Lotte Berk: High Round AssetsKristen Lilley
Year Released: 2003
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The Lotte Berk Method is a form of exercise developed by Russian dancer Lotte Berk and brought to America by Lydia Bach. Drawing from dance and other similar disciplines, many of the exercises require the use of a ballet barre, and the focus is on making small, precise movements to facilitate the development of long, lean muscles. As the title suggests, High Round Assets particularly targets the muscles in the glute area with the goal of creating a higher and firmer behind.
Like all of the Lotte Berk videos, this workout begins with high knee lifts to warm up. Instructor Kristen Lilley leads two other Lotte Berk instructors, one of whom shows modifications and one of whom uses a wall (actually a column in this case) instead of a barre. Also included in the warm up are push-ups: 2 sets of 10 on your knees, and then 2 sets of 10 "reverse" push-ups, performed with your hands behind you and your chest up to switch the work to the triceps. After the warm up, the workout moves to the barre for several sets of leg lifts. Beginning with a straight leg, you lift your leg behind you and make small, slow lifts upward for 2 sets of 10; the next 2-3 sets are performed more quickly. After repeating on the other side, you then do a bent leg version, again starting with slow lifts and progressing to quicker lifts. This focus on doing only a couple of different exercises with a very high number of repetitions is different from the other Lotte Berk videos, but I found it to be more effective. However, like the other videos, there is an emphasize on stretching, so you always perform stretches between the movements.
After the barre work, it's on to the floor for "back dancing," which is basically a series of pelvic tilts done while lying on your back. These moves are performed a variety of ways, including emphasizing one side only and placing your feet into different positions, but you are constantly moving with no breaks inbetween. The workout ends as all the LBM videos do with a "Shape by Stretch" section in which you perform hamstring and other stretches. At 31 minutes, this is a short, efficient workout for targeting your glutes; mine were definitely sore the next day! The style of these videos might not appeal to everyone, especially since the exercises are quite repetitive. However, I would recommend this workout to anyone looking for an effective means of making the most of their "assets."
I found the instructor, Kristen, to be more tolerable than some of the other Lotte Berk instructors, as she doesn't have the same condescending manner. However, she sometimes says things that sound exactly like the other instructors--are they all working from the same script?
I wanted to give a review of this DVD from someone who does mostly weighted lower body workouts and finds that heavy weights do good things for me. My bread-and-butter leg workouts are Cathe Friedrichís weight routines, and I generally donít care for unweighted, ballet-style workouts. However, I do like this workout, and itís the only of Bar Method and Lotte Berk DVDs that Iíve bothered to keep and use regularly.
I think this workout is a great compliment to weighted strength training for the lower body. It really works deep in my hamstrings, which are hard to get at with weight exercises at home. To a lesser degree, I feel my upper hamstrings/butt area, which is always good! To get the most out of the workout, you really need to focus carefully on the instructions, because form is critical on these exercises. Itís a workout that got more difficult after the first several times I did it because I was slowly learning to do the exercises more effectively.
The workout has an 8 minute warm-up, 13 minutes of standing leg work using a barre or heavy piece of furniture (they also show you how to use a wall if you donít have furniture that works), 5 minutes of ďback dancingĒ, little butt tucks/pelvic tilts done on your back with your knees bent, and a 5 minute final stretch. The DVD also has a bonus workout that is 9 minutes long featuring more advanced versions of the main exercises. The main workout is chaptered for each section, but the bonus workout is not chaptered.
This DVD is great to add on to other workouts because itís not too long. I often add on just the barre work for a nice 13 minute segment. Thereís one mistake in the barre section, though Ė the instructor forgets to start out with slower-paced reps on the 2nd side of the 3rd exercise, so you end up unbalanced. (That kind of thing drives me crazy, so I pause for a second and do the slow reps on my own.)
The instructor, Kristen Lilley, seems nice and is not particularly note-worthy. I found the instructors in the other Lotte Berk DVDs and the Bar Method DVDs fairly annoying, so being un-noteworthy is actually pretty good! She explains the exercises in detail, which is useful at first Ė really listen to her! Ė but eventually makes the workout seem a bit slow. However, no matter how many times I do it, I still *really* feel it in my hamstrings afterwards, so itís definitely doing something!
I've done the basic workout on the DVD, and it wasn't as hard as I'd hoped it would be. I was slightly sore in my hamstrings the next day, but had been hoping my glutes would have been hit a little more. I don't really care if my hamstrings are high and round! It's my assests I'm concerned about. I may need to do this a few more times, and maybe something in my form will change so that the glutes are hit a little more...
I enjoyed the workout, and it involves little or no bending of the knees, which is what I need right now.
Most of the moves remind me of regular old floor work, but done using the barre ( I used a wall.) I would compare some of the moves to the leg work in Kathy Smith's Secrets to a Great Lower Body. (Standing, leaning into a chair, lifting your straightened rear leg behind you.)
I can't be bothered putting my DVD in to check the instructor's name, but she was pleasant and relatively motivating. She gives some details before each move, then counts out the reps (up hold, up hold, up hold...up one, up two...) She is motivating near the end of each set (you can do it, this is intense, keep moving).