BarreAmped Boot Camp Review

Get boot camp results with a barre class

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BarreAmped Boot Camp DVD. BarreAmped

Barre workouts are everywhere these days, and while many mainstream gyms haven't started offering their own versions of these ballet-inspired classes, barre studios seem to be popping up on every corner, with barre DVDs proliferating online.

I'm a fan of barre workouts - they're tough, they work your muscles in ways most people aren't used to, and they're great for the core. The one thing I'm not a fan of is the idea that these workouts are the "be all, end all" solution to every fitness woe.

 

The truth is, most bar workouts won't raise your heart rate enough to qualify as a form of cardiovascular exercise. And while they're great for muscular endurance, they're not designed to significantly increase muscular strength - the range of motion is too limited and the weight too light to qualify.

That's not to say you shouldn't do them, you should just do them in conjunction with other forms of exercise to develop a well-rounded level of fitness.

More: Barre Workouts - What's the Hype? 

The BarreAmped DVD Experience

For these reasons I was excited to try the BarreAmped Boot Camp DVD. While the DVD description wasn't overly descriptive, when a workout uses the phrase "boot camp," I typically assume that means there will be more strength training involved.

Clear Workout Segments

Like most barre DVDs, the class is split into segments - warm up, arm workout, thigh workout, glute workout, core workout, and stretching.

You can perform each segment individually, or you can play the full class back-to-back. This is a nice feature for individuals who are short on time and can only make time for one segment.

Focused, Isometric Movements

There's a keen focus on "shaking to change." Essentially this means many of the exercises are performed isometrically - you move into a designated position, then you stop and hold it for a period of time.

As the muscles become tired, they start shaking, making it difficult to continue to hold the position. These isometrics are typically combined with slow or small changes in position, that further "burn out" the muscles at a given range of motion.

Additional Strength Training Exercises

The thing that sets the BarreAmped DVD apart from most barre DVDs is that the creator incorporates more "traditional" strength training exercises, such as circuit-style series of lunges and squats with subsequent kicks or overhead extensions that use full range of motion. Aside from working muscle groups through their full range, these circuits are designed to raise the heart rate for periods of cardiovascular work. 

By the end of the 71-minute workout (including the warm up and stretching portions), I felt spent - I have no doubt I achieved a significant cardio workout in addition to the strengthening benefits of the barre routine.

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Workout Pros:

  • Tough workout, definitely raised my heart rate and challenged my major muscle groups
  • Good demonstration of the exercises by all three instructors
  • Good options for modifications to make the exercises easier or more difficult
  • Easy-to-navigate segments that made the workout customizable based on time

Workout Considerations:

  • The class does incorporate equipment - a chair and lightweight dumbbells - into the routine. I don't own super lightweight dumbbells, so I grabbed a couple bottles of water from my fridge to use instead.
  • There were moments when I questioned the instructor's grasp of human musculature. She would say "front of the arm" or "back of the leg" instead of referring to the biceps or hamstrings. I couldn't tell if she was doing this for the benefit of the exercisers, or if she didn't know the names of the muscles. My guess is that she was doing it for the benefit of the exercisers, but I would have preferred she use the DVD as an opportunity to educate her audience, "You'll be working the front of your arm, or your biceps, as you perform this exercise."It may seem nit-picky, but it kept throwing me off as I was following along.

If you're not as interested in home workout DVDs, you can also check the BarreAmped website to see if there's a BarreAmped studio in your area - it's an official class that's offered across the US and around the world.

Head to the Barre: Everything You Need to Get Started >>

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