Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Review of Pure Barre: Lowry Lofts 1 and 2

Lowry Lofts 1 and Lowry Lofts 2 are two super-tough workouts released on DVD by Pure Barre exercise technique creator Carrie Rezabek.
   You’ll be forgiven for thinking the fitness ring required for the workouts is really a torture device – I sure did.
   Pure Barre, based on the Lotte Berk Method of exercise, targets the thighs, butt and abs with small intense movements, and sets your body on fire in the process.
   The Lowry Lofts workouts, named for the Denver, Colorado, Pure Barre studio where they were taped, are the shortest Pure Barre workouts yet. The Pershing Square DVDs were 45 minutes long; the Lowry Lofts are 35 minutes long. While the Lowry Lofts workouts are shorter, the pain is as intense as before.
   I had to search online a bit to find the squeezable fitness ring used in the Lowry Lofts workouts. I found a reasonably-priced one after Googling the phrase “Pilates ring.”
   The Lowry Lofts DVDs are the winner of a rather unpleasant award from me: The home workout DVDs that I’ve tried that have the absolute worst warm-ups.
   You’ll feel warm when you’re done them, all right, but only because they’re ridiculously tough!
   The warm-ups delve right into tough abdominal work, push-ups, and plank positions. It feels like the full-blown workout.
   You have no time to prepare mentally for the workout ahead, and I find that frustrating.
   The warmups will only be tolerated by people who are used to Pure Barre, and more broadly, the Lotte Berk Method of exercise. A good introduction to the method can be found on a set of four DVDs called The Lotte Berk Method.
   Lowry Lofts 1 and 2 follow the same pattern, but the exercises differ slightly, great for those who like variety in their workouts.
   After the warm-up comes thigh work. An example exercise in this segment is resting with one hand on a support such as windowsill, chair or counter, standing on tippy-toes with the heels pressed together and the legs inside the fitness ring that is positioned just above the knees. From here, the legs are pressed out against the ring repeatedly – it’s hard!
   Next comes butt work. Example: Leaning forward on the support, an exerciser places the ring behind the knee, with the bent leg holding it in place. From here, the leg is pushed back in tiny movements.
   Then there’s the abs – work that becomes horribly tough with the aid of the fitness ring. Example: Lying on the back, the exerciser places the ring between the thighs. The legs, arms, head and chest are lifted up off the ground, and while doing tiny crunches, the ring is squeezed between the thighs. It gets progressively more difficult with variations such as lifting up the arms in the air while doing the crunches.
   It’s not for the faint of heart, and those who like a good warm-up with their workouts, but Lowry Lofts 1 and 2 deliver the burn, and the tone, to common trouble spots.

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