Element: Ballet Conditioning
with trainer Elise Gulan
You will love it if:
Elise Gulan is pleasant and encouraging, and reminds you that you do not need to perform the workout as gracefully and flexibly as her. The work comes from the intention of lifting your leg (not how high you are lifting it), and your flexibility will improve with practice. This video tones and lengthens your muscles through a series of graceful ballet conditioning moves. It will challenge your flexibility and your muscles while making you feel like a dancer. (Of course, if you are horribly inflexible, you might feel more like Quasimodo than Anna Pavlova when you first attempt these exercises.)
The video is no impact with the exception of a very short (5 minute) section of moderate impact jumps; you could easily switch the jumps out with squats or plies if you want to avoid the impact. It focuses on working your quadriceps, gluteals, and hip flexors and includes a section of intense abdominal work at the end. You will do a bit of calf work while rising up and down on your toes or standing on your toes. And you will be holding your arms out to the side or above your head throughout the workout, so they will get a bit of a workout as they resist gravity to maintain that position.
The quadricep work you do in the “Thigh Work” segment of this workout is insane! Normally, the only time my quadriceps hurt that much is when I’m doing some deep plyometrics. So if you want to feel the burn of a plyometrics workout without the impact, you will love the “Stretches and Thigh Work” segment of this workout.
In this video, a chair is used to help with balance. I usually perform the video without the chair and can easily do most of the moves. However, there are a few moves where you lift your leg parallel to the ground; they are a bit awkward without the chair.
The workout does not require much space. If you can fully extend each leg in every direction (forward, to the side, and backward) while standing, you will have enough space.
You will need to be able to perform movements such as leg lifts, calf raises, pliés, and crunches easily to start this program. (You will perform numerous repetitions of each during the workout.) You should also be able to stand and walk around easily for at least 40 minutes and have good enough balance to easily stand on one leg for 30-60 seconds. Good flexibility is also recommended but not mandatory. You will need to be able to raise your leg straight out (at a 90* angle from your body) at hip height in order to perform the moves with proper form. You can still use this workout if you are not that flexible, and Elise Gulan encourages you to simply lift your leg as high as you can—whether that is high into the air or only a few inches.
What NOT to Expect
This DVD will not provide you with cardiovascular or strength training. It is designed to be a toning and stretching video that primarily challenges your quadriceps, gluteals, hip flexors, and abdominal muscles.
Do not expect to be dancing. All of the movements in the video are actual ballet moves, and the workout is very graceful. But, like the title says, this is ballet conditioning. The movements are slow and controlled, and this workout is not a choreographed ballet dancing workout.
How does Element: Ballet Conditioning compare to other similar programs?
If you want more of a choreographed ballet dance workout, try New York City Ballet Workout 2. It is good for someone who loves ballet and wants a video that will “trick” you into working out while practicing your ballet dancing. The routine in New York City Ballet Workout 2 is a bit challenging to follow at first, but it feels a lot more like actual dancing once you get the hang of it. If you love dancing but want something less ballet like, try Shaun Ts Rockin’ Body, Hip Hop Abs, or Zumba Fitness Total Body Transformation.
This workout DVD is similar to Xtend Barre: Lean & Chiseled in that it really challenges your quadriceps and abdominals. The main difference between the two is that Element: Ballet Conditioning moves more slowly and feels a bit more like ballet dancing—so it challenges your hip flexors and hip flexibility much more, feels much more graceful, and has less cardio conditioning. Xtend Barre: Lean & Chiseled uses light handweights and much more movement so you will get a better arm and cardiovascular workout. If you just want an intensive toning video or want to focus more on your gluteal muscles, try Body Beautiful: Total Body Workout—it will give you the long, lean look of a dancer without the cardio conditioning. The gluteal work in Body Beautiful: Total Body Workout is insane!
MORE CARDIO & ARM TONING
Xtend Barre: Lean & Chiseled
MORE CORE WORK
Ballet Body Core Workout
& LESS TONING
New York City Ballet Workout 2
REQUIRES LESS FLEXIBILITY
Xtend Barre: Lean & Chiseled
MORE FUN BUT NOT BALLET
Hip Hop Abs Ultimate Results
EASIER BUT NOT BALLET
Zumba Fitness Total Body Transformation