Core Barre

Monica Hoekstra
Year Released: 2012

Categories: Balance/Medicine/Mini/Stability Ball, Ballet/Barre

I’ve been shifting my fitness focus to “kinder, gentler” workouts, so it was with a great deal of excitement that I tried Core Barre. The warm-up begins with alternating high knees and opposite arms, then weight shifts from side to side with a step-tap. Then we pick up toning balls for bicep curls, chest presses, and lateral pull-downs. After the warm-up, we do stationery lunge stretches and overhead arm stretches. A good beginning.

The music and the instructor were both quiet and gentle, the studio was bright, and some of the comments made me laugh out loud (unintentionally!) When she said “Keep your head on top of your shoulders”, I laughed and thanked her, because I was getting ready to set it down on the floor, LOL! (JK!). One thing that bugged me is that she didn’t mirror cue. Also, the workout is not chaptered (which I learned the hard way); you just hit play workout and go through the entire thing. I didn’t like that, either.

Next up is the “barre series” – stand in first position with a playground ball between our thighs and one hand on the barre/chair, we do several plies (which I felt in my calves) and tucks (which I felt in my abs!) Moving to the other side, other hand on barre, we change to second position plies, then we do standing stretches. I liked doing a different exercise on the other side of the barre; it was still balanced as both legs worked on both sides of the barre. The “glute series” was next: standing with one knee bent, foot pointed to back wall, we do donkey kicks, heel presses, and hip extenders; then we stretch and move to the other side. Next are rear leg lifts, front leg lifts, then a series of plies in 1st and 2nd positions, both with and without releves. The last move was a fifth-position leg lift, which felt weird to me. This was followed by a nice stretch. I really liked how we stretched as we went along; I needed it!

At the 30-minute mark, we move to the floor for the “mat series”. It was here that I got called away for a moment and turned off the DVD. When I came back, I discovered the DVD was not chaptered, and I had to fast-forward all the way to where I was. I don’t know why she didn’t chapter the DVD; it would have been so easy (because she does “fade out” in between “series.”) I think it’s inexcusable not to chapter a workout like this, especially with the technology available. Anyway, the mat series consists of push-ups, tricep dips, planks, cobra, down-dog, and side planks. The “ab series” on the mat uses the playground ball, and the movements are “C-curve” sit-ups, seated crunches, rotations, and seated bicep curls with the toning balls. Then we move to the prone position, where we do crunches with our arms extended gracefully outward, oblique twists, and plies to the ceiling (aka “froggers.”) Flip on our sides for inner and outer thigh work, then onto our stomachs for the “back extension series” – slow, then fast swimming movements. Finally, another very nice stretch.

I really enjoyed this workout!! It was gentle, yet very effective. I wish she would have mirrored-cued, but I can get over that. I wish she would have chaptered the workout; I find that harder to get over.

Debbie J