I tried B The Method by Lia Bartha workout and my abs are still sore

One fitness writer put the seven-day trial to the test. Here's what she found out.
Meet my new best friend: the mini workout ball.
Meet my new best friend: the mini workout ball.Courtesy Stephanie Mansour
/ Source: TMRW
By Stephanie Mansour

I signed up for the seven-day free trial of the B The Method after seeing how popular Lia Bartha’s workout was on Instagram, and I absolutely loved it.

B The Method by Lia Bartha was inspired by Bartha’s background in dance, swimming and Pilates. The workouts combine methodologies from all three and provide a comprehensive workout to combat poor posture, using low-impact moves to increase core strength and flexibility.

As a yoga and Pilates instructor, I really enjoyed the mix of Bartha’s lengthening movements to stretch muscles and her strengthening movements to stabilize them. She also focuses on mindfulness and breathing to really sync the mind with the body throughout every routine.

Throw in the mini exercise ball (that’s the only piece of workout equipment you'll need), and it’s the perfect mix of standard workout movements with a bit of flair.

Class 1: 15-Minute Everyday – Lower Abdominal Series

My first class was the 15-minute lower abdominal series. Working the transverse abdominis, the deepest core muscle, is one of the foundational pieces of Pilates. To warm up, we did a few Pilates half roll downs but with the mini ball placed at the lower back. This was a more supported variation of the usual Pilates warm up, and it felt great!

My first experience with the mini workout ball was really positive; it supported my lower back while I did a Pilates-style warmup.Courtesy Stephanie Mansour

Working with the ball allowed me to do Pilates exercises while lying down on my back without straining my neck — something I constantly focus on in regular mat Pilates. The workout wasn’t fast; it was a series of slow exercises that really worked deeply on my abs. I definitely recommend starting with this workout to get a taste of B The Method.

Class 2: 15-Minute Everyday – Standing Series No. 1

This workout left my body feeling open and in alignment. We stood the entire time (as the title suggests!) and kept our abs engaged during all of the movements.

This felt like a standing Pilates class — even though we moved our legs, arms and squeezed the ball, the focus was always on the abs. My legs and arms weren't tired, but my abs were on fire.

This workout is excellent for people who want to work their abs but have wrist issues, so planking is not an option, or have neck issues, so crunches and mat work is too strenuous.

This may look like a leg workout, but it's really all about the abs.Courtesy Stephanie Mansour

Class 3: 60-Minute Classic – Classic Series No. 1

Feeling like I had the basics down at this point, I decided to step it up and try a full hour. I loved how Bartha focused so much on breathing for the entire hour. Syncing breath with movement is one of my favorite things to encourage my private weight loss clients to do in a workout. It’s almost like a mental workout, too, forcing my mind to concentrate and be aware of every little movement in my body in each exercise.

We did everything from standing to planking to side lying and exercises both seated and lying down. The ball added an extra challenge for some of the exercises. For example, we did leg circles while lying on our backs, a traditional Pilates exercise, but put the stabilizing foot onto the ball to throw the body off balance and causing my stabilizing muscles to engage even more.

It's harder than it looks, folks!Courtesy Stephanie Mansour

Toward the end of the class, we stretched through a moving Child’s Pose (one of my favorite resting poses in yoga), and moved from a Downward Facing Dog into a more active Child’s Pose. This class really combined strength training with Pilates, yoga and balance.

Class 4: Livestream – 30-Minute Restore

This time I joined Bartha live. I was excited for the class all day because I had loved her instruction in the videos in the library, but wanted to see how I felt following along in real time.

Her energy was similar to the taped workouts: calming, encouraging and welcoming. She said hello to all of us in the livestream and I really felt like I was part of the class.

We started with a standing series (holding the ball, of course), and did very slow movements that focused on opening the shoulders and hips, and engaging the core. We did plies (like in ballet) while passing the ball around our body. Next, we did a series on our back with the head resting on the ball and focused on abs. We did a side series to work the love handles while resting our heads on the ball, and then did some Pilates exercises on our back with the glutes resting on the ball to make the moves more challenging.

We ended with Downward Facing Dog and Child’s Pose, and then Bartha came back to the camera to talk to us and let us know what she had in store for the class the following day.

Here's where the ballet moves come in.Courtesy Stephanie Mansour

Tutorials

An additional series of videos called "tutorials" are available to teach skills like how to properly position the ball, how to breathe and how to properly engage the pelvic floor. These short, educational videos teach the basics and are also a great refresher to ensure that you’re in proper alignment while working out from home without a live instructor with you.

After the seven-day trial, membership is available for $17.99 a month or $159.99 a year for unlimited access to the live classes and the library of pre-recorded classes. Bartha recommends doing her workouts four days a week for the best results.

All in all, I recommend this workout for toning, stabilizing and improving core strength. This is also a great workout if you’re looking to supplement cardio or HIIT workouts.