My Favorite Barre Class – Xtend Barre
After taking 40+ barre classes around Orange County over the past 3 months, I’ve decided that Xtend Barre is my favorite barre class! (My results after 4 months of barre classes, 3.75 inches lost! I’m Going Barre Crazy!!!)
All of the barre classes (Booty Barre, Pure Barre, Enerji Barre, FitBar, Pop Physique) use a similar blend of exercises from ballet, Pilates and yoga to strengthen and tone all the muscles in your body. The biggest difference between Xtend Barre and the other barre classes is the emphasis on lengthening the muscles. Some of the other barre workouts have you stay in one position while doing high repetition movements, which creates major muscle fatigue, but you don’t get the graceful movement of ballet to stretch out your arms and legs. Xtend Barre is the most graceful workout I’ve ever done and afterwards I feel strong, lean and chiseled. (Pretty sure that’s their slogan)
Created by Andrea Rogers (in photo), a professional dancer and choreographer, Xtend Barre uses the Pilates principles of stabilization, concentration, control, flow, breath and precision, and adds challenges in coordination, rhythm, and cardiovascular fitness. (From www.XtendWorkout.com) It’s the most well-rounded barre workout and I don’t feel the need to combine it with other types of workouts, like running or cardio, to balance out my fitness regime.
Don’t you want to look like a lean, beautiful ballerina too?
Coming from an athletic background, I thought I would be strong enough to power through this exercise class like I do in the other classes. A plié is just a wide legged squat with your toes turned out, right? Well, not when you combine it with a leg lift balance pose to the right, another plié, and a one leg balance pose to the left. The entire workout builds a tremendous amount of core strength and stability to help you gracefully transition from one pose to the next.
The warm up includes a combination of plies, curtsies, leg lifts and some dynamic stretches. Sometimes with the ball too.
Using light dumbbells (1, 2 or 3 lbs) you go through a series of arm exercises like bicep curls, tricep extensions, front and lateral raises, and shoulder presses, all while doing more plies, curtsies and attitudes.
After the dumbbell work, there are more arm exercises with tricep dips (in photo below), tricep pushups and regular pushups. And of course you have to finish the arms off with planks to the front and sides. Your shoulders burn like crazy!
The barre section of the workout is my favorite part because it gets your heart pumping, sweat dripping and legs shaking. Using one hand on the barre for balance, you work through combinations of plies, kicks, tondus, passés, leg sweeps and balance holds. The first round is on flat feet and the second round is on your highest tippie toes.
After working each leg separately, you go into the seat work to strengthen the front and back of the legs. These are common exercises in all barre classes, with or without the ball between your inner thighs.
Another distinguishing part of Xtend Barre is the ab workout. Instead of traditional, tight ab curls and crunches, the Xtend Barre abs are stretched and extended while strengthening them. The majority of the exercises are traditional Pilates core exercises that use long sweeping movements and focus on core stability. My favorite ab exercises are the reverse curl with leg lifts and the scissor kicks, both using the strap around the barre.
Stretching & Relaxation
The final section of the workout includes a nice stretch and relaxation to calm down those exhausted muscles.
Another reason why I enjoy going to Xtend Barre classes, are the great instructors. In order to teach Xtend Barre you must have at least a certification in mat Pilates and go through 18 hours of Xtend Barre training. My first experience at Xtend Barre was luke warm because the pace felt slow and I barely worked up a sweat, but after I took Courtney’s class my opinion completely changed. Courtney has over 11 years of experience teaching Pilates and knows how to push and challenge each student while keeping up the pace of the workout. I’m always completely drenched in sweat after her classes!
On a side note, Courtney has been the one helping me choose which fitness certifications I should go after. So thankful for her!!
When you take a class at Xtend Barre, you can tell that the instructors are passionate about what they do and that they genuinely care about their students. It’s a warm and friendly atmosphere where you want to workout everyday. I pray that when I become an instructor that I get to teach at a studio like Xtend Barre Mission Viejo!
Want to read more? Check out my next post on Xtend Barre: Challenging Xtend Barre Exercises