Ballet BodyJennifer Galardi
Year Released: 2009
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I'm reviewing this workout after doing it several times, both as a whole, and segments of it. It works very well both ways.
The subtitle of this workouts is "5 feel-good wrokouts!", and it claims to deliver a long, lean dancer's body.
I would say the subtitle is very apt as this workout really does make you feel good during and after. I can't say for sure that doing it consistently would get you a lean, dancer's body because while the exercises do feel effective, they don't really work any muscle group to fatigue (which I expect is involved in those long, lean bodies)
To the workout:
The DVD offers two options: play all, and select your workout. There is not the option of costumising your own workout.
Each segment works well as a stand-alone, or as an add-on, although I would recommend warming up before diving into any of the other four segments (especially the stretch!) and stretching after the warm-up, strength or floor barre. The balance chapter includes nice stretches that could be sufficient.
Warm-up: as the previous reviewer said, this could be used as a short 12 minute workout. This segment includes both dynamic and static stretches as well as a nice plie sequence at the end. It flows really well and works to warm-up the muscles and loosen the body. I like the controlled, sweeping moves and the final plie section warms up the legs very well.
Strength: This 13 minute segment begins with demi-plies, demi-point (I think!) and grand plies in first position. Then you move on to standing ab work with exercises that I find very helpful for learning to hold my belly in while standing. The exercises incorporate flowing arm movements that make you feel like you are dancing and add not only grace but also some intensity to the exercises. The curtsy section really challenges your balance. The arm section is short, but you work your arms a lot during the balance segment, so I feel my upper body is worked well when I'm done.
Balance: These 13 minutes begin with rondejons with your toe on the ground, followed by arabesques with glute lifts and attitude lifts. You do all exercises on one side and move on to the other side. Jennifer and her background exercises don't use a chair, but Jennifer encourages you to use one if you need it for balance. After the standing exercises you move down to your mat for a plank, up-dog, down-dog series that then incorporates pushups and down-dog crunches where you extend one leg and pull it in to your chest to work the abs. After that you do tricep pushups and back extensions both lying flat on the mat and on all fours extending one leg and the opposite arm. I find this segment particularly hard on my wrists when they are having a bad day. The section ends in child's pose.
Floor barre: 11 minutes long, it's the shortest segment of the workout. All the exercises are performed on the mat and feel more like Pilates than ballet. You start out with ab exercises, add some leg exercises with V-sits and ballet criss-cross that ends with open legs and a situp. Then you move on to your side for developes, kicks, oblique crunches lifting your legs,classic inner thigh squeezes and clams with a hold at the end.
Stretch: The workout ends with 13 minutes of stretches done on the mat. I really enjoy this segment because Jennifer leads you into each stretch with proper form so you get the most out of it, and then she is in no rush to move to the next one. Her calm demeanor, reminding you to breathe, not to count and not look up encourages relaxation and just concentrating on how the stretch feels. I love it! Sometimes I will do this stretch in the evening after a stressful day (after the warm-up or some dance cardio!)
I really like this workout. It is a current favorite and almost like a "treat" after a week of more strenuous workouts. I feel well worked but not exhausted and it has a relaxing effect too. I think the intensity and style is comparable to Ellen Barret's Fat Burning Fusion, which I also like and use similarly, but Ballet Body has more floor work and a much better stretch segment, while FBF is more aerobic.
Jennifer Galardi is a joy to workout with. She cues well, for the most (I had to look up at the screen a few times to see what she meant), and she is very encouraging without being hyper or fake. She gives very good form pointers and knows how to stretch you out well after a workout.
This dvd has 5 seperate segments that you can do individually or string together (play all). The total w/o time is just over 60 minutes including warmup and stretch. Jennifer works out in a nice open set w/ hardwood floors and pinkish windows in the background. There are 2 background exercisers-one shows beginner modifications. You will need one set of light/medium dumbbells for some of the sections. She recommends not wearing shoes-so I didnt! Love that. The music varies from upbeat classical to almost African sounding-it was all appropriate for each section and I really liked it.
Warmup: This is a very active, fluid warmup that gets the blood flowing nicely. It includes a solid pliet series and also works the arms because you are holding them out ballet style. You get some nice flowing stretching here as well. You could do this section on its own as a light w/o IMO.
Strength: You start with a close stance pliets, pliets variations & relevettes. Then she moves into some standing ab work that I really enjoyed-it was very different than what Im used to! Felt very effective! She does standing ab scoops, side bends, and portibra all with a ballet flair-very active and fluid. She moves into a tough curtsey dip with oblique squeeze sequence that I particularly enjoyed! Then she grabs her dumbbells for rotator cuffs work, V raises, bicep curl variations, and a behind the back tricep squeeze.
Balance: She starts the standing leg work with a mini rondejon with a glute sqeeze and moves into what, to me, felt like standing table work. From there you move into a plank-tri push-up-down dog series and finished with some tricep pushups that really fried my triceps. This section closes with some unique table work.
Floor Barre: You start with some lower body work done on the floor and move into a rollup (V sit) core exercise, leg raises, and rolling into a ball. My arms were also being worked in a lot of these moves (in this and other sections as well) because you are holding them out. You do some lying inner and outer thigh ballet type moves and finish with some killer standing leg lifts.
Stretch: The stretch was very nice and welcome! It was done lying and was definately dance inspired.
I would rate this an intermediate workout but I am no expert on ballet or barre. Collage rates it intermediate/ advanced. It was an awesome change of pace from my normal workouts and we all know variety is not only the spice of life-but our bodies NEED it to progress. I just adore Jen as a lead and I really enjoyed this workout. It didnt make me want to die but definately felt effective.