Xtend Barre Lean & ChiseledAndrea Rogers
Year Released: 2011
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The previous three reviewers have done an excellent job at breaking down the workout and describing the exercises, so I won't do that all over again.
I just did the full workout today for the first time after having done the barre segment (from the Acacia site) a few times. It is surprisingly intense!
Here go my first impressions:
- The warm-up did a great job at warming up my muscles and getting my heartrate up. Nice flow and variety of exercises.
- I loved the arm work. I worked up a good burn using my 1.1 kg (2.4 lb) dumbells and, as others, was relieved when Andrea announced that the second part would be done without weights. I enjoyed the larger range of motion and the small pulses. Nice combination. She does work your triceps a lot, but it's nice to have the break between the controlled pulses with the dumbells and the tricep dips and pushups at the end.
- The barre work has just the right intensity, with a lot of changing sides, so I never feel like I'm overworking one side. I never felt the pain of the standing leg, but my thighs were worked to the point of shaking.
My only complaint is the pace of some exercises is too fast for me to keep up with and get the form right. This may improve with time, though. I hope it does!
- I enjoyed the ab work a lot. My abs were challenged just right, not to the point of feeling sick, and I really liked Andrea's unique twist to many exercises.
- The stretch segment is very enjoyable and includes more balance work.
I like the variety and the freshness of this workout. The music is ok, could be better, but it doesn't ruin the workout. It did seem a bit loud at times.
If you like ballet, barre and pilates, and are looking for a fresh combination of exercises from these disciplines, I think you will enjoy this workout.
Andrea rogers is new to me as an instructor and I have to say she is great. I love the way she moves from one exercise to the next and the creative twist she adds to many exercises. She is positive, cheerful, but not chatty or hyper, cues well, and is very pleasant. I enjoyed the absence of bikini talk (and other negative body part talk!).
This is a 55 minute ballet inspired workout done at a nice quick tempo. Andrea works out in a large open white room with 2 background exercises. Both backgrounders show modifications- advanced or beginner, with Andrea performing the intermediate level. You will need a chair (or ballet barre), and a light pair of dumbbells (1-3#'s).
The dvd is nicely chaptered- you can play all or select a section. Sections include: a 6 min warmup,11 min upper body, 23 min barre, 10 min core, and a 5 min cooldown Also included are: a tutorial, bonus clips, and more. The warmup is a nice active ballet style movements & the cooldown is a limber stretch segment. A lot of the moves hit the core (love it) and she includes plenty of balance work (need it!) making this a very well rounded workout.
Upper Body: Using 1-3 pound weights you perform standing ballet postures with: arm circles, arm crosses, pliet reach, etc. Then move to the floor for 1 legged tricep pushups, modified pushups, plank shifts, etc.
Barre: Using a chair or ballet barre you perform standing ballet moves such as: pliet heel lifts with an optional hop, pliets from 1st to 2nd position, front attitude, inner thigh sweep to wide pliet, C-curve closed leg squats w/ a heel lift, an active pliet series w/ an optional hop, ballet style lunge series, curtsy to leg extensions, glute raise series, outer thigh lifts. leg circles, etc.
Core: On the mat core focused work includes: ankles crossed leg drops, V-twists, scissor leg drops w/ a twist, oblique leg drops, extended leg situps, side planks, twisting teasers, etc.
I would rate this solid intermediate done following Andrea. Follow a mod and/or adjust your poundage to vary the intensity of your workout. Andrea provides excellent cuing & form pointers & obviously knows her stuff! I love that the pace of this workout- quick enough to get your heart pumping a bit but still controlled movements. I really like Andrea & look forward to more workouts from her. I like that while this is an elegant ballet style workout, its still a bit athletic and very flowing. If you liked Tracey Mallets- Booty Barre, you will also love this! Received to review.
This DVD is led by Andrea Rodgers, a Pilates instructor and founder of the Xtend program (www.xtendbarreworkout.com). In her Introduction to this DVD, Rodgers explains that she created this workout based on principles of Pilates and dance. She teaches live in a bright studio with two background exercisers, Sharon, who modifies many of the moves, and Kamil, who performs some more advanced versions, including ballet jumps. The only prop necessary for this work is a sturdy chair, although I also found it helpful to use a mat. (Note: Rodgers and crew are wearing socks with non-skid bottoms; I performed the workout barefoot on a mat.)
The Main Menu of the DVD offers the following options (I've added some times/descriptions in parentheses): Introduction (1m)--Tutorial (3.5m)--Workout Options--Bonus Features--Also from Acacia (trailers of 4 other Acacia DVDs)--Credits. In the Tutorial, Rodgers briefly reviews the ballet terms and corresponding exercises that are used in the workout; although I have had some experience with barre-type workouts, I still found this to be helpful. The Bonus Features include biographical information for Rodgers and then two short clips from other Acacia workouts, one from Shiva Rea's Creative Core Abs and one from Exhale: Thighs & Glutes (Parallel Thigh).
If you select Workout Options, you are taken to a submenu offering the following options: Play All (55m)--Warm-Up (6m)--Upper Body (11m)--Barre (23m)--Core (10m)--Cool-Down (5m). Unfortunately, the "Play All" option plays not just the workout segments but also the Introduction and Tutorial, although you can skip through these segments. I have broken down each section in greater detail below.
Rodgers moves FAST here and starts raising the heart rate immediately. Instead of just doing the traditional knees up/arms up that are the norm for many barre workouts, Rodgers does knee raises with balance holds all on one side before switching to the other and finally alternating knees. She also performs a rear curtsy squat, coming up into a knee lift (passe).
Rodgers suggests using between 1-3 lbs. for the arms work; I started with 3# but needed to drop down to 2# during the triceps work. The first half felt similar to the arms work in the Squeeze/Squeeze Stronger DVDs: Rodgers keeps things constantly moving, doing many repetitions but using small, precise movements. She suggests doing the next segment without weights, and I am glad she did. Here she incorporates some balance work with unweighted upper body moves for the shoulder similar to the arms work in Classical Stretch (or perhaps Tracy Anderson, although I haven't personally done any TA DVDs). Andrea concludes the arms segment on the floor, starting with some tricep dips (I don't like doing these, especially after the triceps were already fatigued--it felt like overkill), knee push-ups, and a brief plank position.
This segment uses a chair. Again, Rodgers keeps you moving the entire time, producing a strong cardio effect. For those familiar with Tracey Mallet's The Booty Barre, this section feels somewhat similar, as it is quick moving and even includes some kicks as Mallet does in her barre work. Rodgers begins with plies on the toes in parallel, first, and second positions, with the advanced modifier, Kamil, adding in some jumps. She has some large leg movements as well, with a a front attitude turning into a wide circle to the side. Standing sideways behind the chair, another large movement involves stepping into second, turning to face the chair, stepping back, and stepping into first to finish. This is followed by a split-leg lunge on the toes, and then there is a brief stretch (about 1.5m at the 11.5m mark). The second half of the barre work concentrates more on the side and rear glutes. Rodgers begins with side leg lifts; these are performed both pointing and flexing the leg. Next comes a curtsy lunge, first lifting up to a knee hold (passe), then to a leg kick. The final move involves standing glute pulses to the rear, and Rodgers concludes with a standing Figure 4 stretch for the hips/glutes.
I was a little disappointed to discover that the majority of this segment is based on traditional crunch-type moves (which I usually try to avoid due to possible strain to the low back); given Rodgers's background as a Pilates instructor, I had expected her to incorporate more Pilates-type work here. She starts with toe dips performed resting on elbows and then moves on to torso twists performed in a c-curve position. (Note: to protect my back, I did these and many of the exercises which follow with my small Pilates ball under my sacrum.) This is followed by a leg scissor move. Next, Rodgers does borrow from Pilates by doing a variation on the Pilates Roll-Up, although unfortunately, the pace is unnecessarily super-fast. However, I DID like the final few moves of this section, which are performed on the side. Rodgers performs a side leg lift, side plank, and side teaser; these exercises were fun, safe, and a great way to target the obliques. Rodgers concludes with a brief stretch.
Rodgers first performs some brief floor stretches; she finishes standing for some balance moves and additional standing stretches.
Overall, I really liked this workout. I was impressed that my heart rate stayed high throughout, and both the arms and the barre segments felt really effective. I was a little disappointed in the core work, but I liked the final part of it (that targeted the obliques), and I think that I can modify the rest (using my Pilates ball) to suit my needs.
I had no problems with Andrea's instruction, as she cued well (using mirrored cuing) and offered a lot of good form pointers throughout. She was also encouraging, saying things like "I know you're tired!"
Here is a break out of the DVD:
Warm Up (5:59):
This includes a mix of plie squats (legs hip distance apart), wide second position plies, and first position plies. The plies alternate with pointing the leg out to the side and leg lifts. This includes some plie squats with hands reaching overhead, alternating with lifting the knee forward and reaching the hands under the knee, and then doing leg lifts without the plie but still reaching hands under the knee. This was a nice variation on the traditional march used in many barre DVDs. She also has curtsy squats alternating with tendu and then with passé. There are a variety of hand movements throughout the sequence. The warm up had a nice pace to it – fast but not too fast. There is a modifier showing easier versions throughout.
Upper Body (11:14) (requires 1, 2, or 3 lb weights):
It wasn’t a particularly challenging workout but I liked how she took fairly traditional exercises and added ballet inspired twists to them – for example, circular movements with the arms or crossing the arms. She includes bicep and tricep work. She also had a couple variations reaching the arms overhead, including standing on the supporting leg in first position and doing a tendu to the back, side and front. The next segment is done without weights. She starts alternating second position plie with arabesque and then holds the arabesque doing various arm movements to challenge balance. She closes the segment with tricep dips, reverse plank, knee pushups, and plank. This segment was really fun and it felt really good (I had a kink under one shoulder blade prior to this segment that went away after.)
Barre (23:34) (need a chair for support):
o Parallel leg, first position, and wide second position plies – heels down alternating with toe raises, and then pulsing with toes raised
o Alternating between first and second position plie (modifier does these with a jump)
o Front attitude with pulses
o Second position plie alternating with circling the leg to the front
o Parallel leg plie pulses on toes (releve), then repeated with upper body in a c-curve
o Second position plie alternating with rotating to the side and first position plie (the modifier adds jumps to this)
o lunges on toes
o holding high lunge with circular upper body movement, arms reached overhead
o standing quadriceps stretch
o Standing glute work with variety of leg pulses to the side
o Curtsy alternating with passé, and then leg extension. She repeats these taking your hand off the chair to challenge your balance
o Standing glute work pulsing leg to the back. There is an option to remove one hand off the chair to work balance, and then finally holding the back leg extension with both arms off the chair
o Figure-4 standing stretch
o Various leg movements with upper body resting on elbows
o High c-curve, one leg raised and extended, rotating to the side
o Lower to mat, legs extended long – curling and twisting the upper body while raising the opposite leg
o Crunch with twist while doing scissor switch with legs
o Roll up with arm movement
o Side lying leg lift, upper body resting on elbow
o Side forearm plank
o Twisting pilates teaser
Cool Down (5:17):
Includes seated stretch variations. From standing there are arabesque variations to challenge the balance. She then does standing stretches for the spine, rolling forward, extending back, and then to the side. The sequence closes with a brief releve.
I loved this very fun workout. The exercises are more dance inspired as opposed to lotte berk inspired barre. The pace was nice – mild cardio. It is fast paced, but not as frantic as P57 so easy to keep up with her. This DVD is quite a bit different than my other barre DVDs – Tracey Mallett’s Booty Barre is probably the closest comparison. I liked the balance work she included in various sections.
The only complaint I had was that the Play All option under Workout Options played the disclaimer, the Acacia page, her introduction, and the tutorial. It was easy enough to chapter skip but would have been nice if they had an option for Play all Without Introduction as they do on some of the Core Fusion DVDs.