For the past two and a half months I have been waking up and going to the bar at 6am. Ok, ok stupid joke. But I have been going to 6am Bar Method classes every weekday morning. I’ve had a lot of people ask me what the hell is Bar Method. I always respond “it’s like yoga and pilates on a ballet bar.” But you know what? That really does not cover the intense amount of work and pain involved (NOT that yoga and pilates aren’t painful/effortless) but Bar Method is its own personal beast. I think the best way to describe it is to explain the different parts. Step into my studio:
While every day the exercises vary, there is a pretty strict order that we do things in. It’s nice because you know what to expect, but things do change. During most of the entire class you are in the “Bar Method Tuck” which means you are squeezing your abs and butt tight the whole time, shoulders are relaxed and down (the hardest thing for me), chin up, chest open. Think ballerina. Think poise!
Every class starts with warm-up and arms. We use two different sets of hand weights–I use 2lbs and 3lbs. There’s a LOT of repetition, those weights start feeling heavy. We do a few million repetitions of arm stuff, including killer triceps work and push-ups. Oh push-ups, how I hate thee. After we put away our weights we get to go to the bar!
We do some stretching on the bar (and I channel my inner Black Swan), and then we do thigh work. The best way I can describe thigh is, tiny baby squats over and over and over again…on your tip toes. There are three different thigh exercises each class, but they vary so you never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes they involve squeezing a lovely white ball in-between your thighs. It’s fun. After thigh is seat! What is seat? It’s working your “dancers dent” … your butt. And it hurts. These exercises vary too, but there’s always the possibility of The Pretzel:
It sucks. Trust me. (and that lady’s outfit is awesome) Then we do some more stretching, and then curl! Curl = crunches = ow. It’s like fancy painful crunches. A lot of them. In different variations. Almost done! The last little bit of work is called “seat dancing” or what I call “air humping,” because that’s basically what you do. Lie on your back and hump the air. For a good long time. It’s good for your butt. And then more stretching and done! And by done! I mean hobbling out of the room in pain. It’s great.
One of the best things about Bar Method for me is the personal attention you get. The instructors are SO nice, at least at the Portland location, they go around adjusting EVERYONE and they will know and memorize your name after the first class. It’s kind of awesome. At first I was like “oh shit I’m the terrible new kids who keeps getting called out,” but then I realized that everyone needs adjusting. It’s easier for the instructor to see when you’ve gotten off balance, so I welcome the corrections now. Also, I was expecting the studio to be full of crazy mean skinny bitches. I am a judgemental asshole. Everyone is LOVELY. Although I have NO IDEA how they all afford LuLuLemon. Actually I have no idea how anyone affords Bar Method, but for me it’s worth the crazy insane price tag (seriously, its ONLY downfall).
And that, my friends, is what I’ve been doing every morning. It’s only been two and a half months, but I feel stronger and more confident, and I’m still excited to go to class every morning–which is saying something because I have commitment issues when it comes to working out. One week I’m a runner, the next I’m addicted to Body Pump. Spinning! Yoga! Change is great, but I’m glad to find something I can stick to without getting sick of it and giving up and getting out my fat jeans after two months. So far so good. Oh and if you’re still confused, watch Ellie Kemper try to teach Ellen Bar Method: