As a boutique fitness enthusiast, it’s sometimes easy to overlook that for many people the world of niche fitness classes can be a bit confusing. Words such as “barre’ and “spin” flow easily out in the course of a conversation without notice, forgetting that for most people a bar is where they go to have a drink, not hold muscle toning movements. With that in mind, it’s important to mention what exactly barre is. Barre is a type of workout class that gets its name from the ballet bar used by ballerinas. Although it is associated with ballet, it is not at all a dance class but instead takes some elements from ballet (lifted heels, ballet bar, etc) and utilizes them for strength training and toning. Barre classes can vary quite a bit from studio to studio, but all share that same common origin.
What: The Bar Method Mixed Level Class
Where: The Bar Method is a chain of boutique studios across many cities across the United States, including New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia
Price per class: Depending on the city prices range from about $25-35
How Long: 60 minutes (45 minutes for express classes)
What to Wear: Don’t let the name fool you, there is no reason to pull out your 3rd-grade tutu (unless you just want to)! Most people wear typical workout clothes such as leggings/workout tights and a comfortable shirt. The Bar Method you will also need to wear socks, preferably ones with grips.
Good For: These classes are great for serious muscle toning. My first class, the instructor had us working for muscle groups I literally never knew existed! Barre classes are known to give you the “shakes”, (because your legs often shake like crazy while holding muscle isolations with your heels lifted) but beyond that, it was actually the best arm workout I’ve ever had! Despite using only 2-3 lb weights, my arms felt sorer than when I put in serious reps with heavy weights on my weight training days. Something about the combination of meticulous form (more on that later) and small controlled movements really works for targeted muscle toning. The Bar Method is also big on making sure proper form is being used and offer lots of hands-on adjustments for those that want it. For me personally, hand on adjustments/individualized verbal adjustments is a big reason why I go to work out classes overdoing them myself at home. If I wanted to be left to my own devices, I would just turn on YouTube and workout at home in my living room. I go to classes so that I can improve my form and make sure that I am doing the moves correctly to avoid injury (and also so that I don’t just “phone it in”. For people that enjoy individualized attention, this class is great for you.
Overall: If you are looking to seriously tone your muscles (with the added bonus of reliving your childhood ballerina dreams) this class is definitely worth checking out.