Bar Method Super SculptingBurr Leonard
Year Released: 2011
Categories: Balance/Medicine/Mini/Stability Ball, Ballet/Barre
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This is a one hour, total body “barre” (Lotte Berk style) workout. The DVD also includes an instructional segment. Both are led by Bar Method creator Burr Leonard.
Note: Sometimes at VF this DVD is referred to as “Super Sculpting I” in order to differentiate it from Super Sculpting II, a separate Bar Method DVD. However, it is officially titled "Super Sculpting."
Equipment needed includes a barre or high-back chair (for balance only), a set of light dumbbells (2-4 lbs each), and an unweighted 7” play ball. Burr recommends underinflating the ball, so that it can squish down 1-2 inches. I used my mini FitBall, which is very squishy and has a slightly sticky surface, and it worked quite well. Optional equipment includes a pillow to support the back during C-curve ab work, and a small mat to stand on during barre work (unnecessary if you are working out on carpet). All of the participants do this workout barefoot.
The set is bright and spacious (it is the same set as Dancer’s Body and Beginners). Burr instructs live and she mirror-cues. The music is okay, not especially memorable – it is just mainly there to keep the beat. (As an aside, I think this is a good thing – I’m starting to feel a dread doing the Fluidity workouts with that same perky tune looped over and over!) There are four background exercisers, three women and one guy. They take turns demonstrating modifications to the various exercises. Burr occasionally leaves her post to move to one of them to provide additional form tips.
The Super Sculpting DVD is chaptered as follows:
About the Bar Method (1.5 minutes).
Play Workout (the main workout) (one hour).
Select Exercises (workout chapters, see below).
Learn Bar Method Positions (17.5 minutes): This is a tutorial led by Burr which covers proper positioning for the exercises in this workout. She also provides additional form tips and explains the purpose of each exercise. This section is chaptered by exercise group.
Home Equipment and Alternatives (1.5 minutes): How to substitute a high-backed chair in place of the portable barres used in this workout, and household items that can be used in place of the weights, ball and mat.
Find Bar Method Equipment (1.5 minutes): How to order the equipment seen in the video.
About Burr Leonard
The main workout is chaptered as follows:
Warm-Up and Upper Body (17 minutes): Knee-ups. Light weights for shoulder presses (a couple variations), a kind of isometric rhomboid pinch move, biceps curls (with option of standing in second position plie), straight arm triceps lifts and L's. Down to the floor for stretching, then push-ups (Burr does them on her toes!) and dips (French press shown as an alternative).
Calves and Thighs (12 minutes): Calf raises, first one-legged then both legs. Pick up ball and place between legs at mid-thigh, parallel feet with heels raised, squeezes on ball then pulses up/down. Next, turn to side and hold one leg out straight in front, little presses. Next, heels raised and together, legs turned out in diamond shape, lean back and do pulses & tucks.
Seat Work (8 minutes): Seated pretzel. Burr holds the ball in one hand out in front of her and mimics the leg raises and presses with her arm (she says this helps tone the back).
More Thighs & Push-Ups (3.5 minutes): Another set of standing thigh work with the ball, followed by more push-ups.
Abdominals (10 minutes): All C-curve work, very similar to previous Bar Methods. For the first set the ball is between the thighs (a mat or pillow is optional for back support), and Burr does a series of sharp exhales then little curls. The second set does use the ball at the back. Ball is removed for third set -- with legs raised and ankles crossed, Burr holds the ball and taps the opposite knee for oblique work.
Back Dancing (3.5 minutes): Ball is between thighs and Burr incorporates little squeezes along with the seat tucks.
Final Stretch (5 minutes).
Bottom line: I like both Super Sculpting and its companion, Super Sculpting II, quite a bit! Burr was already my favorite barre instructor. She does not sacrifice proper form for speed, but she still keeps things moving with little down time. She also looks fabulous -- lean and strong, and very comfortable on camera. In Super Sculpting her presentation is very informal, as I imagine she would lead a class of students rather than filming a DVD. During parts of the routine she is slightly breathless, so we know she is working hard too! There are touches of humor ("Join me in the shaking!"). Burr also provides great encouragement when a particular exercise starts getting hard. I like it when she tells me during thigh work that I am stronger than the exercise -- it makes me hold the position longer instead of bailing out!
Intensity-wise, the two Super Sculpting DVDs are more difficult than Beginners, Change Your Body and Accelerated, but not as hard as Dancer’s Body. Someone in a GD thread referred to the Super Sculpting workouts as a nice “bridge” to Dancer’s Body and I would agree.
As of the date of this review, Bar Method DVDs are only available through their website, www.barmethod.com.
Please see above. Burr is now in her mid-60s. She began taking Lotte Berk classes in the 1980s, and in the 1990s operated several Lotte Berk studios. In 2000 she founded The Bar Method, which reflects her own refinement on the Lotte Berk exercises.