Low Impact Series: Turbo Barre

Cathe Friedrich
Year Released: 2011

Categories: Ballet/Barre

This is Cathe's foray into the barre trend and part of the Low Impact Series. As filmed it's a long workout at 74 minutes, but it is well chaptered and there are many premixes to make it shorter. Cathe and her four backgrounders - Jai, Amanda, Brenda and Lorraine - are in the well-lit and spacious fake-window gym setting with the Turbo Tower, light dumbbells (they use 5#) and a light-tension firewalker band as the only equipment. You can use a chair if you don't have the Tower. This workout is done barefoot. The music is the forgettable background stuff, not offensive but not at all memorable.

This is an athletic barre workout, not flowy or dancey at all. Cathe's cues are her usual athletic ones ("dig deeper! Whattaya got!") which would be jarringly out of place in a ballet studio but fit the flavor of this workout. The majority of the workout - 55 minutes - is standing work. The warmup is Cathe's usual dynamic one, with moves like toe taps leading to tap and reach, side to side, heels forward, knees up, etc. Then comes an upper-body section with light weights and very high reps. There are curls, hammer curls, overhead press, triceps kickbacks and lateral raises with basic lower body movements to increase the heart rate. This section reminded me of the upper-body work in Firm Volume 5; put in to be able to call the workout "total body" but without enough variety or work to make it a significant upper-body workout.

Following are two leg conditioning sections using the Tower, one with no equipment and one with the firewalker band. Lots of plies with differing foot placements, and lots of leg lifts in all directions, plus pulses and halfway-ups (or downs) to burn the hips, thighs, hamstrings and glutes. Going at Cathe's pace with no rests, these two sections are tough.

The final sections are on the floor with the band: some token upper body work with pushups and a super-awkward triceps dip move on the floor, then a solid core/abs section with some unique moves. A very good lower-body stretch completes the workout.

I'm not a ballet-workout fan and found myself liking this athletic barre routine. Cathe does not give nearly as many form pointers as the experienced barre instructors would; she reminds you to keep your back upright and that's about it. Dancers and barre enthusiasts might have issues with that, but I felt the cues and pointers were well tailored to the kind of workout Cathe designed.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe is her usual self: professional, energetic, strong. She demonstrates good form but offers only basic form pointers. Cueing is clear.