The phrase “see you at the barre” may well get most people chiming ‘oh okay then mines a pint.’ Alas no pints at this barre unless you count the pints of sweat you will be expelling. I am talking about ballet barres. Over in the States barre classes are the latest new trend sweeping the fitness sector. A franchise called Xtend Barre reached Australian shores last year. At the time I was looking for some anonymity away from the yoga world & something new to try out my muscles on. My inner ballerina who never got chance to shine was screaming to be let out. Xtend Barre was the perfect solution.
Being the hot new thing in town getting into a class was a tad challenging. Classes are available at three locations in my city and all offered online booking. That meant they pretty much sold out & you were wait listed. Classes have strict numbers as there is only so many bodies you can fit on the barres & equipment to go round. This varies from studio to studio. If you went as a walk in chances are you wouldn’t get in. Desperate to give it a go I managed to get into a Saturday morning class. I loved it & it just what I was looking for. There was even a studio nearer to where I live which was great. With my crazy schedule I only manage a couple of classes a month but it’s worth it for a blast of something different.
The class is open to anyone, no dance or ballet experience necessary. I for one am the ‘un-co’ queen of the century so don’t worry it usually takes me a few rep’s to get my arms and legs moving in unison. The concept is simple Xtend is a 55 minute ballet inspired class using the French ballet terms & positions. Think plies, tendu, turn-out & releve. Don’t worry if are not familiar with this lingo just follow the instructors lead. A warm up sequences of plies, stretches and leg lifts leads into an upper body-work out with light hand weights. Then its time to hit the barre. More plies, squats, releves and pulsing till your legs are shaking like jelly. You have the option of lower impact variation if it all gets too much. Subtle cues like ‘light finger touch on the barre’ helps remind me I’m not a monkey clinging on for dear life!
It is a solid work out though if you put in the effort. Even in winter I am sweating my socks off. You will be rewarded with toned, lean, sculptured muscles, a firm core & improved cardiovascular function. All the instructors are accredited pilates teachers and some I have taken class with are physio’s. They know their alignment & those eagle eyes will put you back in the safe, correct position if you are unsure. You are in safe hands, especially when you hit the floor for the ab exercises at the end.
You don’t need any special equipment for barre, just a pair of socks. I have invested in the branded Xtend socks that are just like any pilates socks with the grippy, sticky ball things on the soles. Normal light exercise clothing is recommended as I said above you will sweat. The choreography incorporates hand weights, resistance balls, straps and the new Xtend Stick. These are all provided by the studios as are the mats for the floor work. Water and a small sweat towel are also useful to take.
If you looking for a fun & challenging work out with upbeat music & a killer ab track give Xtend Barre a try. The new Xtend Stick classes are launched this week in Perth so watch this space how I get on with that one.
See you at the barre!
Love Seren xx
Image Credit: https://www.facebook.com/XtendBarre