Barre workouts, Pilates and yoga are all great, but if you’re getting bored with your usual workout, try one of these Booty-ful methods that combine dance and toning for a challenging sweat session that is anything but routine.
Yoga Booty Ballet, now referred to by Beach Body as Yoga Booty Ballet Classic, is near and dear to my heart because it’s the workout that really cemented my interest in ballet and yoga. YBB is not a barre class; rather, creators Gillian Marloth and Teigh McDonough use ballet-inspired movements in concert with yoga and cardio dance to inform their routines, giving you a taste of each. They also adhere to some of the traditional tenets of yoga, such as meditation and ujjayi breath — plus, the choreography segments are a lot of fun.
It does help to have some knowledge of yoga before starting YBB; even the beginner yoga sequence is challenging. A lot of people don’t realize how important it is to have proper form during moves such as Chaturanga, and knowing modifications for even these foundational asanas helps make the workout easier to tailor to your fitness needs. Same with moves from the advanced hatha sequence, which starts off with Pigeon pose, an intense hip opener. There is a basic rehearsal component as well as instruction throughout, but knowing more about the body and muscle engagement definitely helps in successfully performing the moves from the ballet segments. Ultimately, the original YBB DVD feels a bit dated, though it’s still enjoyable. Another facet of YBB is Yoga Booty Ballet Live, a series of classes in a studio setting. Some of these routines have been repackaged as the YBB Ab and Butt Makeover. Each routine is created with a different dance style in mind, such as Cardio Cabaret and Latin Flavor. The choreography is a bit silly at times, but the videos are fun.
Maybe you want to stick to barre but need a little more groove or challenge in your routine. Try The Booty Barre, created by fitness expert Tracey Mallett, which combines barre work with elements of Pilates and a smattering of yoga for a dynamic workout. Mallett explained her method to About.com, saying, “The basic fundamentals of placement and biomechanics is based on Pilates. I've taken classical Pilates moves to the barre and perform them standing utilizing the barre as assistance for balance, but also as a tool to help teach the class awareness by stabilizing the upper shoulder girdle.” I tried the Booty Barre offerings on the BeFit YouTube channel and was initially frustrated by how incomplete the workouts felt; I wouldn’t recommend them for beginners. However, they were intriguing, and I liked Mallett’s general demeanor, so I consulted The Booty Barre Beginners and Beyond DVD, available in hard copy and as a download, and found a fun, effective mash-up of toning and cardio. You think pliés are hard? Try them when you’re pulsing while in demi pointe or relevé — essentially, with your heels off the ground. In fact, YBB features a plié-relevé combo in the advanced workout, but in Booty Barre, it plays a bigger part. Mallett has also included a 10-minute tutorial that goes over proper form. She explains positions in clear language that’s helpful even for those who have some barre knowledge, as it reinforces those basic postures and muscle movements.
The Express Workout included in the Beginners and Beyond DVD may be for beginners, but that does not mean it’s easy. There will be sweat. Lots of sweat. The Booty Barre requires coordination and balance, so your entire body is being challenged, and modifications are demonstrated throughout for beginners as well as those who are ready to progress to the intermediate level. There is no muscle that won’t be activated, and you’ll really be able to apply what you’ve learned in the tutorial in this workout without feeling rushed. Mallett throws some sassy hip swivels into the mix and suddenly, your sweat session has become a party. The Total Fitness DVD contains a 15-minute abs segment that boasts its fair share of pelvic thrusts.
These workouts, especially Booty Barre, require ankle strength, so if you do not have strong ankles or have any issues, definitely talk to your doctor — something you should do before beginning any new workout. Also, take great care when working with weights. In fact, the YBB disclaimer mentions that exercisers should wear shoes when performing the segment that utilizes hand weights.
Try one of these fun Booty exercise techniques and shake up your workout!