Low Impact Series: Turbo Barre

Cathe Friedrich
Year Released: 2011

Categories: Ballet/Barre

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This is Cathe's foray into the barre trend and part of the Low Impact Series. As filmed it's a long workout at 74 minutes, but it is well chaptered and there are many premixes to make it shorter. Cathe and her four backgrounders - Jai, Amanda, Brenda and Lorraine - are in the well-lit and spacious fake-window gym setting with the Turbo Tower, light dumbbells (they use 5#) and a light-tension firewalker band as the only equipment. You can use a chair if you don't have the Tower. This workout is done barefoot. The music is the forgettable background stuff, not offensive but not at all memorable.

This is an athletic barre workout, not flowy or dancey at all. Cathe's cues are her usual athletic ones ("dig deeper! Whattaya got!") which would be jarringly out of place in a ballet studio but fit the flavor of this workout. The majority of the workout - 55 minutes - is standing work. The warmup is Cathe's usual dynamic one, with moves like toe taps leading to tap and reach, side to side, heels forward, knees up, etc. Then comes an upper-body section with light weights and very high reps. There are curls, hammer curls, overhead press, triceps kickbacks and lateral raises with basic lower body movements to increase the heart rate. This section reminded me of the upper-body work in Firm Volume 5; put in to be able to call the workout "total body" but without enough variety or work to make it a significant upper-body workout.

Following are two leg conditioning sections using the Tower, one with no equipment and one with the firewalker band. Lots of plies with differing foot placements, and lots of leg lifts in all directions, plus pulses and halfway-ups (or downs) to burn the hips, thighs, hamstrings and glutes. Going at Cathe's pace with no rests, these two sections are tough.

The final sections are on the floor with the band: some token upper body work with pushups and a super-awkward triceps dip move on the floor, then a solid core/abs section with some unique moves. A very good lower-body stretch completes the workout.

I'm not a ballet-workout fan and found myself liking this athletic barre routine. Cathe does not give nearly as many form pointers as the experienced barre instructors would; she reminds you to keep your back upright and that's about it. Dancers and barre enthusiasts might have issues with that, but I felt the cues and pointers were well tailored to the kind of workout Cathe designed.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe is her usual self: professional, energetic, strong. She demonstrates good form but offers only basic form pointers. Cueing is clear.



I thought I'd update my review above from 4 years ago. I got rid of this DVD because I'm just not into barre and then re-acquired it. Now, I use it as an add-on when I want to supplement other workouts that aren't as long as I want. With the option of viewing the chapters, I usually start at a certain point in the DVD and then do 2-3 sections. It's really well set up for this type of use.

It has an athletic feel compared to a lot of barre worouts. For me, this is optimal. I'm not sure how much barre enthusiasts would enjoy it.

I appreciate that Cathe does verballly give options of things you can do to modify. I still wish there were a modifier, but it works to follow what she says.

Laura S.


Title: Turbo Barre
Instructor: Cathe Friedrich
Time: 75 Minutes
Level of Difficulty: Advanced
DVD menu: Play workout, chapter selections, premixes (if I recall)
Production quality: high
Equipment used: light weights (Cathe uses 5# each hand), light resistance loop band, barre

I am an advanced exerciser (Tonique/Dream Body/Horizontal Conditioning are my mainstays) and several months ago I was inspired to incorporate more barre workouts into my routine. I bought a ton of workouts, including Cathe’s only barre workout, Turbo Barre. I enjoyed this workout when I first did it starting out with barre a few months ago, but revisiting it after having refined my barre technique, it is even more challenging! What I love about barre is that it gets more challenging the more that you do it. I would consider this to be one of my more difficult barre workouts in the faster/larger range of motion sub-genre (to include Booty Barre and P57), rather than the more acute pulses/smaller range of motion sub-genre (Pure Barre, Barre Method, Ballet Physique, Ballet Body).

Like most barre workouts, this workout is structured in a warm up, upper body toning (using 5# though you can go heavier for some moves, I used 5-6#), lower body at the barre (making up the majority of the workout), abs on the mat, and a final stretch. There are also stretches after long sets throughout the workout to help lengthen the muscles after toning.

The arm and core sections, while enjoyable and well balanced, seemed less intense when compared to the main barre workout for the legs, which was very intense! She works the biceps, triceps, and shoulders with the weights then follows up with pushups at the beginning of the mat workout at the end of the DVD. She doesn’t work the back, but it does get worked indirectly from stabilizing on the barre with the leg/glute work. As for the leg work, she had plenty of releve barre squat type movements with three different foot positions (which worked the entire leg including the inner thighs), but it seemed like this workout heavily focused on the outer thighs and glutes with leg lift variations. There was one particularly long outer thigh/glute leg lift series that was particularly tough for me. The rest of the work was somewhat broken up (do one side, then repeat on the other side, then move on to the next exercise, rather than huge supersets). The core work include a side plank with leg reach move (love this move and I recognize it from TA Omni and pilates workouts), and some c-curve style abs with lots of pulsing and leg lift variations, and some pilates-style scissors and criss-cross.

For those who are a fan of the faster/large range of motion barre sub-genre, this is a must-have!! For those who enjoy the more traditional barre with tiny pulses and small movements, this probably wouldn’t fit the bill. I enjoy both and am loving barre, and this is a must-have workout for me. It is also refreshing to have a more advanced barre workout since many of them fall in the intermediate range.

Instructor Comments:
I honestly don’t have many of Cathe’s workouts, but I really enjoy the few I do have. (This and CrossFire come to mind). She is very clear and articulate with her instruction, and encouraging and motivating. She always has utmost professional workouts.

Emily B.


Barre is my first love, but I occasionally like to use heavier weights (mainly for upper body), or I want more of an athletic feel to my workout. TurboBarre is the best of both worlds! No picky or precise tucking, pulsing or positioning...just simple, straight-forward barre-INSPIRED moves (made even better by the addition of a lengthy arm segment!) Do I think this is a good introduction to barre...well, it depends on what you're looking for. If you want authentic Lotte Berk Method, then NO, this is NOT what you want. However, if you generally do weights and are looking for something *different*, this may be just what you're looking for.

This is a LOOOONG dvd, but so well-chaptered that you can easily make a workout to suit the length you want (I did a well-rounded 40 min. TurboBarre workout just this morning). I find this workout challenging (sometimes downright HARD) and Cathe doesn't provide many (if any) modifications. I wish the gliding disc could've been used in this workout, since it was in this Low Impact series so often. I think it would've been great during some of the mat/strength work!

Instructor Comments:
Cathe has workout dvds down to a "t"...great production quality, chaptering, excellent cueing and great backgrounders/set. They are so visually pleasing!



I saw one other review before I posted this for Cathe's Turbo Barre. That was by a non-barre-enthusiast, like me, too. I suppose that is understandable because barre enthusiasts are more likely to get Barre workouts from Barre specialist instructors.

I have only done this workout once and I enjoyed it more than I expected to. While it is relatively long at about 70 minutes, it felt like a whole lot less because Cathe kept changing things up.

I found the upper body work a bit gratituous. It seemed thrown in there just as a token nod to being a total body workout. The abs and legs on the other hand, were worked very thoroughly.

On some one-legged moves, I felt it strain in the standing leg rather than working leg. That could entirely be my fault as I am not barre proficient and may not have been doing the exercise correctly. But on most exercises, despite that my legs are used to being worked with heavy weights, I felt the burn.

The Ab work is traditional mat Abs, but with an interesting twist to most exercises. I enjoyed this segment the most.

On the next day, I had very mild but interesting DOMS. They were not in the qauds and hamstrings where I feel the DOMS after my typical weighted leg-training. I could feel parts of my glutes and thighs where I dont usually notice any soreness.

The music was nothing special to my ears, but not offensive either.



Full disclosure: I received a free review copy of this workout.

Disclaimer: I am not a barre enthusiast. I enjoy a barre type workout once in awhile as a break from my normal workout routine, a combination of cardio, circuit, and light weight strength workouts. I also generally do not do Cathe's workouts. They are more advanced than I enjoy and I have to work harder than I like to work. I did not order the entire set of Cathe's newest workouts - just Slide & Glide because I wanted a workout I could use with my gliding disks and TurboBarre because I was intrigued by the idea of a barre workout by Cathe.

The bottom line is that I thought this workout is tough and really well done. My lower body was really worked out at the end of the workout. The moves flowed throughout the segments. Cathe's cueing was okay. She described the moves well. She did have the tendency to cue on the move instead of before it in some places, so she caught me by surprise in several places when she changed the move. She did give good form pointers throughout the workout. I really liked the pace of the workout; it didn't have the rushed feeling of some other barre workouts that I have tried. Cathe also gave opportunities to stretch throughout the workout and it usually felt really good after a tough segment.

The workout has the following sections:

> Low weight, high rep segment for the upper body. You need light weights for this segment.
> Segment using a loop with light resistance. There was one upper body move and then the rest of the segment focuses on the lower body.
> Three segments using the barre (I used a chair) doing various types of leg lifts and pulses.
> Cross back lunges followed by calf raises.
> Mat work - strength work for the upper body on the floor.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe is the consumate professional. In this workout, she is encouaraging and motivating. She does cue a bit late once in awhile, but overall the instruction is great.

Laura S.