Finally, the time has come to do my first review on Leah Sarago’s Ballet Body DVDs. Yayyyy! I wish you guys could see me right now as I flutter with excitement to spill the truth on these workouts! I mostly have positive things to say about Leah’s routines, but I’m trying to pick out any possible negative aspects that could be used as a word of precaution for those of you who might be beginning exercisers, or if you have weakened bones and muscles due to past injuries. But let’s face it, it is wise to be aware your own fitness level as well as where you stand with your health in the first place, so it goes without saying that Ballet Body should be used with caution as with any other fitness DVD out in the market.
Here is my breakdown on the Upper Body DVD:
- All you need is a yoga mat and a pair of 2-5 lb. dumbbells.
- It is mainly comprised of ballet style exercises, the graceful and gentle moves of pilates, and the concentration and relaxation of a yoga sequence. Let me clarify that the ballet component is not real ballet per se--but more of a ballet conditioning routine.
- The instruction is perfectly on cue and quite precise. It is done in a voice-over fashion rather than the instructor shouting the next cue in your face. She’s pretty serious, but I like that style because it allows me to focus my mind on what I’m doing rather than on the instructor.
- Leah provides modifications for certain exercises.
- It lasts for a total of 45 minutes. 25 minutes are spent doing floor work such as variations of planks, twists, holds, etc. 16 minutes are spent doing standing positions with different dumbbell exercises, which include a deadly amount of pulses and lifts. The last 4 minutes are for stretching and they perfectly target the muscles that have been fatigued. Leah goes deep into the stretches instead of doing them haphazardly, which is something that I’ve noticed many fitness instructors tend to do.
- Leah starts up with a sequence of plank variations and does NOT play around! Within the first minute or so you will probably be sweating due to your still-cold muscles. It’s a tough 1 minute but don’t give up and just keep going!
- She moves on to side plank movements that require you to balance yourself, which provides a good workout for the whole body, including the abdominal muscles, glutes, and legs. She also includes circular movements that are miniscule, yet they effectively fatigue every muscle that is being targeted.
- The standing sequence requires light dumbbells and Leah challenges you to defy your own limits! There are endless amounts of small lifts and pulses, which allow the thinnest and most unknown muscle fibers to be worked out. Thus, resulting in a more “firm” and “elongated” look.
- You will sweat regardless of your fitness level because these moves are as unconventional, yet as effective as they can get.
- The more you practice the more fun it gets!
Things you should be aware of:
- If you have weak wrists you may experience some discomfort, but Leah says that this issue will slowly fade away if you keep at it. After all, the wrist is composed of muscles too, so the more you work them the stronger they will get. If you have something like Tendonitis however, I would strongly suggest that you talk to your doctor first.
- Weak shoulder and back muscles might become more tender at first, so make sure to use the right weight for your level of fitness. I use a 3 lb. dumbbell in each hand.
- Proper form is VERY important to prevent injury since the same muscles are worked to fatigue, so make sure to listen to Leah’s directions.
- You might have to stop several times throughout the routine, but that’s okay! Don’t let that stop you because every time you practice this DVD you will get better—one little pulse at a time. Suddenly one position that was seemingly impossible is quite possible.
I’ve tried the Upper Body DVD two times so far and as you can tell I am pretty stoked about it. The picture above should tell you just how TOUGH this workout is! Pretty much every time I exercise I end up looking sexy like this—drenched in sweat and with cheeks as rosy as a Cabbage Patch Doll. Let me first tell you in all possible humility that I consider myself an advanced exerciser, and it’s all because I am serious when I work out. Also, years of adopting this habit has allowed me to increase my cardiovascular health as well as muscle strength. Even so, this is how I felt after giving this DVD a try for the first time.
I am not certain if it’s all in my head but the last time I saw myself in the mirror I noticed that my arms seemed a bit less muscular. Rather, they looked more firm and toned in the right places. Does that make sense at all? I hope so. Maybe this means that my arms will eventually look longer for this 5’1” gal? Haha, oh the blessings of being short and petite.
Well, I hope my thoughts on Leah Sarago’s work has helped you a bit! Let me know if you have any questions and I will make sure to do my best and answer them.
My hope is that I will stick to these routines and give you more updates in the near future. Next up is my first review for the Lower Body DVD. Have a blessed weekend y’all!
Do you see changes in your physique and in your health after doing Pilates and yoga routines?
What did you think of this breakdown? Do you need more details on it?