Bar Method Super Sculpting IIBurr Leonard
Year Released: 2011
Categories: Balance/Medicine/Mini/Stability Ball, Ballet/Barre
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I have been using The Bar Method - Change Your Body for about six months now. (Sandra, who wrote the first excellent review of this workout, got me started on that one as well.) Change Your Body is certainly a tough workout, but Super Sculpting II takes up the challenge to a whole new level!
SSII is again led by Bar Method founder Burr Leonard, and Burr is again joined by three background exercisers, this time including a male, Juan. One of the two women shows modifications, and Burr frequently uses all three models to provide examples of proper form. They are working out in a new studio, one that it is brighter, airier, and more interesting (to me) than the one used for Change Your Body.
This DVD also offers additional features. The Menu Main provides options for About The Bar Method - Play Workout - Select Exercises - Learn Bar Method Positions - Using Equipment and Alternatives - Finding Bar Method Equipment - About Burr Leonard. Choosing "About..." provides a short introduction by Burr explaining that The Bar Method is interval training designed to produce quick changes in the body by targeting previously unused muscles. She recommends using ANY of The Bar Method DVDs 3-5 times per week. The segment on equipment reviews use of a chair rather than a ballet bar and discusses the other equipment used in this DVD, including a small ball (a playground ball will work fine).
The "Select Exercises" options brings up a submenu with eight separate chapters of the workout. I have listed each of this below, providing brief descriptions and approximate times for each.
1) WARM-UP & UPPER BODY (15.5 minutes)
Burr begins with the classic Bar Method knees up warm-up, but she makes it more intense with punches forward. Picking up weights (Burr recommends 2-4#), Burr begins with alternating lifts front and then moves into a sort of rhomboid push-back and a shoulder pulse--these were TOUGH if you go heavier with the weights! Next comes a biceps series that begins with half biceps and then full biceps. Using a single weight, Burr performs a triple move for rear delts/triceps, and then she moves down to the floor for push-ups (20 slow) and rear tricep dips (3 sets of 8) followed by stretching.
2) CALVES & THIGHS (10 minutes)
Burr warms up with a set of calf raises, starting with the feet together, then apart. The thigh work is performed in various positions, including feet together, small v, and wide leg/pushing knees back. Burr also incorporates the ball here, using it between the thighs for the final set before stretching on the floor.
3) FOLDOVER SEAT (6 minutes)
This work is performed with the support of the chair and involves lifting the leg to the rear; this segment was probably most similar to Change Your Body.
4) DIAGONAL SEAT (5.5 minutes)
This bonus segment for the glutes involves putting one leg behind in sort of an arabesque position and then pulsing to the opposite corner. Burr concludes with additional stretching.
5) MORE THIGHS AND PUSH-UPS (5 minutes)
Burr describes this as a short "aerobic" section. Similar to Change Your Body, she performs front thigh lifts which are supposed to raise the heart rate (this did not occur in my case). Se then comes down to the floor for additional push-ups: 10 count hold, 10 fast, and then a final 10 count hold. She concludes with the same post push-up stretches performed above.
6) ABDOMINALS (7 minutes)
The abdominal work begins with the ball between the knees (and the option of using a back support). Burr cues several sets of c-curve abs work, including one leg raised, exhales on elbows, both legs raised, and open/close thighs. She concludes with a twist and cobra stretch on stomach.
7) BACK DANCING (3.5 minutes)
These are set lifts lying on the back. Burr does the first set with the ball between the knees, but mostly she performs simply up/down (no side-to-side), varying only from larger movements to quick pulses.
8) FINAL STRETCH (5 minutes)
The stretches begin in a reclined position for straddle stretch, cross leg stretch, and reclined leg stretches with a strap. Burr finishes in a seated position with neck rolls.
The entire workout comes in right around 57 minutes. The fact that it is under an hour, offers plenty of stretching, and has a great instructor makes this challenging workout quite doable for experienced exercisers. In addition, Burr has included a 17-minute tutorial on "Learn Bar Method Positions," a great aid to anyone struggling with this workout. Overall, I would definitely recommend this DVD to those who are ready to move on to a more advanced Bar Method workout!
I've come to really appreciate Burr's solid instruction when doing bar workouts.
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: Super Sculpting II is a different DVD than The Bar Method Super Sculpting (which is sometimes referred to at VF as “Super Sculpting I” in order to differentiate the two, although its official name is just “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 use my mini FitBall, which is very squishy and has a slightly sticky surface, and it works quite well. Optional equipment includes a pillow to support the back during C-curve ab work (I use a second play ball), 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. There are three background exercisers, two women and one man. They each take turns demonstrating modifications to the various exercises. Burr occasionally leaves her post to move to one of them to provide additional form tips.
Super Sculpting II 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 (15 minutes): Knee-ups and punches. With the dumbbells, alternate front raises, isometric rhomboid pinches, shoulder presses, biceps curls (in optional second position plie), straight-arm triceps presses and L's. This set is similar to Super Sculpting but has some different arm positions. Burr explains how to brace the core here, but there is less emphasis on the "Bar Method tuck." We move to the floor for push-ups and triceps dips (or French press as an alternative).
-Calves and Thighs (10 minutes): Calf raises, first with feet together then apart, optional no hands for last set. Feet together, heels raised, pulses up/down then hips side to side. First position, heels slightly raised, legs turned out, pulses. Second position plie, heels on floor, press-backs with thighs then pulses up/down. Ball between thighs, feet shoulder width, heels up, pulses and ball squeezes.
-Fold-Over Seat (4.5 minutes): Rear leg lifts, adding in a bending/straightening of the supporting leg.
-Diagonal Seat (5.5 minutes): Standing seat work, legs turned out, bend at knee -- first hamstring curls, then small presses back, then L's. (When I first viewed this set I wondered why Burr didn't tuck the play ball behind the bent knee, a la Pure Barre Pershing Square. However, I have a play ball very similar to the one Burr uses (which is larger than the PB ball), and I know from experience it is hard to keep it wedged in behind the knee. If you have the squishier/sticker mini FitBall, though, it stays very well behind the knee and using it there gives this section a little extra pizazz.)
-More Thighs and Push-Ups (3 minutes). Standing front leg lifts and presses, followed by another set of push-ups. Burr calls this the cardio section.
-Abdominals (10 minutes): Bar Method C-curve ab work. Ball between thighs, raise one leg, hold curl while pulsing raised leg, then pulsing both arms with leg. Down to elbows (kickstand position), exhales, then ball on abs and small curls over ball. Raise one leg, extend other leg, curls to side to work obliques. Both legs raised in diamond shape, open/close thighs. Small curls with both legs raised. Stretch includes supermans.
-Back Dancing (3.5 minutes): A series of tiny seat tucks while lying on the floor. For the first part Burr includes the ball between the thighs.
-Final Stretch (5 minutes).
Bottom line: I'm a strictly intermediate exerciser who has been doing barre for a little while now, and I like both Super Sculpting and Super Sculpting II quite a bit! I find both challenging but not killer. I have no dread factor pulling out either one. 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's comfortable on camera, and also looks fabulous -- lean and strong. She comes across as less formal in the Super Sculpting workouts. At times she is slightly breathless, so we know she is working hard too! In addition to superb form instruction, Burr also offers encouragement and humor when a particular exercise starts getting hard -- instead of bailing out I keep going!
Overall Super Sculpting II might be slightly harder than Super Sculpting but not lots. In the GD section several people commented that they felt Super Sculpting II flowed a bit better than Super Sculpting. 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 officially available through their website, www.barmethod.com, although they do pop up at other online sites such as Amazon and eBay.
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. The DVD back cover indicates she plans to make more DVDs in the future -- cool!