Updated December 31, 2015
In case you haven’t heard, barre workouts are very powerful and are notorious for their ability to change your body quickly.
On this page, I have listed *my* 5 favorite barre workouts and the reasons why I like them.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, there are many more out there, and lots of new ones popping up everyday. I try to keep this list updated with the “best of the best” barre DVDs as I become aware of them!
The key is to find the one you like doing, with the least amount of dread factor, so that you will stick with it.
Hopefully, this list will help you decide which barre DVD(s) you might like.
So here they are, in no particular order:
1. Physique 57
Physique 57 combines ballet moves and barre work with Pilates-based poses. It’s probably most famous for being Kelly Ripa’s workout of choice. It is a very high energy, fun workout. You definitely won’t be bored.
The Physique 57 Volume 1 Workout Kit comes with these 3 discs:
- Classic 57 Minute Workout
- Express 30 Minute Full Body Workout
- Arm and Ab Booster 30 Minute Workout
The Physique 57 Volume 2 Workout Kit comes with these 3 discs:
- Classic 57 Minute Full Body Workout
- Express 30 Minute Full Body Workout
- Thigh & Seat Booster 30 Minute Workout
The main difference between Volume 1 and 2 is that Volume 1 has the arm and ab booster DVD, and Volume 2 has the thigh and seat booster.
I have also heard that Volume 2 seems to focus more on the glutes, whereas Volume 1 seems to just be more leg and thigh focused overall. You can read my full Physique 57 review here.
I guess it basically comes down to which area of your body you would like to focus on the most.
I used Physique 57 Volume 2 to lose my pregnancy weight, and let me tell you it came off FAST.
I also really like the fact that the set includes two 30 minute workouts. As a new mom, I used these 30 minute workouts a lot because they were all I had time for, and I think that is what really kept me motivated and consistent.
And even though they are only 30 minutes long, don’t let it fool you into thinking they are any less intense. In fact, I think they are actually MORE intense, BECAUSE they are shorter.
Physique 57 is probably the most fun out of all of the barre workouts. The time really does go by fast.
Some people don’t like the silliness of Tanya Becker, the instructor. She is enthusiastic and very goofy. She can be kind of corny at times, but I think it makes the workout unique and keeps it interesting.
Also, while these workouts are low impact, they are very high energy. There is a definite cardio component to them. In fact, if you do them consistently, you will NOT need to do cardio separately – nice if you hate doing repetitive, boring cardio like I do!
Needless to say, if you are looking for something more low key, this may not be the right fit for you.
2. The Bar Method
The Bar Method combines small, very precise movements and barre work with Pilates moves and yoga stretches. It is extremely powerful, and gives quick results.
Kelly Osbourne used The Bar Method to help her drop 42 pounds.
I have to say that I really love the Bar Method just as much, if not more than Physique 57. I used to take live Bar Method classes, so that may have something to do with my bias ;).
Although all barre workouts are based on the principles of Lotte Berk, Physique 57 and Bar Method differ in the way they are done.
As I mentioned earlier, Physique 57 is pretty intense. Not only is it high energy and fast paced, many of the movements have a larger range of motion, which really gets your heart rate to skyrocket.
The Bar Method, on the other hand, is slower with very small, VERY precise movements – but it’s not any less effective. You will find yourself getting symptoms of the fat burning “flush” (red splotchy skin) while at the same time trying to catch your breath.
It’s these powerful precise movements that are responsible for reshaping your body so quickly.
Before I started taking live Bar Method classes, I decided to try the DVDs first. I was doing The Bar Method Change Your Bodyand Accelerated Workout when I started getting asked if I was a dancer.
So I can tell you first hand that these workouts definitely live up to their claims of being able to give you a dancer’s body.
You can learn more about The Bar Method style here.
Barre Amped is fairly new on the scene, I think it was released sometime in 2014. I am hearing very good things about these!
I have plans to eventually purchase and review them, but I haven’t gotten over my love affair with Classical Stretch and Essentrics yet!
What I can tell you is that I have a couple of workouts from Suzanne Bowen (the instructor of BarreAmped), and I really like them. She is an excellent instructor, very likeable, and puts together tough routines.
From what I understand, these workouts have the intensity of a live barre class – which, if you’ve ever been to one, then you know why this is a highly sought after trait. Live barre classes slay you and melt fat off of your body in record time.
So any DVD that can give you the intensity of a live barre class can pretty much guarantee you will lose weight fairly quickly, and I’m all for it!
Here are a couple of clips of her two barre DVDs so you can check them out:
4. Essentrics and/or Classical Stretch (*New Addition for 2016)
Essentrics is fairly new on the scene and is gaining some traction. However, it’s predecessor Classical Stretch has been around for quite some time. Classical Stretch episodes used to air on PBS (American public television programming) every morning – actually I think they still do. It’s funny though, because hearing “FREE” on public television just didn’t sound very exciting to me, like it would be boring and not effective.
I have been humbled, let me tell you.
If you’ve read my most recent post, you would already know that these workouts are my current obsession because of the slimming and elongation I am getting.
These workouts are the PERFECT compliment to any barre workout DVD because they go deeper, and further what barre workouts encourage – stretching after strengthening for maximum toning benefits.
I cannot even begin to emphasize here the MANY benefits of these workouts, weight loss being a huge one. They are VERY powerful and deceivingly easy.
And get this – since doing these Essentrics exclusively for 5 months my muscle tone has IMPROVED…much to my shock and amazement. My abs are very flat and definitely more toned.
I am sore after every workout, and I break a light sweat…especially with the Classical Stretch workouts. These DVDs are higher priced, but totally worth the investment.
For Classical Stretch, Season 8 and 9 are great for weight loss. As far as Essentrics goes, the newest workout, Essentrics Full Body Toning is VERY intense, and I highly recommend it for overall fat loss and toning. You can also read about my other favorite Essentrics DVDs here.
Check out this video, maybe you’ll find that you like their style:
Classical Stretch – The Esmonde Technique: The Complete Season 8 – Age Defying Series:
Essentrics Workout: Class of 2012 with Sahra Esmonde-White:
5. Ballet Body Signature Series
These workouts by Leah Sarago are NO JOKE! You will be screaming for mercy and might even start throwing things at the TV ;).
Although the Ballet Body workouts are not for the faint of heart, don’t be intimidated by them.
It’s just that Leah will challenge you in ways you have never experienced before. She uses lots of unique moves that will hit your muscles from different angles.
I think her DVDs are just as challenging as any live barre class you could take. As I mentioned before, I used to take live barre classes (they’re too expensive now that I’m not working) and her videos are right up there with the live classes in terms of difficulty.
She currently has 4 DVDs:
- Ballet Body Signature Series Lower Body Workout – (You can read my review for the lower body workout here).
- Ballet Body Signature Series Upper Body Workout
- Ballet Body Signature Series Core Body Workout
- Ballet Body Signature Series: Total Body
Leah does a voice over in her videos, but I don’t think her workouts are boring. I like her choice of music too.
Here’s a clip of the Ballet Body Core Workout:
6. *BONUS* – The Ballet Physique
Okay, I know I said this list was my top 5 barre DVDs, but I just had to add The Ballet Physique workout collection because they’re so awesome :)!
The Ballet Physique is like Physique 57 meets The Bar Method. There are large moves that get your heart pumping, but also VERY precise and targeted movements that get DEEP in the muscles and fatigue them. Your muscles will be burning and shaking, no lie.
I have to say that I was very surprised at how hard I was working. The workouts are a bit deceiving because they seem simple, but the sequence of moves and pulsing pushes you to the edge.
There are two workouts included in the set – Amped Up and Signature Sculpt.
Amped is faster paced, with a focus on cardio and fat burning. The Signature Sculpt is a little slower (no easier) but with more emphasis on sculpting. So the videos are a nice compliment to one another when you use them on alternating days.
I love the upper body segments in both workouts. Sometimes the upper body segments in barre workouts leave a lot to be desired. But these are great, and they hit the triceps very good.
Here is a video clip from the Amped Up Workout:
If you are new to barre workouts, be sure to check out my list of the best barre workout DVDs for beginners.
If you feel that you need a little extra help figuring out which workouts to choose and how to rotate them, be sure to sign up for my FREE Guide to Weight Loss with Barre Workout DVDs. This is where I will give you exclusive tips, not found on the blog, about how you can ensure you get the results you seek with your barre workouts!
Make 2016 your best year ever!