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The Benefits of Barre Style Workouts

I have been practicing for over 20 years and have tried every form of exercise in the market. I have done weight loss programs, Insanity style training camps, aerobic steps, circuit training, HIIT training, station bikes etc. And so on and then I found a barre! And let me tell you, I doubt it will deliver results given the intense training style I have used, but look low! I've never been thinner, I've never had slimmer body, I've never had less body fat than now - and that's probably because of the combination of barre training with cardio.

My first barre experience was Fusion Fitness Dream Body training. I was really surprised by her. I do not believe that exercise without legs with minimal equipment and almost no cardio can be LONG! Actually, I couldn't do it for the first time. I had to modify a lot of exercises and was in great pain for most exercises! I definitely jumped into the depths when I later discovered that the Dream Body is one of the toughest exercise programs on the Planet! I was determined not to be dominated by this exercise so I continued to do it every second day until my muscles started to grow and I was able to keep it steady without slipping. I'm polished and I want more! So I started searching online for all the best barre-style DVDs (I love working in my own home) and soon built a collection of 25 or so to start filtering. I found some great exercises and some not so great, but overall I liked the results I was seeing.

So what is the right barre you can ask? It's a ballet-style exercise that utilizes all your small muscle groups that are almost never touched by traditional strength training. When you look at the body of a ballerina you can see the definitions in all these small muscles - and the best thing about it is that they rarely lift weights! Your weight is quite the weight itself and if you start using it wisely you will start to stretch and lean your muscles like never before. The good thing about barre is that it's not complicated. It's accessible to anyone - the dance experience or not. Small, controlled steps and a lot of barre exercises I've tried have no cardio in it at all. The word barre actually refers to the ballet bar used for many exercises, but you don't need any of them - just use a sturdy chair or top counter to hold.

One of the reasons why the barre is so effective is that it uses a lot of iso tension in training. So, for example, if you do your lifting you lift your feet as high as you can go and then you start beating from there. No big moves, you actually move an inch at a time, but the burn is incredible!

Typical barre exercises have various segments - arms, thighs, seats, floor work and abs. You usually start with the warm-up of the foot swing and the graceful kick. The arm work with very light weight - 1-3 lbs. You wouldn't think that such a light weight would do anything, but it was to make the best of each step and do a lot of repetition to really fatigue the muscles. You will do several exercises for each muscle group before moving, this way you actually burn each muscle and get maximum results. Most of the barre exercises I've tried have a combination of standing arm work as well as increasing pressure and triceps on the floor.

Working barre is all lower body - you'll hit your thighs and glutes hard! Sometimes additional equipment such as resistance bracelets or ball games are used to increase the intensity. There is a lot of work where you are on your toes doing various variations of squats and lunges until your thighs vibrate.

Form is one of the most important factors in barre exercise. You will only benefit from each step if you use the right techniques. That's why it's important to choose your barre instructor wisely. There are some who are once professional dancers who really know their stuff, while others don't give you enough guidance. The difference between exercising and not feeling it is the correct position of your body. If you don't feel it then you're just fooling yourself! Because everyone has different angles of both your arms and legs may be slightly different to the instructor, but that's really OK.

So, which is my favorite barre-style workout DVD? I love Leah Sarago's Ballet Body series. She has 4 DVDs as well as 130+ exercises available for download on her website. The exercises are really unique with lots of exercises you won't find anywhere else. She has a professional dance background and she really shows off her perfect form and technique. His training is a bit advanced, but he offers easier modifications so that most fitness levels can try this exercise.

Other great ones include the practice of Tracey Effinger's Squeeze, Xtend Barre, Sculpture Signet Physique Physique, Hardcore Pop Physique, Tracy Mallet and Tight Booty Barre, Suzanne Bowen's Tones and Torches. However, my absolute favorite and most difficult of all was definitely Fusion Fitness Dream Body training. There are 11 exercises in total in the Dream Body series and they are all amazing. They have more cardio in it than any barre exercise I've ever encountered. The good thing is that you don't have to do extra cardio for fat burning. But be warned, they are very difficult. In fact, I would say that they are probably some of the hardest exercises on DVD. Many people will deny this comment, but I dare try this exercise. I've done almost every extreme home fitness program on the market including Insanity, Asylum, P90X, Cathe STS, Chalean Xtreme, Tapout XT, Turbo Fire, Peak 10 and more. And this takes the cake as the hardest and brings the best result so far. But don't take my word for it - try it for yourself. You won't regret it.

So, in conclusion, if you want to break some of the weight loss, if you want to build some long, lean muscles and lose some unwanted inches - then barre training is just the right thing for you. Why not try it - the most you'll lose is the cost of a DVD and the best you can find is a new style of training that will give you the dream!



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