Ballet Beautiful Total Body WorkoutMary Helen Bowers
Year Released: 2012
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When I got a stress fracture in my foot earlier this year, I was on crutches and not able to workout to my usual capacity. I still had fat loss as a goal and being unable to do cardio made that a bit of a challenge. Enter Ballet Beautiful, a majority floor exercise that allows for toning all along the legs and butt area (with abs and arms I guess). I read about this workout on a blog from someone who used it to obtain a dancer's physique, with the slimmer legs and tighter butt. Over the years I've learned that when my goal is to slim down, I can't do a lot of heavy weight work since I bulk up. So to go along with that goal, I've found Ballet Beautiful to be super helpful.
The real money is in the lower body targeted workouts. The bridge series has awesome moves targeting the butt and back of the legs. I will say you may want to make time for proper stretch since she glosses over them quite a bit. Abs are fine, you can get an abs workout elsewhere if you want, really nothing special. The inner thigh portion is killer, my legs always shake near the end. Outer thigh is pretty painful too. Arms are OK, mostly body weight tricep dips and then swimming like motions, it hurts after a while. I usually skip it if I'm strapped for time or just don't feel like it. The standing portion is fine also, again I will skip it if I don't have time. If I'm being honest, I really hate this workout. I generally relish the struggle of getting through a workout since I know it's doing my body good, but to do that while lying down somehow makes it seem more annoying, since usually when I'm lying down I'm sleeping or web surfing or something. However, I still force myself to do it 1-3 times a week because it works, so that's how I know it's good.
It's a difficult workout for the legs. I think if you do it 3-4 times in a 2 week period you'll see some results. I have found it to be very helpful in my thigh slimming goal, and if you are temporarily or chronically unable to put pressure on your feet or knees, this may be a workout you'd want to consider. But, combining this with cardio is an excellent way to meet fat loss goals. No equipment required besides a yoga mat and little space makes this great if you're traveling or have only a small area to exercise in. If you want more motivation, apparently Victoria's Secret models do this workout when they train, if you happen to care about that sort of thing.
Ambiance of the video is calming. White background, soothing piano. I sort of tune it out since I'm in the midst of struggling to make my shaking leg keep working, but if it bores you, you can memorize her cues and play your own tunes. Sometimes you can hear construction in the background; I guess there's no such thing as silence in New York City (which I believe is where her studio is). If you're skeptical about buying the whole workout or want to try it, it is on Youtube under BeFit's channel (except the standing portion), so check it out there.
She doesn't give tips on form, so you have to really watch her to understand how moves are executed. She also mentions modifications long after they should be mentioned, so that's an issue. If you watch the whole thing beforehand you can pick those out and apply them when you actually do the workout. Now for the big issue: can you say "uneven cueing?" Because I can. I've done the workout often enough to know which parts she adds a group of moves on the right side and not the left, but it is irksome. I don't think it makes a huge difference overall, but you should strive for an even workout on both sides. Mary is a quick stretcher for reasons that allude me. Maybe it costs more to have a longer DVD so you gotta cut corners in certain spots, who can say? But the stretching seems truncated. Between sections of the video, stretch out what you need to and you WILL need to stretch things out. Mary is a fine instructor, no complaints other than the uneven cueing!