Physique 57: Thigh and Seat Booster

Shelly Knight
Year Released: 2010

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

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Title: Physique 57: Thigh and Seat Booster
Instructor: Shelly Knight
Time: 30 Minutes
Level of Difficulty: High Intermediate
DVD menu: Play workout
Production quality: high
Equipment used: playground ball, barre or chair

This workout is part of the second 3-DVD trio of Physique 57 (P57) workout DVDs. The workout has already been broken down so I will just give my impressions.

I have all the P57 workouts, and this one is my favorite of the four 30-minute workouts. I feel it is more focused, and I just enjoy the exercises, more than the Express, Advanced Express, or Arm/ab booster. Like all P57 workouts, this is a really high energy, fun workout! It is definitely one of the more energetic workouts in the barre genre (I have and use a lot of barre workouts including Ballet Body, Ballet Physique, Pure Barre, etc.) The exercises are synched very closely to the music, which is very fun and up-beat. The DVDs aren’t especially cheap, but I think they are well worth the money.

This one had a couple of sets of pushups but in general kept to the lower body. First working the hamstring and glutes with a lunge sequence, more the front of the thigh with a brief thigh dancing and front leg extensions, and a tough glute segment using the playground ball and just the barre. This is a great workout when I’m short on time, or when I want to pair it with non-barre style upper body/ab work and/or cardio, like I did today. When I really put my energy into it, I can get some leg shaking going on (the marker for a good barre workout, for me). There is a “thigh blast” between the glute work (before you switch sides) that is non-stop and very fun and intense.

In comparison to other barre workouts, P57 really stands out with the awesome music. There is also just so much energy – a lot of barre workouts are quiet and relaxed, finding strength in being mostly still and stable and pumping out tiny pulses. Shelly is more low key than Tanya which I think is a big plus. Like with any barre workouts, the workout can easily be made harder (or easier) with how deep you go into each movement, how high you hold your leg, etc. I find that I get a really good challenge with this and would consider it high intermediate for a barre workout. I definitely feel like the energy stays high and you will feel worked out in a short time. I would recommend P57 to any barre enthusiast, or someone interested in barre but who thinks most barre workouts look to boring. Out of the P57 workouts exclusively, I would recommend the two 57 minute workouts (for their comprehensiveness) and this for the fun and focused lower body toning.

Instructor Comments:
I recognize Shelly as a backgrounder in some of the P57 workouts (she also leads the arm and ab booster). As I mentioned she is lower key than Tanya, who is extremely chatty and drills in about the aesthetic results. I prefer Shelly who was encouraging without being overly chatty.

Emily B.


I enjoy including some barre workouts as part of my strength training. I particularly like Sadie Lincoln's Barre3 method (e.g., Element: Barre Conditioning and The Barre Method Workouts (currently using Bar Method Super Sculpting Workout 1 and The Bar Method Super Sculpting II Workout).

This DVD was the first I've tried from the Physique 57 series. I had been intrigued about it for some time, as I had heard that the workout particularly focused on the glutes and hamstrings; this was appealing to me, as many barre routines tend to overwork the fronts of the thighs. The Main Menu for this DVD offers options for Introduction - Main Program - About Physique 57 (3m) - Client Testimonials (2m; also plays while the DVD is loading). In the 4.5-minute intro, P57 founder Tanya Becker talks about how her method is based on "interval overload" and includes isometric work. She recommends going P57 workouts for 3-4 hours per week, either the longer 57-minute workouts or the shorter 30-minute routines like this one. At the end of the intro, Shelly Knight, the instructor for this workout, demos a few of the moves included in the routine.

For the main workout, Knight is featured in a studio with approximately 6 background exercisers. The two closest to her, Sherry and Lauren, area also P57 instructors; Sherry shows easier modifications, whereas Lauren shows more advanced versions. Without further warning, the music starts right up (loud, fast-paced, and vocal), and Knight jumps right into the workout. Sometimes she is performing the exercises, sometimes she is instructing only. I have further broken down the routine below.

WARM-UP (2 minutes)
This consists of standard high knee marches generally seen in barre work, with some twists added in. There is a super-quick (and rather awkward, IMO) transition down to the floor for a brief set of push-ups and then plank work performed on one side of the body only.

LUNGE WORK (8 minutes)
Knight leads you through an awkward transition to a lunge position (it would have been much easier for her to just to say "come to a lunge"). From there you'll perform pulsing lunges, pulsing curtsy lunges, rear leg lifts, and front leg extensions, all on the same side. Then you transition back to the floor to repeat the push-up series on the second side, and following this, you repeat the lunge series on the second side as well.

Next is an approximately 2.5-minute segment consisting of standing wide-legged plies, adding in variations such as lifting the heels. Knight then lead the group to their knees for a thigh dancing segment that is short (about 2 minutes) but intense.

Using a ballet barre (or sturdy chair), you'll focus even more on the glutes. You'll start by using a playground ball (a squishy or Pilates ball also works) behind one leg for rear and side leg lifts. Knight then has you take the ball away to continue working that same leg through various lifts and move called the "twizzler," a pulsing move where the leg is first crossed over top of the bottom leg (as in Eagle pose in yoga), then lifted up and behind to the rear. Before switching to the other side, you'll do a unique sequence of plies, including with the knees together and again adding in variations such as alternating heel lifts.

STRETCH (1.5 minutes)
A super-fast stretch segment concludes the routine; all of the stretches are held for <10 seconds, so this section didn't feel particularly relaxing or beneficial to me. The stretches include standing Figure 4 stretch, standing quad stretch, and standing hamstring stretch.

After my long wait to try this workout, I was disappointed. The loud music felt jarring to me, not energetic, and while the moves were fast-paced, they didn't serve to boost my heart rate at all. Given this, the total effect was a routine that simply felt frenetic and disorganized. I particularly did not like that Knight spends so much time on one side before finally switching back to the other. Also, she does not mirror cue, which is not usually a problem for me, but which I think she actually made MORE confusing by her style of cuing out every transition (she could have easily cued front-back leg rather than right-left to simplify matters). Because of all of the above factors, I did not even feel like I got a particularly good workout from this routine.

Obviously, people love the Physique 57 method, and their DVDs are highly rated by others. Even as an high intermediate exerciser, however, I found that this style was not for me.

Instructor Comments:
I found Shelly to be just okay as an instructor. Some people have complained about her voice; it is a bit gravelly, but that didn't really bother me. What DID bother me (as noted above) was her lack of mirrored cuing combined with her somewhat forced transitions between the moves.

Beth C (aka toaster)


Here is a breakdown of the DVD:

o Warmup (2 min): Barre-style march followed by some quick upper body work: 8 pushups, then hold in plank pulsing the right leg, then tuck the right leg to the chest and extend back.
o Thighs (8+ min): Lunge variations, curtsy, warrior 3 with leg variations, front leg extensions. Repeat pushup routine, this time pulsing and tucking the left leg. Repeat lunges, curtsy, warrior 3, and leg extensions on other side.
o Thigh – Wide Leg Plie variations (2+ min): Several variations to work the thighs and glutes
o Thigh Dancing (<1.5 min)
o Glutes (5 min.): Standing glute work, right side. You use the ball in back of the knee for the first part.
o More plies (4+ min): Includes several plie variations that were not on the other DVDs, and really worked the thighs and glutes.
o Glutes (5 min), repeat earlier segment on second side
o Standing Stretches
I was pleasantly surprised about the little bit of upper body work on this DVD. I really liked this DVD, and it gave a great thigh and butt workout!!



General Description: This is short but intense barre workout that mainly focuses on the lower body. After a brief warm-up, there's some balance work done on each leg with the non-standing leg either extended backward or forward. It also includes a few push-ups and plank variations where you move one leg. Thigh work included knee dancing and some standing work that included a plie variation that wasn't in the other P57 workouts. Seat work included some work with ball held by one leg (similar to a move in P57: Advanced Express) and some other moves that didn't use the ball.

Overall Impressions: I enjoyed this one and thought it was a nice blend of traditional and non-traditional moves for a barre workout. However, I felt that it worked the glutes a bit more than the thighs.

Instructor Comments:
I thought Shelly did a good job on this one and seemed more at ease overall than in P57: Arms and Abs Booster.