Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Review of Pure Barre - 16th Street: 1

Pure Barre is deceiving.
   The exercise technique's moves don’t look like much. They’re so tiny, with a span of mere inches, that people who watching a Pure Barre workout for the first time may be tempted to think it’s a snap to do.
   But it’s far, far from easy.
   Pure Barre is a fierce workout, causing intense burning in the area being targeted during an exercise, and sometimes soreness afterward.
   I was reminded of the technique’s power to set the abs, seat, arms and thighs on fire by one of the latest Pure Barre DVDs, 16th Street: 1. Pure Barre creator Carrie Rezabek leads the workout in a Denver studio.
   Even though this workout is just 35 minutes from start to finish, including a warm-up and cooldown, it surprised me how exhausted I was when it was over. I was also thrilled that I was able to keep up with it, modifying occasionally.
   In this workout, Carrie and her crew use a double resistance tube, attached in the middle like a figure 8.
   I simply used a resistance band (without handles) and tied it into a circle that provided reasonable resistance.
   The tube or band is incorporated into all the exercises, including the warm-up, which to me isn’t really a warm-up at all.
   It’s actually an arm workout. After just a few seconds of lifting the arms and legs, exercisers hit the floor to do push-ups, plank, side plank, then stand and use the band to exercise the triceps with a few different moves.
   The first official exercise segment is thighs, which is done standing at a support such as a window sill or chair.
   The exercises here include: Putting the tube around the thighs at a point higher than the knees, lifting the heels off the ground, keeping them together, then bending down and up an inch; tucking the hips forward and back; putting the tube under one foot and around the other ankle, and lifting the leg with the tube around the ankle forward slightly off the floor in small pulses and stretches.
   The seat segment is next, and it starts at the support. The tube is put under both feet, then one is flexed and lifted up behind in tiny lifts and circles.
   Exercisers then hit the mat, put the tube around one ankle and behind the other foot, and face the floor on all fours. The leg with the tube under the foot is lifted off the floor in tiny movements to work what Rezabek calls the Pure Barre ledge – the area where the seat meets the leg.
   The abs come next. In a sitting position on the floor, the tube is wrapped around the heels of the feet and pulled through the knees with the hands, with the upper body leaning back as far as possible. From here, small crunches are done, with one arm up and then the other, then the body is held still and the tube pulled forward and back. Oblique work is done by twisting slightly from side to side.
   Each segment is followed by a short stretch to lengthen the muscles after the intense work. These are certainly welcome, but Rezabek doesn’t remind exercisers to stick with the most basic level of the stretch if they don’t feel like going any further.
   I never push myself in a stretch – it can cause serious injury!
   I did my own stretch at the end of the workout, letting my abs, thighs and seat relax after being put through the ringer.

Pure Barre - 16th Street 1 at amazon.ca

Review of Pure Barre: Lowry Lofts 1 and 2

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