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DVD Review: Xtend Barre Lean & Chiseled

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Barre workouts are HOT, and this workout trend doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon. Once available only in posh gyms and exclusive studios, barre workouts are not popping up in big box gyms across the country, and they are as varied in their moves and styles as their instructors and branded names.
What I love about the barre workouts and DVDs I've tried is the variety. I've been doing strength training since I was in middle school, and quite frankly, it gets boring to me over time. So for me, a barre workout is a new and different way to strengthen and challenge my body that isn't the same old stuff I've done for years. Plus, barre workouts are infused with so many of the elements of Pilates (my favorite workout of all time), like core engagement; lengthening of the limbs, spine and muscles; control and precision. I love these things about Pilates; they allow you to constantly push yourself to a new level of mastery, and forget about your day because you're so focused in the moment.
Acacia recently sent me one of their barre DVDs, Xtend Barre®: Lean & Chiseled ($12.49, This 55-minute DVD is the creation of Andrea Rogers, a professional dancer and choreographer turned Pilates and fitness instructor. Find out if it's right for you.

What They Say
"The Xtend Barre Workout is a fast-paced, 55-minute full body immersion that fuses dance, Pilates and sculpting exercises at the ballet barre to give you a chiseled body – and fast! The Xtend Barre system sculpts the body proportionally so that all body parts are equally challenged. This total body workout serves to strengthen, lengthen, and stretch the body from top to bottom, from inside out. The end result is a long and lean physique...without added bulk. Developed from a dance / Pilates background, the Xtend Barre workout combines the amazing results of dance with the principles of strength and safety in Pilates."
What I Thought:
First off, I really enjoyed Andrea's instruction and personality. She was fun to work out with! I liked her tone of voice, her simple encouragement and her high-impact cues that really helped me grasp the movement and the purpose of each exercise. (You may recognize her from the fun 10-Minute Solution: Dance Your Body Thin DVD, also a good one in my book.) The exercises slowly progress in speed, so she starts you slower to get the movement, then speeds it up and then shows some advanced challenges that are optional. All the while, one exerciser always shows a modified range of motion, which I found to be very helpful.
The DVD can be broken up into individual segments for warm-up (it was slightly too fast-paced for my liking), arms, legs, abs/core, and cool down/stretch. I did all segments back-to-back. It even includes a bonus video that explains more on the form and positions, which was very helpful. The video clip below shows a little bit from each section to give you an idea.

The arms section recommends 1-2 pound hand weights. The lightest weights I have at home were 6 pounds—a little too difficult! I'd really recommend a lighter weight or maybe a couple of water bottles if you don't have weights that small. But I did my best and swapped in a couple cans of beans when I got too tired. It focuses mostly on the biceps and triceps. I actually wish the arm segment was longer and did more with the shoulders and back, too, so I was just slightly underwhelmed by this section. But the exercises that it did include were still challenging and interesting.

The lower body section was great—all the pliés (squats) and relevés (heel raises) you'd expect from a barre workout. You use just a chair for balance on this segment. It wasn't as hard to me as Tracey Mallet's Booty Barre DVD, in which I had to stop and rest throughout, but it still burned my muscles and left my butt sore two whole days later.  

The core and abs section was short, but intense. You'll need a mat for this unless you have a cushy floor. It was very Pilates-like, but with some new twists on moves that I really enjoyed.  I did have to stop and rest during this one, but I probably could have just tried the modified versions instead of trying to be so hard core.
Overall, I thought the Xtend Barre DVD was a little less intimidating and less complicated than the first DVD I reviewed, making it better for a person who is newer to exercise or has less Pilates and dance experience. I don't mean that in a bad way: I thoroughly enjoyed it, and even liked the music. If you're interested in trying a barre workout, this is a great title to start with.
Are you interested in barre workouts? Have you tried any before? How does the Xtend workout look to you?
Photo Credit: Acacia

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This is an amazing workout! Just what I needed today. I love the challenge and I am not a young chickweed anymore! Since 2010 I have been working out consistently and see the weight go up when I don't switch up my routine so this DVD is a wonderful addition to my workout collection. Thanks Nicole for your input! Report
Sorry, this is a silly-looking workout with very silly selling points. I'll stick to the Insanity workout. I see marked results from that workout every, single day. And it don't make ridiculous claims of 'lengthening your muscles" . Ladies, it's harder to bulk up than you think.

Myth #5: Certain forms of exercise build long, lean muscles.

The Truth: Many forms of exercise claim to lengthen the muscles or develop "lean" muscles, not bulky ones. But here's a truth that may be shocking to some: To put it another way, no form of exercise makes muscles "longer" because your muscles do notóand will notórespond to exercise by getting longer. It's just not how they work. Muscles are a certain length because they attach to your bones. A wide variety of movements and exercises can help you strengthen your muscles without necessarily making them bigger. In fact, you can develop a lot of muscular strength without your muscles ever increasing in size (girth).

That said, exercises such as yoga, Pilates, dance and barre classes can help to increase your flexibility (improving your range of motion at certain joints) and your posture, which can give you the illusion of feeling and looking longer or taller. But lengthening? Not possible. Claims like these are just trying to appeal to people who fear bulking up.

from "Toning vs Bulking Up: The Real Facts"

I have been wondering I there are barre workouts out there! I was in dance lessons from Kindergarten through my Senior year of high school and towards the end I really had some serious workmto do to keep up. I also love how those workouts shaped my upper body, something that stuck with me until two years ago! I want it back!!! Thank you for sharing this resource with everyone. Report
Thanks for the review. I'll have to think about it some more. I want to be sure I'll actually attempt it before I buy it.
Coach Nicole, how would I log this exercise video in the tracker? Report
i just ordered this from amazon for 8$. looks like it will be a good one! Report
I have all the DVDs money can buy (with the exception of the P.I.N.K. Method). I love the X-Tend Barre video and do it with regularity. I wear my Polar heart monitor and enter my results into the cardio section on the Fitness Tracker. I burn at least 350 calories for each 50-55 minute workout -- I'm still working on completing the abs section. I also have both volumes of Physique 57 and enjoy them. I just need to get Nicole's DVD to add to my arsenal. Report
Looking forward to adding this DVD to my workout library. Report
Hey Nicole - LOVE LOVE LOVE the new picture of you. You look so fresh and happy. Report
Oooh, sounds good! But to be honest, I have so many workout DVDs and a few of them I haven't tried yet (which I'm ashamed to say!). I think if I wanted a dance / barre related workout DVD, I would get this one but probably not any time soon. Thanks for the review though! It's always good to see new potentially good workout DVDs. Report
Thanks for highlighting this DVD in such a succinct and specific review - and for featuring Collage Videos' preview, as I really appreciate them as a company. I studied ballet into my teens and still enjoy it, so may very well give this a whirl.

Thank you! I need low-impact for my 60 year old bones/frame, and this looks like something I can handle!

I'm off to Amazon to purchase! Report
It looks like loads of fun. Report
Thank you, Nicole! I am going to order it right away....I am always looking for something new and getting your opinion. Report
I have seen this DVD advertised but didn't give it a second thought until I saw your review here. Was really glad I read your review and that you had video clips from that DVD for us to see what this was really like. I was sure I was going to dismiss it but now I'm really interested in not only this but will now consider adding pilates into my workouts as well! I really liked Andrea's instructional guidance, her tone of voice and encouragement and personality. She makes it look doable and fun. Great review!! Report
I'm not interested in buying a "Barre". I like videos by Joyce Vedral, Denise Austin and Taebo with Billy Blanks. They are easy to do at home. Report
I'm so glad to have seen this - it's so much more doable than I thought it would be. Love the light weights, the use of a chair and the pace. I'm going to try it! So how do I track the barre minutes? Hmmmm Report
A few years ago I did classes called Bal-Pi. I loved it. It was GREAT for my back! When I didn't go, my back started to hurt so I started again. The first part was ballet while keeping your posture in line and we transitioned into pilates. All levels were there. The teacher would give the seasoned students a little higher difficulty. It sounds alot like what you wrote about. Report
May have to go buy this one as I was taking a ballet class when I got hurt and now need to change up my workouts. I love the way you review, honestly and giving your perspective!!! Thank you Nicole!!! Report
My barre workout is an actual ballet class. It's wonderful, and anyone who likes pilates and barre workouts might be interested in checking out local ballet studios for adult beginner classes. Report
I've never tried a Barre workout. I want to look into this. Thanks for the review. Report
Thanks for the review! I like barre workouts quite a bit, so I am looking forward to your thoughts on Physique 57 before I make the investment. Report
My experiences have been at Pure Barre and another small local studio (Vie Fit). I always felt like I was getting a great total-body workout in an hour. But one of my favorite aspects were the instructors who come around and correct form--you'd be surprised how many ways there are to "cheat" and how difficult many exercises are when done properly. Nonetheless, the routines in live classes are mostly the same, so once you are good about form a DVD would save loads of money. Report
@GLEBE29 I just received Physique 57 and plan to try them soon. Review coming!

@ROBERTAN1 As the video shows, you simply use a chair. Report
I haven't tried this but I have tried the Bar Method workouts- they gave me noodle legs for two days afterward, to the point where people at work were asking if I was ok! Barre (or in my case, chair) work is no joke! Report
So this only works if you have access to a barre in your house near a TV/DVD? I'm confused how this works in a typical home environment... Report
Thanks for this! I love my Booty Barre workout that I bought after reading your review of that one. It makes me sweat more than Jillian Michaels without all the jumping. Would love to read an unbiased review of the Physique 57 DVDs as well. They are a similar workout, but more expensive to buy. Report
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