Pure Barre is a 45-minute total-body workout combining dance, Pilates and Lotte Berk exercises while utilizing the ballet barre to create strong, long, lean muscles without bulk.
Color DVD; 45 minutes; Released July 8, 2008
Pure Barre is the type of workout that tends to exact strong reactions from exercisers, whether positive and negative. Its heavy reliance on ballet and Pilates moves will appeal to those with a dance background who appreciate the potential effectiveness of small, precise movements. These same attributes, however, will exasperate those who prefer a more dynamic, movement-based workout.
At first glance, the movements that form the basis of this workout seem deceptively simple. Rather than emphasize full range of motion, these moves require the exerciser to contract and hold specific muscles while lifting the heels or tucking the pelvis, for example. In fact, the somewhat awkward positions actually restrict movement and require the exerciser to focus specifically on the muscle being targeted. There is no question that these movements, some of which utilize light weights or a standing support (to serve as a ballet barre) will fatigue the muscles if done correctly. Unfortunately, the surprisingly poor production quality often makes it difficult to see exactly what the instructor is doing. This is particularly evident during the thigh work where the movements are really small and it is nearly impossible to see the instructor’s form. In many cases, the camera angle cuts off the movement altogether, and the all-black attire of the instructor simply exacerbates the problem.
In much the same way that ballet dancers continue to perform the same movements and exercises repeatedly for years, the exercises in Pure Barre are appropriate for all fitness levels. Certainly, beginners will be more challenged, but this workout is not out of reach. Likewise, even advanced exercisers—provided they perform the moves precisely—will derive benefits from this workout. Interestingly, despite its heavy reliance on Pilates, Pure Barre surprisingly short-changes the stretches following the individual segments and at the end of the workout. Despite the poor production value, this video offers an effective toning workout, but it is definitely not for everyone.
What we liked:
- Challenging workout for the lower-body in particular
- Encourages precise movements and moves efficiently from one exercise to the next
- Instructor is motivating and provides good cues
What we didn’t like:
- Surprisingly bad production value
- It can be difficult to see the instructor’s movements and positions
- Stretches are not held long enough
October 10, 2010