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4.4 out of 5 stars
Element: Ballet Conditioning [DVD]
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51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on 4 December 2009
Really good but very tough, my msucles were aching the next day...but in a good way!!
Really works on toning your thighs and core muscles, relentless but good. Probably hard for those who are not that fit though, but it does get easier with every go.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 19 February 2012
This is one of the best low impact DVD workouts that I have recently purchased. Make no doubt that it is still a very tough workout, and will work all the thigh, glutes, and quad muscles to exhaustion. If you want to re-gain strength and flexibility back in your legs, without high impact and to shape them well, this is the video workout for you. I am now thinking of taking on a pure Barr workout after having done this one and realizing how beneficial it can be, especially for someone like me re-rehabilitating from an injury which needs gradual strength training in the coming months. You can either play this with the soothing voice of Elise Gulan, or simply have the volume off and play classical music on in the background to make you feel like you are really in a ballet class.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 11 September 2009
This dvd is really good for toning expecially the legs it's presented well and easy to follow. I am taking it slowly and building up my range of movement. This is a great dvd espcially for beginners and really enjoyable.
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80 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on 9 November 2009
Oh my God, thins workout is so hard!!! But amazing! Probably not great if your fitness is low but if you have lost a bit of weight and need to tone up then this is for you! My bum was higher after the first go and it does get easier every time you do it. A word of warning- the ab exercises are relentless but if you end up looking like the girl in the DVD then they are certinally worth perservering!!!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 12 June 2011
I bought this DVD because I wish I was a ballerina. Thinking it looked easy because it only required pretty little kicks here and there and bouncing on your toes I thought I would give it a try. How wrong was I. It really works your body. I couldn't finish the sequences and the toe movements nearly killed me. However not wanting to waste my money I stuck with it. By the 5th attempt I found I was getting better. I feel fitter, stronger and taller. And my bum is so nice. It requires a bit of work and willpower but the end result is amazing.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on 9 June 2012
I am practicing Pilates for some years now, on a daily basis and I've been frantic about the 10-minute DVD series, particularly those of Suzanne Bowen. Those of you who know the series and use them in their practice would probably experience the same perplexity I felt when I first watched this film.
The very first feeling is that you are watching an workout filmed in slow-movement, which may seem really dull for a person used to a certain speed and endurance in her training. Then you try it and you discover that in spite of all your previous training, you are not even able to reach the end of the first chapter and that your legs are burning and the pain in your thighs won't leave you for several days.

I have never practiced ballet in my life and I never felt sorry for that until I became addicted to this DVD. However, it took me over 6 months of constant practice to be able to do the entire workout at once and only from that moment on you start to understand and realize the full benefits of it. It is probable that only from that moment on a more correct practice is being developed - and for this reason I consider that this DVD is not suitable for beginners (who might mistake the apparently sluggish rhythm with a beginners' program). As a matter of fact, I came to believe that this DVD would serve best those who have a Pilates previous experience and some knowledge on breathing techniques as well as the specific Pilates stamina. The dancer-trainer's guidance throughout the program is quite minimal and quite obviously meant for those with previous training. They would indeed benefit the most.

It took me all this time to realize the achievements in the body of such an apparently simple gesture as the one she calls "tendu" - which looks just like stretch of the leg. Such simple stretch of the leg has a similar effect though with the one a plank position gives - an overall active body in a standing position, and this reads in strong legs, flat abs and a powerful yet slender body.

In time, an incredible strength develops in your legs; but long before that, an overnight transformation occurs to your back and belly, who start working in some magical synergy and you discover that you're taller - although it's just the fact that you're now sitting with a straight back and withdrawn abdominals. In time, the workout also induces a sense of grace and elegance into your movements and in this respect the dancer/trainer is really inspirational.

So, to conclude: the workout is tough, is highly effective and it gives such "side effects" as grace and a wonderful feeling of calm and self-control. And even a desire to start attending a real ballet course!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 19 November 2013
Ive reviewed this alongside Xtend Barre : Ballet Workout - I alternate between the two, daily.

Ballet Conditioning is more about stretching - and deep muscle work outs.#
All you need is a chair and 55 mins --- though the dvd is structured so you can do as much or as little as you can manage time and effort wise.

The setting is outside under a bright, sunny sky so makes you feel sunny too.

As a just turned 60yr old, somewhat overweight and sedentary .. I don't get the leg extensions to the length of a lifetime dancer but the expended effort is probably equal. And I am noticing the difference.

Some aerobic in this to get your heart rate up - but an alternative lower level if you are not ready for that.

Most importantly - it is fun!
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 16 August 2012
I've been using this dvd for a few months and have been very pleased with the results. Toned up and it has helped my other sports immensely. Was quite nervous about trying it, it was pretty tough to begin with but have definitely noticed my limbs have lengthened.

I had a look at the 1 and 2 star reviews and would like to say:
1.) I don't know why people who do ballet criticise this workout, the dvd clearly is inspired by ballet but also incorporates a few small bits of yoga. It's not meant to be for people who are experienced in ballet, it's for people who want to tone up.
2.) To those who criticised the instructor for not being super thin. Are you crazy? She's not a professional ballerina anymore, but a fitness instructor. Her image is one of health and fitness, most professional ballerinas are underweight.

If you're looking for a challenging but still accessible ballet inspired routine, this is a great dvd. If you're looking for full-blown ballet training with "real ballerinas" who have perfect technique and look super-skinny, this dvd will be too mainstream for you. The results have been great and I would recommend this to anyone who wants to tone up without bulking up.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 9 January 2013
I do love workout DVDs and have a whole shelf full to testify to that. Two or three years ago (who knows, I can't believe it is 2013 already) I got really into Jillian Michaels and really went nuts on her until my body just couldn't take it anymore. My knees were feeling it, my shoulders ached even when I tried to sleep and I was getting RSI in my right arm. Take nothing away from Jillian--I think she is awesome and if I needed to shed some pounds I would turn to her again in a instant. She certainly gave me muscles! My body was aching though so I had to look around and that's when I saw Elise. The first time I tried the DVD about a year ago I didn't think I'd be able to finish it. Honestly I wasn't unfit but she demanded things of my legs that they just weren't used to. As I went on with her I found that I was getting a totally different muscle tone than I had with Jillian, more even and less bulky. Forgive a little vanity here, but I think maybe my legs have never looked this good and I actually have an ass now. Like all good workout DVDs the more fit I get with her the harder it gets because you can really do the moves properly. I used to really suffer from back/neck/head ache and I'm not saying I am cured or anything but a year of Element with the odd day of Pilates thrown in (try that 10 Minute Rapid Results--love her!) and I am a changed woman. I visit my massage therapist sister every summer and this past summer she couldn't believe the change in my body. She said that my wonky hips were actually nearly even now and she could see that symmetry all through my legs and back as well.
I remember back when I was reading the reviews for this someone was having a moan about the music track. I actually think it's better than most fitness DVDs, it's just the usual ambient/dance stuff, nothing special but surely not negative at all unless you totally hate that kind of thing which would be a bummer because I think it is unavoidable. It is very slick and lovely, nicely done all around, for those familiar with them it's polished in the way that Rodney Yee DVDs are.
I did splurge last time I was in America and bought a couple other ballet DVDs since I liked Element so much. Oh my lord, seriously I can't say I have tried every single one but they ones I did were not even in the same league, totally amateur.
OOh and one last thing, I have never ever in my life been able to walk in heels. I have always had them but they are strictly point-to-point affairs. Anyway, wore some at Christmas and couldn't believe I could actually properly walk in them, same shoes that I used to wobble about it but apparently having a strong core and my newly powerful legs has another bonus!
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77 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2010
I would thoroughly recommend this DVD. The workout is extremely difficult but I like this as I prefer to have something to aim for to keep me motivated. The legs and gluteal exercises are especially demanding with many plies and leg lifts. These two sections are followed by a heart rate raising serious of jumps and kicks. The last section is a pilates based core/abs section. This is again very challenging and I still haven't managed to successfully finish it. The workout begins and ends with some well needed stretches. If you're looking to lose a lot of weight this DVD is probably not for you as it is not cardio-driven. But if you are looking for a workout that will sculpt and tone the muscles, strengthen the core and improve flexibility and posture then this DVD is definitely for you!
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