Bar Method: Change Your BodyBurr Leonard
Year Released: 2008
Categories: Athletic Stretch , Ballet/Barre, Lower Body Strength , Strength Training (Total Body) , Upper Body Strength
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This is an excellent bar workout, and targets the arms, chest, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and abs. I do not work up a sweat when I do this workout, and the exercises are not killer while doing them, but the next day, I always get DOMS. I normally work out with heavy weights, and usually use Cathe for strength, so it was a surprise for me to feel the DOMS from Bar Method: Change Your Body.
The workout begins with lifting bent knees to the front, similar to the Lotte Berk or Physique 57 workouts, and moves into a few upper body exercises, for shoulders, biceps, triceps and chest. Even though the dumbbells are light for these exercises, the way that your arms are angled and the way that you use small pulses, work deep into the muscles. There are some push-ups, but with variations, such as holding still in a lowered position.
The exercises at the bar are varied, and work the legs well. There are variations of squats with toes lifted, with small pulsing moves and these definitely fatigue the quads. There are some leg lifts to the front and back. There are stretches in between exercises.
The abs work consists of some planks, and some exercises which require deep contraction of the muscles, and small pulses while in the contraction. If done correctly, these exercises work well to strengthen and flatten the abs.
I have a lot of bar style workouts, and this workout has become my new favorite. I like that it is under an hour in length. If done 2 or 3 times per week, I believe that this workout would be effective in shaping and toning the legs, abs and arms.
Burr Leonard has a lovely, calm, upbeat personality. She is inspiring because she obviously practices what she preaches, and has an amazingly fit body at a mature age. Her voice is very nice, and her instruction is clear.
This workout has been very thoroughly broken-down and reviewed, so I'm just giving my impressions. I've had this workout for 10 months and did it very regularly for 4. During those 4 months I alternated it with riding my recumbent bike and lost 20 pounds.
This workout starts with a brief warm up followed by upper body work. Dumbbell work for biceps and triceps, pushups and triceps dips--this workout *feels* easy when you are doing it, but it gives me triceps DOMS (soreness) for several days! Every time. Something Burr Leonard does is very effective!
The lower body work is easy to understand (I have an easier time with form in this, than in the Accelerated workout). I enjoy the chance to stop and stretch (and I even pause and stretch for longer, especially after the pretzel segment).
The ab work is challenging...if you are focused on form. I really have to concentrate and listen to Burr's directions so that I am engaging my core correctly. If not, I feel nothing and it's a waste of my time.
The stretch segment at the end is great. I love the use of the strap. Overall, this is my favorite barre dvd.
Burr is very articulate and precise in her instructions. She's not a party-in-a-box or particularly high energy, but I like her approach and detailed explanations.
This is a 50-minute total body “barre” (Lotte Berk style) workout.
The workout is led by Burr Leonard. Burr, a former journalist, studied the Lotte Berk method and during the 1990s operated several Lotte Berk studios. Burr says she consulted with physical therapists and physiologists in refining her version of these exercises before founding The Bar Method in 2000. Go to her website, www.barmethod.com for more information about Burr and The Bar Method (and check out the cute picture of Lotte Berk and Burr from 1991!).
In Change Your Body, Burr is joined by background exercisers Catherine, Jane and Jen, who are Bar Method teachers and studio franchise owners. Jen also demonstrates modifications. Burr and Catherine use a portable barre, while Jane and Jen use a chair. In this workout the barre/chair is used mainly for balance. Besides a chair or barre, you will want a mat for floor work, a strap for leg stretches, and a set of light dumbbells (2-4 lbs.). Jen uses a pillow to help modify the moves in the abs segment.
The set is bright and pleasant. Music is typical exercise stuff which mainly keeps a beat (although the Back Dancing tune was fun!). Burr instructs live, and she mirror-cues. There is less set-up time than in Burr’s earlier DVDs from 2003 (Designer Sculpting and Fat Free) and Burr presents in a more relaxed, less-scripted manner. However, the quality of her instruction remains superb (and in this type of exercise, technique is everything!). Burr stretches at the end of each section (some barre workouts skimp on this).
The DVD is chaptered as follows:
Warm-Up and Upper Body (11 minutes): After warming up with a short set of knee raises, the upper body is worked with alternating front straight arm raises, pulsing and full range biceps curls, straight arm triceps extensions, push-ups, and triceps dips (Jen demonstrates French press as an alternative). This section will look very familiar if you have done other LB-style workouts.
Thigh Work (8:30 minutes): Heel lifts with feet in various positions, pulsing thigh work (which also includes holds and tucks).
Glutes and Hamstrings (9 minutes): Pretzel (for the first side, Jane demonstrates the moves while Burr instructs on proper technique), followed by fold-over seat work (rear leg lifts).
Abs and Stamina (13:45 minutes): This section begins with standing front leg raises, followed by plie heel lifts and tucks. We then move to the mat for stretching, followed by forearm plank and a seated spinal twist. Next is C-curve style ab work, which I personally find difficult, but the way Burr teaches this section (along with Jen’s modifications) make this part doable for me and will hopefully help me build up strength to do more advanced C-curve work.
Back Dancing and Cool-Down (3 minutes): A series of tiny seat tucks done while lying on the floor.
Final Stretch (4:20 minutes)
When Collage sold this workout (they no longer do) they rated Change Your Body and its companion, Accelerated Workout, as intermediate/advanced. I would agree these are certainly not appropriate videos for someone who has never worked out before. However, for an experienced exerciser who wants to try out barre-style workouts, these DVDs are excellent choices given Burr’s top-notch instruction and more moderate pace (some barre workouts out there, like Cardio Barre and P57, move much more quickly).
As best I know, as of the date of this review Change Your Body and Accelerated Workout are available only through The Bar Method (either the website or at the studios). Do you need both? I would say yes, since they do have different exercises (and Accelerated Workout is considered slightly more advanced). Do you need this set if you already own Designer Sculpting and Fat Free? Again, I would say yes, because although there are similarities between the two sets there are also enough differences that a barre aficionado will enjoy owning all four.
Bottom line: I love Change Your Body, and I know many other VFers do also based on General Discussion threads. I was therefore quite surprised to find no one had yet submitted a VF review of CYB. So here you go! Like many others, I’ve found my body responds very well to the isometric work of Lotte Berk/barre, and is surprisingly kind to my fussy knees. Of all the DVDs in my barre collection it is Burr’s workouts I reach for most often.
Burr Leonard has been doing Lotte Berk/barre workouts for decades, and is her own best advertisement for The Bar Method. Now over 60 (she was born in 1947) she is lean and strong, and appears at least 15 years younger. Her presentation feels less scripted than in her earlier set of DVDs, but IMHO she is still the best Lotte Berk/barre instructor out there.