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The Lotte Berk Method® is an exercise developed by the German ballet dancer Lotte Berk. After fleeing Nazi persecution, Berk settled in England and began to create a series of exercises designed to strengthen women's spines and cores. Berk had injured her back and designed the movements to aid in her own rehabilitation.
Berk opened a women-only studio in London and began to give classes. Soon her students began to notice their bodies becoming stronger and healthier. The method gained popularity, and actors and dancers flocked to her studios in order to learn from her. Celebrity students included Barbara Streisand and Joan Collins when she opened the London studio in 1959.
In 1971, one of Berk's followers, Lydia Bach, improved the method and brought it to the U.S. It quickly gained popularity there as well. Today, one can find Lotte Berk-style studios around New York, Connecticut, and even Beverly Hills. Fashion magazines frequently mention the method as a way to achieve a strong, lithe body.
The exercise regimen includes a mixture of dance, yoga, stretches, and strength exercises executed within the frame of a one-hour class. Proponents state that the Lotte Berk Method® leads to a more elongated body — the body of a dancer.
The method is based around the Lotte Berk pose. Hips remain tucked, the abs are held in, and the chest is out. This position makes the exercises more challenging to do; therefore, the exercise gradually helps to increase a body's strength.
The method uses a ballet barre, weights, and mats in order to assist in sculpting the body. Followers of the Lotte Berk Methods® state that in just three 55-minute sessions, students can begin to see results in their bodies. They also say this method has the ability to flatten abs, tone the thighs, and tighten the arms. It even helps to lift the buttocks.
The Lotte Berk Method® combines body sculpting with cardio and strength training. It also requires the exerciser to use her own body weight as resistance. Aerobic exercises are interchanged with slow stretches to allow the body to recover. This helps to avoid injuring or straining the muscles.
People who are unable to take classes at an official Lotte Berk Method® studio can try the exercise regimen through DVDs. The official Lotte Berk Method® DVDs include the titles Muscle Eats Fat, Basic Essentials, Hip Hugger Abs, and High Round Assets. Each DVD runs 30 minutes and is designed for all fitness levels. They can be purchased at a variety of merchants, including bookstores and online stores.
I really like the Lotte Berk Method, and am currently using a series of four DVDs from Natural Journeys. It took a little getting used to, but the toning results are definite.