Review of The Bar Method Accelerated Workout

On a business trip, with a hotel room all to myself, I’m looking to do a little bit of exercise to make up for the dance classes I’m missing, and I pull out the The Bar Method Accelerated Workout. The desk chair does for a barre, and I pull out two way-too-cold beer bottles from the mini fridge to use as light weights. You do what you can.

Like The Bar Method: Change Your Body (previously reviewed), the Accelerated Workoutcarefully covers all the major areas of your body. Burr Leonard begins with arm work, using both light weights and the body for resistance. The triceps exercises are particularly effective, but it’s hard to judge since those bottles really were a little too light for me.
She then moves on to some challenging thigh work, the kind of plié and relevé series that I so love from my ballet class. I feel these, oh do I ever feel these. The glute work is not as hard for me. However, to be fair, I think maintaining proper form here is really key, and I have a hard time doing so. These seem like the kinds of tiny moves that are super-effective when done right, and completely pointless when performed incorrectly.
The abdominal exercises are nice, pilates-type moves. They are challenging, but not insane – that is, despite the fact that I still can’t do a proper roll-up, I can keep up with most of these. However, the next section, involving “back dancing” – that is, small movements performed with the back rolled up from the ground, kind of like bellydancing while lying down – is wildly intense. I have experienced few techniques as good for hitting the inner thighs. These are challenging, fun, and painful in a good way.
The workout closes with some good stretches, though they could be held longer.
Back dancing may look like lying down — it is not.

My take on the video? I love, love, love how careful Burr Leonard is about form. She gives pointers constantly, repeatedly reminds you to tuck your pelvis, engage your abs, and so on. This is precisely the kind of thing you need when you are working out without a live instructor. Her demeanor is matter-of-fact and friendly, which is also what I prefer in a video teacher. (Overly peppy is not my thing.) And there is another instructor you can follow throughout for modifications, which is also key to staying safe.

While I didn’t quite feel all the exercises as much as I might have liked to, and in fact, right after the workout I didn’t have any sore muscles, doing the video did energize me right away and made me feel taller and looser. (I actually followed it up with a quick swim in the hotel pool – might as well take advantage!) And as has happened before with the BarMethod, I certainly did feel the effects on the second and third day after doing the workout. This is especially true for all sorts of little muscles in my back and arms that I usually don’t exercise.

At one hour, the video is easy to fit into a busy schedule, and is definitely high on my list to do again. It’s the perfect workout for those days when you have a set amount of time, need to be energized rather than crushed, and want to cover all the major muscle groups of your body.

Full disclosure: I have received a review copy of a different Bar Method DVD (stay tuned!), but I bought this one myself.

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