I have only recently become a fan of workout DVDs. Before, I lacked the discipline or interest in them to really make them an effective workout. But with the New Year’s resolution folks crowding the gym and hideous snowy, icy, freezing weather, I have retreated to my home.

The latest addition to my workout DVD library is “Ballet Conditioning” by Element. It is a few years old, and I chose it when I needed something else on Amazon.com to qualify for free shipping. It caught my eye because I am focusing on strength training. I paid $8.49 for this DVD.

The workout: These strength moves are based on the conditioning moves ballet dancers do. It is about 50 minutes long and is a series of moves involving the legs, arms, core and abs. The host is Elise Gulan, a professional dancer and fitness instructor.

Each set of exercises starts with small movements and gets increasingly difficult. You can feel even the leg exercises working the core, because they are challenging your balance. Seemingly simple things — holding your arms over your head — become challenging after awhile, especially when you’re trying to focus on form and do the moves, too.

Pros: The moves are challenging, but most aren’t undoable — you just have room to grow and improve your form and posture. I liked knowing my core was being challenged for the entire workout. At first, I thought her soft, singsong-y voice would grate on my nerves, but over the course of the workout it was actually comforting, especially when she instructs you to “find the joy in the movement.”  The ab workout was brief but very, very challenging, although I should note that I have very weak lower abs.

Cons: One of the moves, the standing split, is challenging the first time around, because you can’t watch Gulan and do it at the same time. Also, maybe it’s not a “con” per se, but I had to keep reminding myself that Gulan is a professional dancer and that my form and posture will never match hers.

Overall: I liked doing this DVD. I am a cardio queen trying to do more strength training, and I never would have thought that something at this pace could be such an intense workout, but it was. My quads and thighs were shaking and are still sore, two days later.

I think this strength training DVD will add a nice twist to my weight and strength training each week.

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