The Lotte Berke Method is a non-traditional type of toning developed by a dancer of the same name. It focuses on the creation of long, lean (not bulky) muscles through the use of small, precise movements, and it has inspired similar methods such as Callanetics. A hallmark of this method is that stretching is included throughout the workout rather than just the at the beginning and the end; the emphasis is on shaping muscles through both strength AND stretch.
In BASIC ESSENTIALS, the focus is on whole-body toning. The workout begins with a warm-up common to all 4 Lotte Berk videos: a type of high-legged marching in place followed by simple stretches. Then it's on to the floor to work the arms via several sets of Lotte Berk push-ups--they're tougher than they look! Standing work with a ballet barre (a high backed chair or even a wall can be substituted) comes next. You start with ballet-type squats done utilizing the "Lotte Berk tuck" position and the move on to leg kicks for the buttocks. These are tiny movements that only LOOK easy; they really target the thighs and glutes. Following this, it's back to the floor for abs work. This is the one part of the video that I found to be a bit disappointing; although the moves were definitely challenging, I felt it in my back more than in my abdominal area. The workout ends with the Lotte Berk "knee dancing" move that is pictured on the cover of the video--a signature move which provides further thigh work--as well as a "shape by stretch" section.
The Lotte Berk Method is great for all exercisers who are looking for a different but challenging strength workout, including those at a beginning level, and this tape would be particularly helpful for those looking to tone up the stubborn areas of the lower body.
BASIC ESSENTIALS is led by three Lotte Berk certified instructors. The main instructor, Stephanie, comes off a little condescending in her comments (eg, repeatedly saying things like "where did you feel that?"), but she provides good cuing during the workout. The remaining two instructors do not speak, but one shows modifications.
Beth (aka toaster)
December 15, 2003