Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Review of Pure Barre: Pershing Square 2

How utterly horrible, I thought to myself as I finished this workout recently.
   But as the feeling of exhaustion and burning passed, a feeling of refreshment and accomplishment replaced it as I stretched, and I patted myself on the back for finishing Pure Barre: Pershing Square 2.
   Pure Barre is a technique created by Carrie Rezabek, and Pershing Square 2 is the third instalment of her DVDs. Pure Barre heavily borrows from another exercise technique, the Lotte Berk Method.
   I’ve reviewed Rezabek’s two previous DVDs on this blog: Pure Barre and Pershing Square 1. (Pershing Square, by the way, refers a Los Angeles square that's home to the Pure Barre studio where this workout was taped.)
   On each Pure Barre DVD, the thighs, butt and abs are worked using a series of intense, small movements. It’s very challenging.
   But the results are definite – my booty has definitely seen more lift and tone since I started doing Pure Barre workouts.
   Each Pure Barre DVD offers different exercises to work those the thighs, butt and abs.
   Rezabek and her crew use a small exercise ball during some parts of Pershing Square 2, but it is not essential to have.
   What is essential is to have courage to try the workout!
   On Pershing Square 2, as with the two previous Pure Barre DVDs, the warmup consists of pushups, plank positions and tricep dips.
   While a person’s body gets warm quickly, and it’s a great way to work the arms, the abrupt transition to working out so heavily at the beginning of a workout isn’t for everyone.
   If you need to, warm up more on your own before you start the workout using traditional methods such as knee raises. I certainly have!
   On Pershing Square 2, we encounter such challenging exercises as lifting one leg off the ground in front of the body, holding onto a support such as a chair, windowsill or countertop with the opposite arm, flexing the foot and lifting the leg up in tiny movements. Trust me, the top of the thighs will burn in no time.
   There’s one stretch Rezabek uses after the work that is quite difficult, and she doesn’t let the exerciser know that he or she can stay with the first pose of the stretch rather than try the others.
   It’s a runner’s stretch done on the floor, with one leg forward and bent and the other leg backward at a 45-degree angle to the ground.
   Rezabek goes on to do other variations on the stretch that progress in difficulty, but I can only do the basic one. I can’t always hold the stretches as long as Rezabek and her crew do, either.
   I wanted to point this out as a reminder that even though the trainer on a DVD may not explicitly point out you can stay with the most basic variation at all times, you certainly can! Always go at your own pace and ability.
   One of the exercises for working the behind is leaning on the support at a diagonal, lifting the opposite leg up, bending it, then pulsing it up in tiny movements. It’s hard after many repetitions.
   The last exercise sections concentrate on the abs.
   While sitting on the ground and leaning back, the exercise ball is placed between the thighs.
   While keeping one’s shoulders off the ground, the thighs are held, the ball is squeezed between the legs and the hips tucked under. Then comes a series of small crunches.
   I feel all the muscles working – and burning – in the abdominal area.
   While I sometimes wonder if I’ve lost my mind after doing a Pure Barre workout, because it is so challenging, I quickly rebound and can’t wait to tackle it again.
   I like it so much, in fact, that I’ve ordered two more Pure Barre DVDs. Stay tuned!

   Note: The Pure Barre crew wear some type of special gripped sock during Pershing Square 2. I go barefoot, and it’s absolutely fine.

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