If you are unfamiliar I’ll give you a little recap. First of all, the theory behind the classes is set forth in the website as, “The technique protects your joints as it does not involve any bouncing or jumping. Each strength section of the workout is followed by a stretching section in order to create long, lean muscle without bulk. The workout launches a full blown attack on the areas of the body all women struggle with: abs, hips, seat and arms. It defies gravity by tapering everything in and lifting it up.”
Take it from me, they definitely have it right as far as working those areas we women tend to struggle with! You walk into the studio and take off your shoe. You slip on your little socks with grippers on the bottom to keep you from sliding. The studio is carpeted, small and intimate with mirrors at the front and sides and ballet bars on the walls. You are given a band, a small ball and you can choose weights ranging from 2 – 5 lbs. In my younger years I might have scoffed at these small weights. I am used to being surprised at new workouts so meekly chose the 2 pounders. When it came to the shoulder and triceps work, let me just admit that I was all too happy to have those nasty 2 pound weights. Somehow Jennifer made them feel like 8 pounders! There was a point about in the middle of the class when we were facing the bar and working on our booty with these teeny, tiny little moves – moves so small someone walking in the room might think we were just hanging out resting – that I was completely miserable and wondered why on earth I thought it was a good idea to spend my lunch hour taking this class. My booty is used to being sore from lunges, squats, jump squats, larger lifts and big muscle movements. This was something entirely different – and good for my body. I always say it’s great for us to get out there and do something new, to keep our bodies and muscles guessing. My muscles were guessing how much longer before they could rest . . . and then, of course, there’s always the other side to work.
This was a great low impact, efficient and effective workout to overall tone. It was an hour class that really flies. You move from standing to the floor, to the bar, to the floor, use your ball, your band, a mat or bodyweight, and stretch. There’s no down time or time to get bored or twiddle your thumbs.
There are other bar type classes out there. I’ve watched Elisabeth Halfpapp for years since she began Core Fusion in 2002 and I think the workout isn’t going anywhere. All of these have broken away from the original ballet type class started by Lotte Berk. The industry keeps growing and changing to keep up with what works for folks and there are so many hard core exercisers out there who stick with these classes because they do work.
Alicia Weihl, a former professional ballerina who is now a director of training at Physique 57, was also surprised by how hard she found her first class. “I thought I was so strong because I could dance on my toes for 8 or 10 hours, no problem,” she said. “I was shaking during the thigh workout. I could barely walk out of there.”
If you are looking to mix it up, try something new, work you muscles a little differently you surely should give it a try!
If you are in the Atlanta area there are studios that have been here and some new ones that have cropped up lately. Check out their deals for first timers and for new clients.
Also, I strongly recommend giving it more than one try. It takes a few times to figure out some of the moves, find out what the “tilt” is all about and to learn how to activate and focus on some of these muscles.
If you aren’t in an area where these classes are readily available, UTube has some great videos to try and Amazon has a good selection of DVDs to choose from.
Have a great day!