Fluidity Real Class IMichelle Austin
Year Released: 2009
Video Fitness reviews may not be copied, quoted, or posted elsewhere without the permission of the reviewer
Casswoman posted an excellent breakdown of this workout, so I'll just be giving my overall thoughts. First, a little about me. I am a 20 year old male who enjoys using barre workouts as means of cross-training with my other strength workouts. The Firm and Tracie Long are my mainstays, and I've just started dabbling into Cathe Friedrich's workouts. My favorite barre workouts are Bar Method, Physique 57, Ballet Physique, and Core Fusion.
This workout is more challenging than the original three Fluidity workouts, and is also longer. I like how the workout emphasizes the glutes, hamstrings, and posterior chain overall. The upper body work is also different from other barre workouts, with pullups (using the barre), pushups, tricep dips, and arm work with resistance bands. While pushups and dips are common in other barre workouts, the band work and pullups are not. I also enjoyed the flat back exercises, which I can only do on beginner level. Hopefully, I'll be able to do them like Erika soon. (She's advanced alright...) The stretches are also wonderful, and well timed just when you can't do any more repetitions. Modifications as well as intensifications are also shown, which I enjoyed seeing.
What I don't like:
-The music. It is very drab and uninspiring. While it's less annoying than the repetitive track on loop (in the original workouts), it doesn't get me going in any way. I played my own music, which helped some, but still made the workout drag on. Some long setups (most notably during the stationary lunge pulses) also factor into this.
-Lack of chaptering.
-Improper warmup. Just a few stretches and toe taps are performed. I prefer the original Lotte Berk sequencing of warmup with upper body, thighs, glutes, abdominals, and final stretch.
-Michelle's quirks. While Michelle gives excellent form and alignment cues, her love of the phrase "pubis bone", constant praising of Erika being advanced (what about Laura, the beginner?), and counting of most of the reps could grate on others nerves. Personally, her mannerisms didn't annoy me here.
Overall, this is a very challenging barre workout. I recommend it to intermediate and advanced barre enthusiasts who have a Fluidity bar (or are willing to modify without). I've done all three Real Class workouts, and while they will never be staples in my rotation, I like having them in my collection for variety.
Michelle gives excellent form and alignment cues, but has some mannerisms are slightly annoying. She has a tendency to say "pubis bone" (when referring to the pelvis), constantly praise Erika for being advanced (this is the antithesis to the post-BBH Firms "Beginners follow _____"), and counting most of the reps. They aren't really dealbreakers per se, but may annoy others.
The Fluidity system is based on the Lotte Berk style of barre workouts which are slower paced featuring small isometric pulsing. Some of the exercises in the new Real Class series are the same as on the original DVDs, however, this series takes it up a notch with more intensity, more reps and not a long set-up between exercises. When you begin a block of exercises you stay in position allowing for a lot more workout in 65 minutes. After each group of exercises is completed there is a lovely stretch. Fluidity uses their at-home portable barre, which is fantastic to use. I use it with all my barre workouts. They also use an inflatable ball and stretchy bands. Overall, I consider the Fluidity Real Class I to be a very balanced workout as no one body part is worked excessively. I consider this a solid intermediate-advanced workout. Real Class Series I gave me serious DOMS for 3 days in my glutes, quads, shoulders and back.
The set is a wide open airy room with hardwood floors and some drapery and decorative items. It was not distracting. The music is generic jazzy music that is in the background and does not overwhelm at all. I will note that the DVD is not chaptered.
FLUIDITY NEW YORK REAL CLASS SERIES I
2:34 4:07-Warm-up includes head circles right and left, shoulder rolls, arm circles, bend over toe touches and pendulum swings
4:07 4:38-Michelle explains neutral pelvis
4:38 7:34-Parallel thigh work with ball-ball between thighs
-wide V position -toes in releve-sink down and pulse down, squeeze, hold, rotate pelvis back/forth, hold
-chair position-feet flat-pulse down, squeeze, pulse down and squeeze, feet in releve pulse down
7:40 8:23-Stretch-quadriceps stretch with foot on the barre
8:23 11:53-Foldover seat work-leg straight -toes pointed, point and flex foot, micro-bend knee with flexed foot, bent leg-flex foot, bent leg-double pulse, bent leg-single pulse, bent leg-point and flex
11:54 12:29-Stretch-standing hip and hamstring stretch
12:30-15:42-Foldover seat work-repeat on other side
15:42 16:27-Stretch-figure four stretch-standing pigeon stretch
19:20 19:55-Stretch-quadriceps stretch with foot on barre
19:55 25:42-Back to the barre 5th position inner thigh work-turned out-heel to toe-leg raise-flexed foot, circle out/in-pointed toe, tap toe above/below knee, sweep toe front/side, toe to knee double tap out to side. Repeat on other side
25:42 29:35-Ballet Stretch
29:40 32:22-Parallel Waterski Seat Work-pulse leg back flexed foot, bent leg-press back flexed foot, bent leg-press back pointed foot, bent leg-press side and back
32:22 33:16-Stretch-fiqure four stretch standing pigeon stretch
33:16 35:46-Parallel Waterski Seat Work-repeat on other side
35:46 36:29-Stretch-seated pigeon stretch with legs bent and arms braced behind back
36:29 37:30-Fluidity Pullups
37:32 40:20-Flatback-Bent legs with ball between knees-lift up/down-point and flex feet, lift hold squeeze-Ball between ankles-lift up/down flexed feet, lift, hold, squeeze-Ball between ankles-arms crossed behind barre-in/out, hold out
40:20 41:35-Stretch-Lunge stretch
41:35 44:59-Arm work with band-rotator cuff, lateral arm raise, arm extended in front of chest/open to side
45:00 45:54-Stretch-trapezius stretch
45:55 48:37-Arm work with band-repeat on other side
48:37 49:20-Stretch-trapezius stretch
49:20 50:34-Chaturanga pushups
50:34 50:54-Childs pose
50:54 51:40-Wide pushups
51:40 52:05-Thread the needle-Childs pose with one arm folded under perpendicular to the other.
52:05 53:05-Triceps dips
53:05 54:15-Triceps stretch
54:15 59:17-Abdominal Work-Ball between knees-hands on thighs-pulse up, cross arms roll up, reach to opposite side, hands off pulse up, roll down/up pulse-Ball in hands-lift up and down -Ball between knees-lift right/left leg reach, lift both legs reach
1:00:55 1:01:12-Hang from barre
1:01:12 1:01:52-Stretch-legs together flexed feet-wrap band around feet-hinge at hip-lift up from heels
The exercisers in this DVD are Michelle Austin, Laura and Erica. Most of the exercises have modifications for beginners, intermediate, and advanced positioning. Michelle is a very good instructor. She is professional, inspiring and keeps the exercises flowing.