The new exercise DVD capitalizes on one of the latest trends in fitness, barre workouts. In her introduction, Pilates instructor and personal trainer Tracey Mallett explains that she created The Booty Barre workout to combine elements of barre, dance, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing. Mallett instructs the workout live in a bright indoor studio with four background exercisers. The only props required for this workout are a sturdy chair (for the barre work) and a pair of light (3-5 lb.) dumbbells, although a mat is also useful.
The Main Menu of the DVD offers options to either Play All or to select each of the four chapters individually. I have described each section of the workout in detail below.
Booty Barre Warm-Up (8.5 minutes)
This is a fast-moving, active warm-up with a bit of a cardio effect. Mallett starts with several variations on pliés, adding in heel lifts and moving from a squat to a standing forward bend. There is also a bit of a dance-like element in swaying the hips from side-to-side. The final sequence includes a flow in and out of a yoga warrior 2 position, from warrior 2 to crescent lunge, and finally from plank to an inverted triangle, or down dog.
Booty Barre Sculpted Arms (10 minutes)
For the first half of this segment, Mallett quickly moves through some more traditional arms exercises, including side delt raise, overhead press, chest press, rear delt lift, and a unique side/rear delt raise which lifts out of a squat position. The second half focuses almost exclusively on triceps work, although it also includes a front delt raise and long biceps curl.
Booty Barre Workout (32.5 minutes)
This glute-focused segment is the heart of the workout; a chair is used throughout. In general, Mallett completes a series of exercises on one side, then does the same series with the second leg. For the first 12 minutes of this segment, the setup is sideways, with one hip facing the chair. Some of the pliés here are similar to the warm-up moves, but the addition of kicks (from lunge and curtsey lunge positions) makes the work both more challenging and more glute-intensive. This first series concludes with a pulsing rear arabesque/attitude. The second 10 minutes also starts with the side to the chair in wide plié for knee lifts. Mallett then performs a squat into a side leg lift, eventually pulsating and rotating towards the chair to change the emphasis from the hips back to the glutes and back again, and finally, concluding with a killer "stork" kick. With just over 13 minutes left in this segment, Mallett introduces what she calls the "cardio section." Using the seat of the chair for balance, this approximately 4-minute segment involves standing in a runner’s lunge and rapidly moving one knee in and out plus quick-moving plank variations (e.g., mountain climbers, bunny jumps). For the final standing sequence, Mallett returns to behind the chair for an assortment of moves, from parallel feet to additional pliés to bent leg lifts (back and side). The best thing about this segment is that Mallett is constantly changing up the approach: just as you are starting to become too fatigued in one position, she switches to working the glutes from yet another angle.
Booty Barre Abs and Flexibility (12.5 minutes)
For this section, Mallett and crew begin standing on their knees, briefly lowering and raising from this position to work the core. Mallett then performs a series of moves in a seated c-curve position. This is followed by more Pilates-inspired abs exercises, including both the single leg stretch and the single straight leg stretch. Mallett performs a very brief (about 1 minute) series of back extensions before moving into the final stretches. The 4-minute seated stretch sequence includes rock the baby, seated cross-legged forward bend, wide-legged seated forward bend, and wide-legged seated side bend; Mallett concludes standing.
One of the background exercisers, Laura, is designated as the modifier, but she actually shows very few modifications--although she doesn’t go as deeply into the pliés as Mallett, for the kicks, Laura is generally kicking higher than any of the other exercisers, including Mallett herself! This just underscores the fact that The Booty Barre is most appropriate for those at an experienced fitness level. The barre segment in particular is challenging in terms of both strength and stamina, as Mallett keeps you constantly moving, producing a strong cardio effect.
Mallett perhaps tried to do a bit too much in this DVD: at just over an hour (approximately 63.5 minutes total), the workout feels a bit long. She might have been better served by making the barre segment a bit shorter and by adding more lower-body focused stretching, which definitely felt lacking. Overall, however, this fun routine is a great means to target the glutes in a way that feels new and different not only from other workout videos in general but also from other barre workout videos in particular.
© 2011 Beth Cholette
Beth Cholette, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who provides psychotherapy to college students.