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Workout Review: Barre Blend

People have been asking for Beachbody to come out with a barre program for years, and now they have—and it was worth the wait! They've put their own unique spin on it by incorporating other styles of movement—Pilates, martial arts, and different styles of dance—to provide an even more well-rounded strength and cardio experience.

The true genius of the program lies in two features, in my opinion: First, each move is shown in three variations (beginner, medium, advanced), allowing you to design your own workout experience according to the intensity level you desire, and to go through the program multiple times having a different experience each time! Second, the level of intensity ramps up gradually so you feel supported the whole time. The first week keeps it very basic, introducing the foundational movements of the program. The second week adds on to those (for example, adding arms to a leg movement or adding a resistance loop to an exercise that was introduced in week 1).

I'm not even halfway through the program and I can already see my body changing. Barre is known for producing a long, lean silhouette, and although I know I'll lose a bit of strength in some exercises, I'm gaining in others. This program works all the small muscles around the shoulders and hips, and works the core from all angles, not only strengthening but teaching us new ways of moving that help stabilize and support our joints.

I recognize a lot of the exercises from courses of physical therapy for shoulder, hip, and pelvic floor issues—so this is truly therapeutic movement! It is low-impact (although the intensifier option does show jumping on quite a few of the moves—but that's a choice for you to make only if it's right for your body). All in all, taking down the intensity actually gives our bodies a chance to recover and rebalance our hormones, so this program is an excellent option for people used to pushing themselves very hard in their workouts, as well as those who are just starting an exercise regimen.

Read more below—and make sure you scroll all the way down to see some before and after pics! You can also follow the journey on Instagram with daily samples of my workouts if you like.

Program length: 8 weeks

Workout length: 30 to 40 minutes a day

What equipment is needed? All you need is a set of weights (1 to 5 lbs is the recommended weight range; I've been using 3 lbs)

How is it structured? In Barre Blend you'll work out five days a week. The program also includes yoga/stretch and foam rolling sessions which I recommend incorporating on the rest days. The titles of the sessions are the same from week to week, but it's a new session each time. For example, the final session of the week is always a leg workout called Lean Legs Blend, the session from week 2 builds on week 1, and the difficulty level continues to increase week by week through week 8—so if you're finding that the intensity is becoming too much, you could repeat a previous week instead of continuing to advance. Each week's sequences of workouts includes total body, booty, cardio, core, and legs. The set of videos also includes an introduction to the ballet positions and terms used in the videos, two 20-minute prep workouts, and five 10-minute enhancements you can use if you're short on time or want to ramp up the intensity of your main workout even a little more.

What kinds of moves are involved? The program combines barre moves (which work the calves, thighs, and booty plenty on their own) with upper body work (low weight with lots of reps for sculpting), Pilates moves for the core, and combos borrowed from different styles of dance and martial arts to bring in more cardio and compound movements.

Low-impact? Yes, the program is entirely low-impact, unless you choose to follow the intensifier and add jumping to certain movements as shown.

Appropriate for beginners? Absolutely, but I also want to emphasize that this is a nice change of pace for people who are already fit, and will provide a whole new type of challenge!

Interested in learning more? Watch my video review or check out the details to enroll. You can also email me at the address in the footer to discuss! Meanwhile, see below for some before and after pics from the program test group!

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