feel awesome, by the way), you also get a good dose of flexibility training.

Joey does seem to have had one too many shots of espresso in this DVD, but he definitely has energy and enthusiasm. I just wish he slowed down now and again—especially in the cool down where, for him, a deep breath only takes about three seconds. The music is pretty basic but goes bizarrely absent in one section of the DVD. Not sure if that was a screw-up or planned, but it’s odd. All in all though, the 37 minutes fly by, and with a DVD menu that breaks down the workout into its respective areas worked, it’s a fabulous beginning ballet DVD.

FBG Rating (Out of 5):

Instruction: ★★★
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★★
Music: ★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★

Fit Bottom line: One of the best beginning ballet workout DVDs we’ve reviewed!

The Bar Method Dancer’s Body Advanced Workout

For those of you who want to be challenged, the Dancer’s Body Advanced Workout is your ticket to Burn City. Instructor Marnie Alton delivers a no-holds-barred (get it? Ha!), super-advanced workout that lasts a whopping 62 minutes. While the length is a little too long for my taste (I’d rather have two 30-minute workouts to choose from or—better yet—three 20-minute workouts to mix and match, but that’s just my personal preference), like the beginner’s DVD, it does have a menu that breaks down the moves for the different muscle groups, making this DVD more convenient for any busy lifestyle. And Marnie is just the right mix of enthusiasm and get-to-business that I really like in an instructor. Plus, her directions on form and cuing are “en pointe.” (Again with the lame ballet jokes!)

With a push-ups section that goes on for what seems like hours, the “water-ski thigh-work” section that will make your legs feel like they’re about to fall off, and the uber ab move called the clam, you will definitely be challenged in new ways with this DVD. All you need is a chair, a strap and a small pillow for back support (unless you’re like Marnie who is super human). This advanced workout is definitely not for the weak of ballet heart.

FBG Rating (Out of 5):

Instruction: ★★★★★
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★★★
Music: ★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★1/2

Fit Bottom line: Expect to feel challenged and like your extremities are about to fall off. In a good way, of course.

The Bar Method Pregnancy Workout

Now this is a difficult one for me to really review because, well, I’m not pregnant. But I’m gonna give it a go for all the expecting Fit Bottomed Mamas out there. And, like the others reviewed, I’m giving it top marks. First of all the instructor Lee Potter is in her third trimester—WITH TWINS. And despite this she’s not only doing a workout that is as challenging as the beginner’s workout, she’s funny (making really witty diaper and bonus baby jokes!), graceful and totally encouraging (even breathing hard during some exercises—so refreshing to see!). Along with her are two other Bar Method aficionados who are also pregnant and show more intense variations as they are earlier in their pregnancies and are sporting smaller baby bumps.

Lee leads you through a 45-minute-long series of gentle, safe yet challenging moves, including free-weight work, thigh exercises, standing seat-work and abdominal strengthening exercises performed while propped up on pillows. And, just like the other DVDs, the time goes by quickly with stretching worked through the DVD for recovery and relaxation. Not to mention a fabulous cool down that includes deep breathing and smiling at your baby. Too sweet for words.

While I can’t personally vouch that this DVD delivers on its promise to improve the childbirth process and help you snap back in shape after baby, I can say that this is a fabulous prenatal workout that will definitely help you to increase or maintain your fitness during pregnancy. Let’s just say it’s worth bellying up to the bar for!

FBG Rating (Out of 5):

Instruction: ★★★★★
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★★★
Music: ★★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★★

Fit Bottom line: If you’re prego, you MUST try this one. It’s safe, effective and the instructor makes it really fun for mom and baby!

Wow! That’s a lot of stars for a workout DVD series. Guess who will be making this list next year? —Jenn

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!


  1. Alyssa says:

    I LOVE the Barre Method! There’s a studio near my home, but it is QUITE expensive. I have a few of the DVDs, however, and even incorporate some of the moves into my Pilates classes.
    Oh, and I won’t dance around the fact: I also love the ballet puns, lol!

  2. Ivori says:

    🙂 OOoohhhh !
    I always wanted to try the Bar Method , thanks for the review 😉

  3. kristine says:

    I took dance for years until college and then work and kids kinda took over. 🙂

    This looks like fun to me. I may consider using this as cross training with my running. Thanks for the review!

  4. Lexie says:

    Advanced Dancer’s body DVD is seriously no joke – I’ve taken quite a few of their classes at studios; this 62-min DVD is, I’d dare to say is harder than most classes I’ve taken at the studio. In a perfect world I’d go to studio, but it is not cheap, so I’m sticking to DVD – oh man this one’s a killer. I love Marnie, but I wanted to scream at her during the water-ski. Lovex100 Bar Method:)

  5. Christine says:

    Is the only way of purchasing the bar method on their website? I cant seem to find it through amazon.

  6. Phyllis says:

    I am a certifed Stott mat Pilates instructor. I am not teaching any longer but I keep up my certification and work out at home. I took tons of dance classes many years ago, my question is do you think I can jump into the Advanced video or should I start at the beginning? I do my own Pilates 2x a week and go on my exercise bike 3 or 4 times a week so I keep in shape.

  7. Linda Love says:

    I have been doing the bar method for about 6 months, mixed in with other dvds. Today is my second week on the Dancer’s Body Advanced workout and I have to get motivated with my coffee and have large glasses of water next to me to help me get through it. I am 55 years old and most women my age (some younger) let age and gravity take over. I refuse to go out like that! This workout is truly a MoFo, but if I need to stop before I think I smell bacon, I take a little breath and get back into it. My calves were super sore for about 3 days, but on my designated workout day, I was back and the soreness is gone! I’m having a bit of trouble executing push-ups military style, but I think as I go on with it, I’ll be back at ’em.

    I like Marnie’s energy and strength and that makes me want to do more. I can hardly wait to see my results 5 months from now. I work at it 4x a week or every other day.

  8. Victoria says:

    I’ve never even heard of this but it sounds awesome!!!

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