Hello friends! As you know I am totally in love with my barre classes and I am always looking for a great new class. Luckily, a new barre studio just opened here in Brooklyn! I first tried Xtend Barre’s DVD Lean & Chiseled last year and fell in love with the fusion of Pilates and dance all into a one hour sweaty workout. Xtend’s new location is actually right around from my law school. If only it had opened four years ago. I would have been there all the time!
Luckily I can still make it to Brooklyn on the weekends and it was so worth the drive! The studio is spacious, airy and really beautiful. It actually looks out onto this brick church, which is a nice change from high rise buildings.
Out of all the barre classes I have tried, Xtend is the most true to traditional ballet form. Many barre classes are based off the Lotte Berk technique, which has a specific style to it. Xtend is more of a mix of dance exercises, Pilates and some moves that are common in barre classes. I love that Xtend focuses on strength, balance, flexibility and grace, similar to a ballet class.
Unlike ballet, which moves pretty slowly most of the time, Xtend moves quickly from the second the workout starts until the very end. The instructor does take the time to show the proper form, so there is no worry that you will be doing the moves wrong, but you will feel the burn and your heart rate will creep up!
A typical class starts up with warm up moves in the center of the room, which involves moves like plies, tendus (pointing and stretching the foot), curtesy lunges and arm moves that in ballet we would call a port de bras. I put together a few photos at home to give you an idea of what you might see in an Xtend Barre class based on my experiences.
In the second part of class we move on to weights to target the upper body. The weight section is non-stop using small, isometric moves so one to two pound weights are plenty. I use two pounds and I have to admit to needing to take a few breaks where I allowed the weights to drop and my muscles to rest. Some participants choose to use no weights at all, which is perfect if you are still building strength.
After the weight section we move onto leg work, which consists of large range if motion moves at the barre like plies, relieves (rising in to toes), squats and more. This part of class uses the largest muscle groups and it really gets your heart rate up.
The next portion of the class works your seat. Here you perform moves like arabesque lifts that help target that gluteus. After the seat section you can now finally lie down on the mat, except there is no rest for the weary. Pilates inspired moves target your core until you feel your abs burning. When you think you can’t do one more rep, it’s time to cool down and stretch.
The last part of class is a balancing exercise that brings you full circle. You’ve done strength, cardio and flexibility so it is only fitting that the last few minutes of class help balance you out!
I love the total body approach to Xtend. You walk out of class feeling lean and long with great posture and strong muscles. Although there is a heavy dance influence to this class, it appeals to everyone with the easy to follow routines.
The best part is that Xtend is not just located in NYC! There are classes located throughout the country from California to Arkansas and even some international classes. Click here to see all their locations!
Readers, have you ever tried Xtend Barre? What do you look for in a group fitness class? Anyone else excited that it is now light when they come home from work!