This past week I was given the opportunity to try out Studio Barre in Carlsbad (off La Costa and El Camino). I tried to make the best of my week and made it to class four times – Tuesday morning, Wednesday evening, Friday morning and Monday morning. This was on top of two runs (including Torrey Pine hill repeats), a bike ride, and a practice triathlon on Saturday. By the end of the week my legs were toast!
Having been to two other barre studios now, I feel like I have a better understanding of how barre classes flow, the jargon (back dancing, pretzel, turned out, etc), and the form. I’m definitely not close to being perfect, but having a little bit of background definitely helped me get benefits from Studio Barre immediately rather than spending time trying to figure it all out.
I went to my first class at 6 a.m. last Tuesday with Asia, who recently signed up for a month pass after trying it for a week. She had raved about the class so I wanted to see for myself! I was surprised at how full the class was for such an early morning. Just like other barre classes, socks with grip are required. I have my own pair but from what Asia has told me you can borrow a pair at the front desk if you don’t own them, and get a free pair with the purchase of a one month membership.
The class involves equipment so we arrived early to set up our spots. We each grabbed a mat, a small rubber ball, two sets of weights (3s and 2s) and a band. As soon as we got set up the music began and we started to march. The warm-up has the most cardio of the entire class and it definitely achieves it’s goal of warming your body up! As I soon discovered, the warm-up is pretty much the same each time and follows this format:
- Marching with various arm movements
- High plank with leg movements, right side
- Side plank
- High plank with leg movements, left side
- Side plank
- Tricep push-ups
- Low plank with tucks, movement (varies – arms are absolutely screaming by now)
- Abdominal on back (sit-ups and scissors, etc)
By the end of the warm-up my shoulders and abs were on fire and I was sweating. I wondered what was in store for us next! We moved straight into arms right after putting the rubber ball between our upper thighs. In most barre classes, there are usually no breaks between movements and due to this, the weights are usually light. I used 3lbs for the arms and they were on fire! Following the arm portion there is a short stretch.
Studio Barre in general has a serious focus on legs and glutes. The leg portion is long and involves several different positions and moves. It is followed by a glute portion which includes two types of movement per side with a higher intensity variation in the middle (can be glutes, can be push-ups, it depends on the day). The thigh work and glute work were never exactly same in any of the four classes I attended, although some of the moves were repeated (lot of squatting off the bar – my legs feel like they are going to fall off during this part but by the 4th class I could tell I was stronger). The band is often used in several of the exercises and adds some serious intensity. We also often move up into releve (tip-toes) for the second portion of the exercise which adds extra intensity.
After thigh work and seat work, we move into more core work which usually involves low-c and flat back. The grand finale is actually my favorite part of the entire class – we always finish with back dancing. Back dancing is basically where you lay on your back and lift your butt off the floor so all your weight is in your feet and upper back and then squeeze your thighs inward, push them outward (with the band), tuck your pelvis or pulsate up and down, depending on the instructor’s orders. It’s very sexual looking, just like it sounds, but it is an absolutely amazing way to burn out those thighs and buns at the end of class. We finish with a stretch.
I really enjoyed Studio Barre! If you want a booty-lifting, thigh burning workout in a fun, upbeat environment, then give it a try!