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Under Review Head-to-Head: Ballerina Edition (and a Giveaway!)

Posted Oct 08 2009 10:00pm
Instead of focusing on one workout DVD at a time, the FBGs are going to try a new format: Under Review Head-to-Head. There are so many darn workout DVDs out there, and many of them are so similar that we thought it would be helpful (and fun) to have them go at it, Battle Royale style. Next time you want to buy a new workout DVD, you'll know what's whack and what isn't. Enjoy!

element Ballet Conditioning

I'm already a huge fan of the element workout DVD series. The title AM and PM Yoga for Beginners was one of my Fitties Runners Up, so I had high hopes for this 50-minute Ballet Conditioning workout. High hopes that were met. This DVD has everything I love about the element series DVDs—a natural environment, great instruction, effective moves—and it does it in a very calming, relaxing way. It's odd; your biscuits are burning like crazy, but the DVD creates a spa-like environment so that you almost feel pampered throughout the torture. The DVD focuses mostly on your lower body and core, and uses lots of ballet moves and ballerina lingo. The instructor herself is a ballerina, telling you to "express yourself with a dancer's grace and beauty" in a slightly hippity-dippity way. Don't get it twisted though, with deep squats and full ab roll-ups and roll-downs, you'll cramp in new places.

FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Instruction: ★★★★★
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★★
Music: ★★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★

Best for: Those who love other DVDs in the element series, enjoy yoga-like instruction and want to feel intense burning.


Just b Method: Attitude Tu
Attitude Tu was my first experience with the Just b Method, which has a totally endearing name and a cute little bee buzzing about as a play on words. I'm always a sucker for a positive method and a play on words. However, it wasn't enough for me to really love this DVD. From the production, you can immediately tell that this DVD had a pretty low budget, and its DVD menu is confusing. (I did appreciate all the sections, just had trouble navigating them and knowing what was first-time instruction versus the workout.) For the workout, you need a band (shown right), a small weighted ball, and you need to be okay with watching lots of dancing women, who all look the same. It's a tad creepy—they all have dark hair that's pulled back and black clothes on, and they're all standing in front of a completely white room. Then a gong randomly goes. Much of the DVD has no music whatsoever, which was also strange. The moves were good, but I seriously did the whole thing with my head cocked to the side, just like my dog does when she hears a weird noise.

FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Instruction: ★★★★
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★★
Music: ★★
Fun Factor: ★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★
Overall: ★★★

Best for:Those who like ballet, contemporary dance, Pilates or group ex. Despite the strangeness and confusing menu, this DVD does have some effective moves.

Pure Barre Pershing Square
Pure Barre has a pretty solid reputation for delivering intense ballet-inspired workout. Their latest title, Pershing Square 1 isn't much different either. It's an intense 45 minutes of thigh, glutes and hip work. For the workout, you need a small ball, matt and a ballet bar or chair to hold on to while your legs beg for mercy. While the workout focuses mostly on the lower body, you also do some planks and tricep dips for an equal-opportunity burn. Note that this workout is pretty darn intense, and not recommended for beginners. We've also heard good things about Pershing Square 2, the second in the series, so consider investing in that one, too.

FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Instruction: ★★★★
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★★★
Music: ★★★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★1/2

Best for: Seasoned Pilates participants, ballet dancers or Lotte Berk Method aficionados.


FIT BOTTOM LINE:All of the above DVDs are solid and have their pros and cons, but for an intense 45-minute ballet-inspired workout, the FBGs declare Pure Barre Pershing Square victorious!


How do ya'll like the new head-to-head format? Tell us in the comments within the next seven days, and we'll enter you to win one of the DVDs reviewed above! U.S. residents only pretty please! — Jenn


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