My last vacation was an unmitigated success. I came back completely refreshed in mind, body and spirit. Unfortunately my enthusiasm for exercise had also taken a holiday and had yet to return.
My beloved yoga didn’t appeal to this newly relaxed persona — thank you Italian wine and lifestyle. Not to mention, my ache-free muscles wanted nothing to do with the gym. But a life-long habit of exercise is pretty hard to break and I had to do something.
A panicky call to Jenn was all it took. She gave me a pep talk and then promptly assigned me a DVD review: Core Fusion Barre Basics for Beginners. Oh, she’s a sneaky one.
What Is Barre Exercise?
If you are unfamiliar with the term, barre is a combination of ballet, Pilates and sculpting exercises all rolled up into one low-impact, core-challenging, muscle-strengthening workout. Originally developed by an injured dancer as a safe, yet gentle means of rehabilitation, Barre workouts have been around since the 1940s, but of recent have made huge gains in popularity.
In ballet, the barre is the stationary handrail used during warm-up exercises.
Core Fusion Barre Basics For Beginners DVD
As the title explains, this DVD was created for the barre newbie. It includes a detailed tutorial to define unfamiliar terms, show correct posture and explain proper execution. Props utilized during the workout are minimal: a rolled up towel, a yoga strap (handy but not necessary), and the back of a sturdy chair to use in place of the ballet barre for support. Some of the work takes place on the floor.
Together, the dynamic instructor duo, Fred DeVito and Elisabeth Halfpapp, have an extensive teaching resume (they have also been happily married for 30 years) and their enthusiasm for the barre technique is obvious.
The Core Fusion Philosophy
The Core Fusion Barre creators strongly believe in the less is more theory. There are virtually no big power moves, only small controlled muscular lifts, presses and holds.
“Strength in stillness” is their mantra.
The intensity comes from maintaining the correct posture and alignment. I’d have to be a sports physiologist to explain the physics, but even the non-working leg is building muscle and bone density.
If I just made that sound easy, believe me it is not.
The DVD is divided into seven 10-minute workouts designed to help develop long lean legs, a high lifted butt and tight abs. Each of the mini workouts begins with a quick one-minute warm-up followed by either thigh and glute toning or core strengthening, with stretches incorporated throughout.
If your usual M.O. is to skip the tutorial and go straight for the workout — don’t. Form over function is key. It’s better to do three perfect reps then 10 that are just okay. A background in dance or yoga is helpful, but in no way imperative. DeVito and Halfpapp give great demonstrations and continue to coach along the way.
The mini workouts target the large muscle groups of the legs and core (don’t expect any upper body) and are broken down as follows:
- Turned Out Thigh
- Parallel Thigh
- Standing Glute Toner
- Glute Sculpt
- Flat Back/Round Back Core
- Pure Core
Some of the exercises seem almost identical, but once you have mastered the movements (or are at least pass the cussing stage), you will feel the subtleties. A flexed foot or a turned out thigh is all it takes to work the muscle in a different way.
The entire program is considered core-centric, meaning the power comes from the core; two of the seven segments concentrate solely on the abdominals.
The gymnastic-inspired moves are a nice change of pace from more traditional ab work and are killer — in a good way.
Variations are given and breaks are encouraged throughout.
Is It For You?
If you are curious about barre exercises, if your workout has become stagnant or if the idea of doing just one more squat makes you want to cry, definitely give Core Fusion Barre Basics for Beginners a try. It’s not dancey, and it doesn’t require a lot of coordination. It’s tough but doable and (bonus!) easy on the joints.
Sometimes we need a little push and sometimes we just need a challenge. Core Fusion Barre Basics for Beginners did both. The short routines, though grueling at first, became easier and after only a few sessions I could feel my legs getting stronger and my muscles getting tighter, especially my glutes. And that my friends, is motivation at its finest.
FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★
Fun Factor: ★ ★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★★
Fit Bottomed Line: Challenging and definitely different. Although it is a beginner’s DVD, I believe it could stay in your collection as a quick go-to workout when short on time after you’ve mastered the moves.
Ever done a Core Fusion workout? —Karen