My Favorite Home Workout DVDs

After making the commitment a few weeks ago to get back into the habit of doing core and strength work on a more regular basis, I decided to purchase a few workout DVDs to help me stay on track. I have some regular exercises that I enjoy doing, but have heard amazing things about barre classes and wanted to do more Pilates and felt that a little structure would be the best for me. After mentioning the DVDs to a couple of friends and then on twitter, I saw that there were quite a number of people interested, so I figured I’d share them here.


My two favorite workout DVDs

*Note: These DVDs were purchased by me – I am not affiliated with the companies or with

Pilates Abs Workout (with Ana Caban)

I first purchased this DVD over TEN years ago. I remember doing the 30-minute DVD on a fairly regular basis when I was a 2LT living in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Each morning, I would head to the gym for my cardio and then return home to complete either a yoga or Pilates DVD.  Unfortunately, the DVD was lost at some point so I haven’t done this workout in years but was ecstatic when I found the same DVD on!

  • Cost: $7.95 (free shipping with Amazon prime)
  • It’s a 25 minute workout that includes a few minutes of easy warmup and cooldown and then about 20 minutes of intense ab work.
  • There are two demonstrators on the DVD that show you the beginner and advanced methods of each exercise.
  • Examples of Exercises: The hundred, rolling like a ball and single leg circles
  • Equipment needed: mat

This is NOT an easy workout. From the reviews that I have read, it is geared more towards those in the intermediate/advanced field of Pilates – the first day I tried this DVD, my legs were shaking before the 15 minute mark and there were a few exercises that I was not able to do. But having an easier version of each workout makes it a bit more bearable (which I had to do for some of the workouts).

I’ve now done this workout 6x over the past few weeks and feel myself getting stronger while also being able to do more and more of the exercises.

photo 1 (7) photo 2 (7)

Core Fusion Barre Basics (for Beginners)

I’ve wanted to try a barre class for ages now. One of my closest friends, Pamela, has been telling me about how much she loves her barre classes and how much stronger she feels (overall and as a runner). Unfortunately, there are no barre classes on Staten Island – my gym doesn’t offer any and there are no boutique studios. While I was on Amazon a few weeks ago looking for the Pilates DVD, I stumbled upon this amazing and butt-kicking DVD.

  • Cost: $10.77 (free shipping with prime)
  • 7×10 minute workouts -> allows me to mix and match and tailor to how much time I have available each day
  • The two demonstrators, Elisabeth Halfpapp and Fred DeVito, are the creators of Core Fusion and have been leaders in the barre technique for over 30 years. They take turns showing the beginner and advanced version of each workout.
  • Example of Workouts: Gluteus Sculpt, Turned Out Thigh, Flat Back/Round Back Core
  • Equipment needed: sturdy chair, mat, towel (or some other object to keep in between your legs for some of the exercises)

This DVD has become part of my daily routine – there are some days where I will do 1-2 workouts and other days I aim for 3-4. I am utterly amazed that such little movement can hurt so much (in a good way)! And don’t let the title of this DVD fool you – it is definitely not a beginner workout – it is tough! However, it is easy to follow along because of the easy instructions and demonstrations – so it is a great DVD for someone just starting out or someone who is a bit more experienced.

photo 1 (8) photo 2 (8)

For so long, I shrugged off workout DVDs because I felt that there would be a lot of fluff and that I wouldn’t get a good workout in. These two DVDs have changed my opinion 100%. They literally kick my butt and I feel stronger – in my legs and core – both for everyday things and while running. And there are some great advantages of doing an at-Home DVD:

Cost/No Gym MembershipOne time cost. Both of the DVDs I discussed were $10 or less – and shipped free (with Amazon prime). I already belong to one gym in order to have access to a pool for triathlon training and can’t justify another monthly membership fee (or pay for each class).

– Accessibility: I can do these workouts at any point during the day – early in AM after my run, during the boys’ naps, at night after they go to sleep without having to get in the car and drive anywhere.

– Time Saver: The gym I belong to offers a Pilates class a few times a week, but it takes me 15+ minutes to get there – so instead of it being just a 30-45 minute class, it becomes at least 60-90 minutes to get the same workout in.

– No Embarrassment: I couldn’t even make it through the first 10 minute segment of the Barre DVD without cursing and having to take a break. Let me just say that I’m thankful that it was in the privacy of my home =)

– No Need for Childcare: I’ve actually done the Barre workouts while the boys were awake and playing around me. I don’t need to worry about who will watch them or worry about lugging them out in the cold weather for a 30-45 minute class.

Obviously there are some disadvantages to doing workout DVDs at home – lack of variety, easier to quit when it gets hard, no social interaction, etc. But, for me and my situation (little ones/lack of these classes), there are more advantages than disadvantages and I plan on expanding my workout collection to add a bit more variety.

Do you use any workout DVDs? Any that you would recommend? 

Have you tried a Barre class?


I don’t post here every day, but I post all of my workouts (and other happenings) on Instagram on a daily basis {NYCRunningMama}.

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    24 thoughts on “My Favorite Home Workout DVDs

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    7. Going to check out the Barre video as I need more core work.

      On a totally separate note – I met my husband while we were stationed at Ft Huachuca – almost 15 yrs ago :-)

    8. I’ve been doing P90X3 for the past 5 weeks!! Talk about awesome workouts, and in only 30 minutes!! So right now, I’d have to say that those are my favorite workout DVDs!!
      Lani (@armytbonegirl) recently posted..New blogMy Profile

    9. Wow. Michele, thanks for the in-depth review of the dvds. I would benefit from these DVDs as a way to supplement my two/three times a month barre class in Annapolis. The drive for me is 1 hour and 20 minutes each way, but I make a day of it and usually pop into Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. My 12 year old daughter also loves the gym and taking barre class with me. Thanks for the great and informative post. I know you will be running strong in LA!!!
      Kara A. Forrest recently posted..January: The First Month of the New YearMy Profile

    10. I’ve been going to barre for the past five weeks and have noticed a HUGE change in my strength. It’s a 75 minute class and I seriously wanted to die the first time I went, but I LOVE the challenge so I keep going back. The instructor is SO good and really invites you to push yourself to your absolute limit. I’m not sure I’d be able to do that at home. In fact I know I don’t cause I do Jillian DVD’s and I try to push myself, but often take breaks or pair down the exercise so I can get through it. At class she encourages us to “make it shake” and I really push so hard I’ve felt light headed and spent. But I feel so strong out on the road now. My running will definitely benefit from it. I have to drive 40 min to class, but there is childcare and we make a day of it and hit up Trader Joes and a bunch of other stores that are also 40 minutes from our house. The joys of rural living!
      Sarah @RunFarGirl recently posted..Anatomy of a DreamMy Profile

      • I was just reading your comment on here about driving 40 minutes to barre class. How often each week do you drive to barre class. I try to go two or three times a month, but I am driving an hour and 20 minutes each way. The barre class is in Annapolis, so I make a day of it too and shop Whole Foods and Trader Joes. I love the rigor and social interaction as well, I need someone to push me because I get bored at home and lack the dedication/motivation to push myself, unless I am running.
        Kara A. Forrest recently posted..January: The First Month of the New YearMy Profile

    11. Obviously you know my love of barre classes AND how perfect they are for runners!! I love that you are doing these as part of your regime! And that totally stinks that there aren’t ANY on Staten Island, totally a missed opportunity, I would say hehe.
      Jolene recently posted..Sometimes, you just realize.My Profile

    12. Having a child has definitely made me reevaluate the gym. I absolutely love going to the gym, everything about it, however, the 10-20 minutes it takes round trip could be 1-2 miles running. Now, more than ever, my entire life revolves around efficiency so I can spend the most time with my sweet boy! Which is one reason I tell my husband we need a new house….for a home gym!
      Crystal@TheFastFitRunner recently posted..The Best Cross Training – SKIING in Keystone!My Profile

    13. Thank you so much for these suggestions!!! I love workout DVD’s, I’m a big fan of Jillian Michales and Bob Harper :) I will look into these for sure- and I LOVE Amazon Prime :)

    14. Dear Michele,

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    15. I’ve recently started doing my barre video again and forgot how tough it was! Before I had my son I was big into barre classes at a local yoga studio. Since I had him it just isn’t realistic for me to be taking so many classes outside the home so I bought a DVD. I noticed a huge improvement in knee pain, strength, and joint pain in general, from doing barre! I’m looking forward to getting my core strength back so running is less painful!
      Carissa recently posted..Biggest Loser DisappointmentMy Profile

    16. I love having the options of dvds. living rural and working long days I can’t attend classes regularly enough to make it worth while. Being a personal trainer and Pilates Instructor I am picky abut the dvds–but have found some great ones. I have both of the ones you feature (love Ana Caban!! :)) and lately I have been enjoying the barry’s bootcamp dvds. They also have treadmill workouts too–completely different that a typical treadmill routine!

    17. Great ideas, Michele! These are so helpful! With so many sub-zero days, no gym membership and no treadmill, I have been looking for ways to refocus my fitness when I can’t run outside. I’m definitely going to get the Core Fusion Barre Basics (hubby just built a mini ballet studio for our girls this Christmas)! Thank you!!!