So I know I haven’t posted in a looong time, but a got this spiffy little quick post widget for my phone, so putting in a blog post is about as easy as updating my Facebook status. So we shall see how often I post now…
So today… I’m talking about Pure Barre. Its a workout that’s basically a fusion of yoga, pilates, and dancer’s stretches and exercises. I’d heard about it several times and decided to get online to check it out. I was pretty surprised when I watched some sample videos because during most of the exercises, the movements are so small that you can barely tell they’re moving at all.
I couldn’t imagine that an exercise where the movements are so minute could be particularly effective, so I started reading reviews for the method itself and the Pure Barre home workout dvds. From everything I read, this seems to be a pretty solid, effective method for toning muscles to give you that lean, dancer’s body. I did read a few reviews written by actual dancers or people who were very familiar with this style of workout that seemed to indicate that Pure Barre wasn’t as challenging as some other barre method workouts. However, there were also a lot of reviews stating that for someone who has no experience with this method, it may be difficult. I figured that for me, this would probably be just the right balance between challenge and attainability.
So I went online to the Pure Barre website and ordered some dvds and equipment.
I purchased the collector’s edition that came with this equipment and 8 dvds. I also purchased the prenatal dvds.
A review of the equipment: the Pure Barre ball (which I haven’t inflated yet!), the 3 lb weighted sand ball, the double resistance band, and the resistance ring. They also use an exercise mat in the videos, which are available on the site, but I have my own yoga mat already. In every video (that I’ve seen so far, anyways) there is a section of the workout which utilizes a stable surface. In Pure Barre studios, they have actual ballet barres. They also sell wall mounted and door mounted barres on their site, but I have a kitchen table, and that’s good enough for me!
As far as the dvds go: there are two dvds for each location that they filmed at.
I have yet to make it to any of the “2″ dvds, but apparently the premise is that the second disc is a little more challenging than the first. The workout for each location focuses on a different area of your body, though it seems as though they all have sections for abs, upper body, thighs and seat. Each set of dvds also uses different equipment. I like having all of the videos because it makes the workout for each day different… its filmed in a different studio, there are different “backup workout partners”, and it uses different equipment. Keeping things new every day makes the workouts stay interesting and makes me want to do them.
Now the important part: video content. Some of the reviews had complained about low production quality, and while these aren’t the highest quality recordings I’ve ever seen, the quality is not bad enough that it effects the content at all. The music isn’t what I necessarily would have chosen myself, but I like that its upbeat and there are no lyrics. It definitely helps you stay motivated and focused on what the instructor is saying.
Carrie Rezabek Dorr is the instructor, and also the creator and CEO of Pure Barre. I really like that she’s a no-nonsense, get down to business kind of girl. Once you hit play, there isn’t all kinds of excessive chatter- you just get right into the workout. She is very clear and encouraging in her direction. She lets you know how long you have left of each exercise, which really helps you to push through to the end. She does have a bit of a bouncy, bubbly air about her, but I find that endearing.
The workout itself was quite a bit more challenging than I had anticipated. Each exercise focuses on a very specific body part, and the movements tend to be very small. At first I didn’t think that such small movements could really give you a workout, but my mind changed during the first section of the first dvd I used. Within 10 minutes I was feeling the burn. For that first day, I had to slightly modify several workouts because my muscles were shaking and threatening to give out. I have had to continue to modify all of the ab workouts due to my pregnancy, but I find if I use a small inflatable ball under my lower back for support, I can still keep up with the dvd.
I had mentioned that there are several sections of the workout, each focusing on a different body part. Because we’re going for a toned, lean look rather than bulk, there is a warm up stretch, a cool down stretch, and a targeted stretch after each section. I personally don’t feel as though the stretching part lasts as long as I would like, but this could be due to my current lack of flexibility and some back and hip problems that I have. To solve this problem, I do a 10 minute yoga warm up before I start the Pure Barre dvd, and a 10-15 minute yoga cool down stretch after the dvd. I find that this extra, slow paced stretching really helps loosen up the tension in my muscles. Like I said, I just finished day 3, and from the muscle fatigue I was experiencing DURING the workout, I would have guessed that I was going to be INCREDIBLY sore the next morning. However, I believe due to the extra stretching, I’m feeling great! I have just enough soreness in my muscles to let me know that the exercises are effective, but not enough to discourage me from doing a workout the next day. According to Carrie, you need to do a session 2-3 times a week, and you’ll notice changes in your body within 10 sessions. So far, I have done one session a day (for the last 3 days), and I’m planning to continue doing one session a day. I find that the hour of exercises (10 minutes of yoga, 40 minutes of Pure Barre, 10 minutes of yoga) is just the right amount for me. However, I may end up doing this yoga/Pure Barre routine every other day, and supplementing with yoga or pilates for the other days.
The only other thing I can think to talk about would be the dvd features. There is a menu option that walks you through proper body positioning for each exercise, which is very helpful for a first timer. I aslo really like that you have the option to play through the entire workout from start to finish, or you can select specific sections to play. This will especially come in handy later in my pregnancy when I may have to skip out on the abs section entirely.
In an overall assessment of the technique, the dvd production, equipment, instructor, and value, I’m definitely happy with my purchase. First of all, there are no Pure Barre studios in my state at all, so that alone eliminates studio classes as a possibility for me. Even if there WAS a studio near me, I would pay the same amount for 10 classes (to START seeing results) as I did to OWN 10 dvds and the 4 recommended pieces of equipment. I think that alone makes the purchase worth it. So far, I’m finding the exercises doable, yet challenging enough to keep my muscles working. And with 10 dvds to choose from, I won’t be getting bored any time soon!
I do want to mention that all of these thoughts and opinions are my own, the purchase was my own, and I haven’t been endorsed or supported by anyone encouraging a positive review. I gave a positive review simply because I am very happy with my purchase, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.
I’ll have to check back in a few weeks to update on my progress!