Ballet Body series Workout DVDs
Here’s another workout DVD review that could be added to the “videos that sort-of make me think I’m going to die, yet I love them” list.
Leah Sarago’s three-part Ballet Body series incorporates elements of ballet, Pilates, yoga, and athletic moves. As always, you need to think about proper pelvic and spinal alignment while doing the exercises, but she’s pretty good at cuing correct positioning. The videos, aside from tremendous strength-building, incorporate a lot of flexibility and balance work. I put these in when I want to work really hard but don’t want the extreme cardio of Brooklyn Bridge or one of my kickboxing DVDs. She does not include a warm-up at all, so you want to make sure to warm up your muscles before starting these. I often first put in one of Sara Ivanhoe’s 20 Minute Yoga Makeover DVDs because they work very well as a warm-up for any other workout (the Library has 4 of the 5 DVDs in the set). I also have a fluffy, folded towel ready in addition to my yoga mats for all the times you are working on your knees (mainly just the Upper Body and Core videos).
Upper Body: Ultra Sleek Definition (45 min) – Seriously, I don’t even try to do the first two minutes of this video: you are in sloped, plank positions, braced on your forearms; it hurts my elbow bones way too much. The rest of the video is a very difficult yet doable workout. Even though it is for the upper body, it incorporates full body movements (as do the rest in this series) and requires a lot of balance. (preview)
Core: Ultimate Tummy Tightener (45 min) – I highly recommend this one; it is very effective. You are also presented with a ton of new moves, rather than the same-old stuff you usually get for abdominal exercises. This DVD really is 45 minutes of pain. (preview)
Lower Body: Extreme Elongation (54 min) – I really do love this one, too. While I can do the whole thing without wimping out or stopping, there is still a lot of room for improvement: as your strength and flexibility increase, you will be able to lift your legs higher and dip deeper into lunges and pliés. The DVD calls for a ballet bar or strong high-backed chair. I use a chair and then sometimes even put a strangle-hold on one of the support beams in my basement for some of the exercises. (preview)
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