Friday, September 24, 2010

Review of Pure Barre: Pershing Square 1

Pure Barre: Pershing Square 1 is a tough workout.
   I was extremely pleased that I was able to get through it without wanting to curl up and die.
   Carrie Rezabek created the Pure Barre technique, and it is adapted nearly entirely from the Lotte Berk Method of exercise.
   Because I have used other DVDs using that heavily incorporate the Lotte Berk Method, I was mentally prepared for my thighs, buns and abs to burn with Pershing Square 1.
   And that’s just what they did during this compact, 45-minute workout.
   When doing workouts that use the Lotte Berk Method, a person really needs to give themselves a break.
   Don’t expect to the complete workout all at once if you’re trying it for the first time.
   That’s what I did going into Pershing Square 1: I decided to be happy with what I could do before I started the workout. When I could do it all, I was thrilled.
   Pershing Square is an intersection in downtown Los Angeles (I thought when I bought this DVD that is was some sort of exercise pattern.) Rezabek and four other women are in a studio on the square for the DVD.
   The women use a small exercise ball, but you can do the workout without it (one of Rezabek’s crew demonstrates moves without the ball). I dropped the ball, so to speak, quite often as the moves with it are quite hard.
   The crew is also wearing some kind of sock with grip on the bottom, but I did the workout in bare feet and was fine.
   Pershing Square 1 is divided into three main sections: Thighs, behind, and abs. You can do sections of the DVD if you’re starting out.
   Each of those sections, in turn, are divided into three smaller ones, with a different exercise used. After each section is a welcome stretch for the part that was worked. Stretching after strengthening is key to the Lotte Berk Method.
   The first part of the workout, though, is the warmup. Lotte Berk workout warmups often contain pushups, planks, side planks and tricep dips.
   It's a bit shocking and even upsetting! If this seems to much for you, forget about it, do your own warmup and then skip to the main workout, which starts with thighs.
   Thighs are exercised by putting one hand on a balance (Rezabek and her crew use a window sill, I used a chair), standing up on tippy-toes and doing a series of squats, some with feet in a V, others with the feet together. Some exercises use the ball positioned between the thighs.
   The behind section starts with a person standing upright at the balance. One foot is raised at a 90 degree angle to the other, and the bent leg is pushed back repeatedly. It’s absolutely killer on the hamstrings.
   The behind section then moves to the floor. Lying on one’s side, feet slightly forward, the top foot is moved back and forth and in small circles.
   By the time the behind section was finished, my poor butt was burning. A double-pigeon yoga stretch done afterwards was hard to do. Rezabek said if the area felt tight that was good – it meant it had worked.
   Next came the ab section. In the Lotte Berk Method, abs are worked by placing one’s feet on the ground or the thighs parallel to the floor, and the shoulders are lifted off the ground.
   The shoulders never go back on the ground once they’re up, and the only crunching that’s done is small.
   It’s very hard, and the abs burn, but you will feel a sense of accomplishment if you can finish even just a part of this section.
   The workout ends with a final stretch.
   The DVD also includes a body positioning tutorial to show the proper form for each exercise.
   Although workouts that use the Lotte Berk Method are tough, they are also oddly addictive. The workouts offer the muscles a challenge like no other, and help to make the body look sleek and toned.

Note: Rezabek doesn’t always remind an exerciser that he or she can stay with the most basic stretch or position, rather than the progressively more difficult variations. Know you can always stay with the first, most basic position. Always go at your own pace and ability.

A review of Pure Barre: Pershing Square 2

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