If you are looking for a killer workout or to add variety to your strength-training routine you need to check out The Bar Method. Never before have such small movements made me so sore! The exercises are designed to strengthen and stretch every major muscle group, and let me tell you from experience they do!
The work is definitely ballet and dance based, but no dance experience is required to reap the benefits of the class. Standing at the bar for relevés (heel raises to work the calves) and stretching your legs might just bring out your inner ballerina, and there is nothing wrong with that. This is definitely strength training with poise and faulty posture will be corrected by the instructor, so if you tend to slump this class will help you stand tall. All the movements, no matter if they are for your arms, legs, or abs, are best described as intense and minute. The work is very detailed oriented, which helps keep your brain engaged while your quads or abs scream for you to stop pulsing in a small range of motion. I really appreciated that a considerable portion of the class focuses on working the legs and glutes – two areas I love to work.
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Even though the movements are small, you will sweat; you keep moving for the entire 60 minutes of class to keep your heart rate elevated. The music and instructors are very motivating and positive. Stretching is incorporated into the exercises and sets of push ups pepper the class. The arm section uses light hand weights (and believe me you want to use light weights) and medicine balls are available to increase the difficulty of the ab work.
Classes are expensive though, $24 per session, but you can buy packages of classes to decrease the overall cost of each class. Here is a list of studios, which are located on the West and East Coasts, with one in the Windy City. If there are no studios close to you, try the The Bar Method Body — Fat Free DVD in the comfort of you own home.
Have you tried the Bar Method? Tell me all about it in the comment section below.