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A perfect bum—so gorgeous yet so hard to achieve. If you’re in pursuit of that ideal contour, there’s good news. You absolutely can have the butt you want. It’s just going to take some work… Read more

 


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The Method to Your Madness


The Bar Method, America’s newest workout craze, has gained tremendous popularity over the past few years, especially for creating perfectly chiseled butts. Actually, a well-tested exercise approach, it can theoretically offer you two things: longer, leaner muscles and the strength of an athlete.

 

A complete Bar Method workout lasts one hour and should be done 3-5 times a week. You start with a basic muscle warm-up, followed by free-weight exercises and push-ups, then intense leg and butt work at the ballet bar, followed by abdominal work at the bar and on mats. As if that weren’t enough to earn you the right to a cup of soft-frozen yogurt with granola on top, you finish with active stretching to elongate muscles.

 

Sounds crazy, but then the Bar Method can boast crazy results. By mixing ballet bar work (and ballet-inspired precision) with aerobics, Pilates and yoga—it gives you a total-body workout aimed at toning and lifting muscles in the butt, arms and abdomen. Muscles are elongated while you burn fat.

 

You’re likely to leave each class a little shaky. Still, Bar Method enthusiasts insist that at the end of the 60 minutes, they feel completely invigorated. After six weeks of regular workouts, they claim that anyone will see a real body change, as their muscles become leaner and they lose fat around their mid-section and in their butt.

 

The Bar Method is actually just an updated spin on the workout method created a half century ago by German dancer Lotte Berk. Having grown up a ballerina, by age 45 she was too old to continue classical performance. So in the 1950s, she collaborated with an osteopath to develop a hybrid dance-cardio regimen for women. The goal was to create something challenging but with a fun dance twist to keep students coming back for more. She named her technique, simply enough, the Berk Method—an energizing, hour-long workout that blended elements of traditional ballet with repetitive and strenuous muscle movement. For years, the regimen remained largely confined to the London studio where Berk herself taught every class.

 

Then during the 1980s, when fad workouts exploded throughout the U.S., Berk’s hybrid workout made a comeback in major cities like New York and Los Angeles. Borrowing from Pilates and yoga, the renamed “Bar Method” quickly gained an A-List celebrity following. Everybody from Drew Barrymore to Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Zooey Deschanel and even Dita Von Teese—they all reshaped their body using Bar. The method also caught on with new moms who wanted to lose pregnancy weight and regain their figure. Women 50+ joined classes, too, to sculpt their butt, flatten their stomach and protect important muscle strength that gets vulnerable during menopause.

 

If you’re interested learning more about the Bar Method, want to locate the studio closest to you, or to order instructional DVDs that will teach you at-home workouts (using a steady chair-back in lieu of the ballet bar), go to the official Bar Method website. And if you want to sample just a taste of Bar, try these two relatively easy moves, 3-5 times a week.

 

Quick Takes
 

And for Pregnant Women… It pays off if you get pregnant after several months of Bar Method muscle work and stamina-building. Staying in shape while you’re pregnant is equally important. With a stronger back and tighter abdomen, your weight and body shape will return much faster after delivery. And with its low-impact/low-intensity focus, the Bar Method helps you increase blood flow, reducing swelling in your arms and legs during those final few months before labor.

 
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  • THE PRETZEL will slim your waist and lift & shape your butt. Sit on the floor with one leg curled flat in front of you and the other curled flat behind you. Now lift your back leg a few inches off the ground, ankle always slightly higher than the knee. Repeat 20 times. Then flex your foot forward and repeat another 20 times, pushing your leg slightly back with each lift. Switch legs and repeat the entire sequence of moves. Remember, you must keep your hips forward to do the pose correctly, hands in front of you on the floor. Watch a demonstration video.

  • The C-CURL will improve your posture and help strengthen your back. Sit on a mat with your knees bent, your feet flat, and your arms flat on the floor. (In the beginning or for a milder workout, you can hold onto the backs of your thighs.) With your stomach pulled in tightly, gently raise your upper body off the floor and curl your ribs toward your thighs, into a c-shape. Now tap your left foot down and then your right, repeating 20 times on each side. Watch a demonstration video.

 

 
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Especially for Women & Men Over 50… Many Bar Method movements are aimed at building muscular stamina and strengthening core back muscles that, in turn, improve posture. That’s crucial for men and women over 50, who are dealing with increased risk of osteoporosis. For one thing, better posture correlates directly to better overall health. What's more, the stronger your muscles, the better they support your bones—meaning you’re less likely to suffer from falls and degenerating skeletal pain.

 

 

 

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