Pop Physique Hardcore

Karyn Nesbit
Year Released: 2012

Categories: Ballet/Barre

Video Fitness reviews may not be copied, quoted, or posted elsewhere without the permission of the reviewer

Show oldest reviews first

Title: Pop Physique: Hardcore
Instructor: Karyn Nesbit
Time: 63 Minutes
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate/High-Intermediate
DVD menu: Play workout
Production quality: high
Equipment used: one set of light and one set of moderate weights (not indicated but they looked like about 2-3# and 4-5#), barre or chair

I am an advanced exerciser (Dream Body/Tonique being my mainstays) and over the past several months have fallen in love with barre workouts. I really enjoy Ballet Body, Ballet Physique, P57, Pure Barre, etc. I enjoy both the faster/bigger range of motion genre of barre (Booty Barre or P57) and the tiny pulses/more traditional barre (Bar Method, Pure Barre, Ballet Physique). This was a unique barre workout that I would place more in the more traditional genre. The music was upbeat but did not correlate to the exercises (the music did not change when the workout transitioned from upper body to legs, for instance).

Barre workouts usually follow a very specific format: warm up, upper body toning, then legs, then seat, then finish with ab work, and stretch. Hardcore followed this format but spent longer on arms than other barre workouts. After a warm up of deep plie squats and marching, Karyn led you through pushups, plank pose and elbow plank with leg pulses, and “reverse pushups” which is actually tricep dips, before standing back up, using the smaller weights (I used 2-3#) for tricep work and shoulder pulses, then heavier weights for biceps and posterior delts. I thought the upper body work was pretty comprehensive. A lot of barre workouts exclude biceps and back (although back is indirectly worked through the barre work).

About halfway through the workout, pull out your barre or chair for the thigh work, which includes calf raises, then traditional barre squats in first and second position, and deep lunge work (which reminded me of Ballet Physique, which I love!) Finish with a nice thigh stretch on the floor in deep lunge, then slide into the splits. Then we move on to seat work, while folded over the barre and performing lots of leg pulse variations for the back leg, then on the floor for pretzel, and glute stretching.

Then Karyn moves on to ab work, which really got my attention because the exercises were very unique and very challenging! Definitely some exercises that were new to me, which is rare. I definitely felt my abs the next day. It includes some c-curve work, but also some leg pulses to engage the lower abs, and while folded over in a c-curve over your legs, move your legs out and in, a really unique challenge. Finish with stretching.

My main complaint with this workout (same as Neatski) is that Karyn would only do a few reps (sometimes only 8 pulses of something) before moving on – JUST when I was getting a good burn. I would have preferred maybe 24 reps. She didn’t do this all the time but I got that disappointed feeling perhaps 8 or 10 times throughout the workout. There were plenty of other times though that I felt she gave adequate reps and I got that muscle shaking!

As Neatski said, it should be noted that they have very unusual outfits (with a burlesque flair) that some people may not enjoy or find distracting. It did not bother me.

This is a good barre workout, with a unique flavor thanks to the outfits and the ab work. It isn’t as polished as some of the other barre workouts mentioned, but I certainly had fun and got a good workout in. I don’t think I like it enough to use it repeatedly, nor to check out the other Pop Physique workouts (this one is supposed to be the hardest out to-date) but will rotate it in for variety. I would use it more if she had added more reps which would have easily bumped up the intensity.

Instructor Comments:
Karyn is clearly very enthusiastic and gave out a few good form pointers, and her and the other girls were very inspiring in their physiques! She definitely has a young vibe (she looks to be in her early 20s) and says some funny things like “breathe loud, nobody is there to hear you so who cares! Of course if somebody is watching you from the sofa, that’s weird, and just focus on yourself.” She said some funny things that made me laugh from my days of having roommates who yes indeed stared at me from the sofa.

Emily B.


I'm not one for workout breakdowns but here are my impressions on this one. I'm an advanced exerciser typically and a (recently enthusiastic) dabbler in barre. I own and love all the more advanced barre workouts out there- P57, The Bar Method Dancer's Body, Ballet Body, Ballet Physique etc. I got this one because it was reputed to be the hardest of the series. If you're looking at it, you're probably already familiar with the quirks, specifically the interesting choice of apparel. What mattered to me was the content. I found it reasonably challenging and pleasant to do. The pace was appropriate and I felt a burn, especially in my shoulders and thighs by the ends of some of the segments. However, I felt that the segments ended just as I would have liked to do a few more repetitions to really get a good burn. I didn't feel pushed to work harder, like I do in some of the workouts I previously mentioned. Also, the form pointers were just ok. I didn't always know how to position my feet and hips, particularly in the foldover portion. I compared it to Pure Barre Pershing Square 2, which I did the following day, and the quality of the instruction was significantly better in Pure Barre. For those reasons, I'd rate this as intermediate. I don't think a beginner would learn good form from this DVD, but I think an advanced exerciser would know how to modify the exercises to make them harder (go deeper, raise heel height, etc.). That said, it was pleasant enough and I'll probably rotate it into my routine occasionally on lighter days.

Instructor Comments:
Karyn's pleasant and upbeat, but not over the top.