Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review of Pure Barre - 16th Street: 2

As I grunted and groaned my way through the warm-up of the DVD Pure Barre - 16th Street: 2, it again struck me that Pure Barre warmups are the most ridiculous, impossible start to any workout that I’ve ever done.
   After a few knee-ups, you’re right down to the floor, doing intense abdominal work, push-ups, side planks, and tough tricep and bicep work.
   “This ain’t no warm-up,” I said, doggin’ it all the way through the first few moments, letting myself have it easy by cheating on form and promising I would work at full potential during the workout itself.
   I did that, and so I was proud.
   The only reason I try to look past Pure Barre’s frustrating and shocking warm-ups is that the workout gets fabulous and definite results.
   Smaller thighs? Check. Sucked in stomach and sides? Check. Lifted seat and toned hamstrings? Check.
   The workouts are all 35 to 45 minutes long (16th Street 2 is 35 minutes long, workout and cooldown included), so the torture moves along at quick pace and is finished before you know it.
   Like all Pure Barre DVDs, 16th Street: 2 is a workout comprised of small, intense movements that target the thighs, abs, butt and arms. The standing moves are done at a ballet barre, chair or window sill, while the ab exercises are done on the floor.
   Like 16th Street: 1, workout 2 uses an exercise tube joined at the middle in the shape of a figure eight, or you can use my substitution of an exercise band without handles tied into a circle at a point that provides a reasonable amount of resistance.
   16th Street: 2 is similar to 16th Street: 1 (Click for my review) in its moves, but it seems to be just a tad more challenging. For example, the thigh work in 16th Street: 1 includes a move where the band or tube is put under one foot and around the ankle of the other. The one with the tube around the ankle is raised forward off the floor, pointed, and then traces tiny circles with the big toe.
   In 16th Street: 2, the challenge is ramped up by the other foot being lifted off the floor onto the tippy-toes while the other foot is doing the tiny circles. It’s hard, and may even become bothersome to the foot that is raised. I put my foot down when it did.
   Another tough move in 16th Street: 2 is when the tube or band is placed under both feet. One foot is on the ground, the other is bent at a 90-degree angle to the floor and flexed. The bent foot presses back repeatedly against the band, creating a tough exercise for the hamstrings. Mine even felt like they were cramping at one point, so I just dropped the band when that happened and continued.
   As part of the seat work, a wacky and very tough move called the pretzel is put into play. Sitting on the ground, one leg is bent and put forward, and the other bent and put back, making the body naturally lean towards the leg that is forward. Raising the arms into the air with the band or tube in hand, the hip of the leg that is in the back is pushed forward in small repetitions. It's tough, so I either stuck with the most basic exercise shown, dropped my arms or leaned more to the side in order to complete the pretzel section.
   The ab work of 16th Street: 2 is a bit different than 1. In 1, much of the ab work was done by an exerciser putting the band under both feet, leaning back, pulling the band through the knees and doing very small crunch movements.
   In 2, the band is put around the thighs, just above the knees, then an exerciser leans back and does small crunching movements, often while pressing out the thighs against the band.
   Like 1, 16th Street: 2 provides a challenging, muscle-burning workout that goes after common problem areas like a thing possessed.
   My only wish is that a Pure Barre warm-up could actually feel like one.

Pure Barre - 16th Street: 2 at amazon.ca

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