1. For total-body toning (No bulky muscles here)
The Booty Barre with Tracey Mallett (Tracey Mallett) 60 minutes; $20
What you get: Four exercise segments (including a warm-up) of various lengths to tone and stretch your butt, abs, back, legs, arms and shoulders. It’s a fresh blend of standing and lying-down exercises inspired by Pilates, calisthenics, yoga and ballet, as well as other dance forms. This relatively new workout approach is based on using a ballet barre while exercising, but in this DVD, chairs are used instead.
Intensity level: To me, it felt like easy to moderate cardio, and moderate to challenging toning exercises. If you haven’t worked out in a while, it might feel tougher because of all the repetitions you need to do.
Highlights: Instructor Tracey Mallett-a Los Angeles-based Pilates instructor and star of multiple fitness DVDs-is encouraging and clear, and the total-body toning moves are creative yet sensible. The highlight of this DVD is its signature 30-minute “Booty Barre” workout: I really felt the leg lifts, lunges and pliés in my hips and butt, and it got my heart pumping, too.
My tip: I liked that this workout is done barefoot (it makes getting started even easier). However, I felt more comfortable wearing protective shoes during the 10-minute arm-sculpting segment with hand weights, just in case I dropped one on my toes.
You’ll need: A sturdy chair to hold on to for balance during the leg and butt exercises, plus three- to five-pound dumbbells. A yoga mat is optional.