On January 18th I subscribed to Ballet Beautiful (custom workout/unlimited access to workout streaming library) with three goals in mind.
(1. I wanted to target my lower back and hips to correct joint issues I was having.
(2. I wanted to increase my flexibility.
(3. I wanted to isolate my core.
Now here I am a week and a half later and I’m ready to give an honest review of the workouts, my results, and my workout plans going forward.
But before I get into the details, I want to specify that I initially customized my workout plan by committing to working out 5-6 hours per week, with a total body emphasis. (FYI, when you sign up for the custom workout plan you can filter the videos by the body parts you want to target. The options are Fat Blaster, Total Body, Arms & Abs, and Legs & Butt.) I wanted to get the most versatile experience possible to be able to give a fully informed review, so I’ve been doing a combination of all MHB’s workouts to target my whole body.
I can honestly say I’ve made significant progress towards each of my three goals. Within 3 days (I kid you not) my lower back issues not only went away, but my back felt better than it has in years. I’m somewhat reluctant to admit that because I’m such a diehard fan of weightlifting but honestly all the CrossFit and deadlifts I’ve done the last few years has done a number on my lower back. Especially deadlifts, which I now avoid altogether. Someday I’d like to do powerlifting again but not without lots of Pilates/Barre work on the side.
My legs feel much stronger, leaner, and more flexible than they have in the past. And I mean stronger in the sense of calisthenic strength – the ability to move my own body with strength, power, grace, and precision. Lifting develops a different kind of strength for moving heavy objects, which also bulks and tones muscles. But Ballet Beautiful is a great way to achieve that lean, muscular, flexible lower body most women want. It’s also a very effective way to slim the hips and thighs if those are your trouble areas.
My hips also feel much better. Prior to BB I’d been having a painful catch in my right hip and my hips (and knees of course) were very tight and painful. The leg workouts have helped strengthen the tiny stabilizing muscles around my hips and knees, but more than that, the lengthening and flexibility aspects of MHB’s workouts have really opened up my joints so they are a lot happier with me. I’m also a lot more flexible in general. It’s hard to explain but I just feel like my body moves easier and more freely than it did 2 weeks ago.
As far as my third goal (targeting my core) I have actually been pleasantly surprised at how well I’ve been able to keep up with the ab workouts. I always underestimate how much suspension training and free weights engage your core even when the exercise you are doing is for your legs or arms. That being said the ab workouts are still great and extremely challenging so I’ll definitely keep those as part of my routine.
I’ll be blunt. I hate the BB arm workouts. I’ve lost a fair amount of muscle in my arms and shoulders, as well as functional strength. Which I kind of expected when I started the workouts – after all, ballerina arms are supposed to be long and skinny and have great endurance, not so much functional strength. That approach just doesn’t work for me. I will say however that if you are looking to lose weight from your arms and tone up all your arm muscles the swan arms workouts will do the trick. So I’m not saying they aren’t a good workout for anyone, they just don’t suit my needs. Which is why I’m cutting BB arm workouts from my program altogether.
For the next week (or more) I’ll be doing 5-6 hours per week of BB leg & butt workouts, with a few core workouts thrown in. For my upper body I’ll alternate between the following two workouts 4-5 times per week. Right now they take about 45 minutes. I don’t plan on speeding them up as they are strength workouts to build upper body muscle. As a general rule, to build muscle and functional strength, do few reps (less than 10) for 3-5 sets, resting 1-2 minutes between sets. Rest is CRUCIAL for strength training.
I know this is a huge time commitment for me but honestly there’s no way I’d rather spend my evenings. I feel my best, brightest, and healthiest after 2 hours of this kind of physical work.
Upper Body Workout #1:
5×8 Single Arm DB Shoulder Press (35#)
5×8 Pike Pushups on Rings
5×8 Chest Press on Rings
A few sets of pull-ups thrown in between sets.
Upper Body Workout # 2:
5x max Ring Support
5×8 Ring Dips
5×8 Ring Push-ups