Over the past eight years, since I began working out in New York City, I have had the opportunity to try a number of different workouts including most of the barre studios. Every few months, I’d walk back into a barre studio, forgetting just how effective the small pulses are, and quickly sign up for more classes. But, after a few weeks of using this as cross training, I’d grow bored. Regardless how effective the workout is, the slower paced classes, repetitive motions, and playlists left me craving my other workouts.
Then, a few months ago, one of my friends asked if I wanted to join her for a class at Xtend Barre in Brooklyn Heights. Always excited to try a new workout, I joined her for their signature class, Xtend Barre. While there are more than 250 Xtend Barre locations worldwide, this is the franchise’s only location in New York City until the Tribeca location opens later this year. Through my research, before class, I read that Xtend Barre combines traditional pilates, ballet, and dance in one workout that will lengthen, strengthen and stretch the body. Little did I know, that after my first 60-minute Xtend Barre class, I’d realize that this barre class and the studio is like no other spot I’d tried previously.
The Brooklyn Heights location features a main lobby and studio shop as well as changing rooms and bathrooms in addition to the main studio and a smaller studio and child care area upstairs. The main studio, where we took class, was far more spacious and well-lit than most studios. The large windows on the far wall allow light to shine through during class, creating a warm atmosphere. Similar to other barre classes, grip socks are required, and the accessories for class typically include a mat, two sets of hand weights, a ball, mat and a band.
The class was filled with twenty students of all shapes and sizes. Since it was my first class, when I spoke with the instructor, letting her know I was pregnant, I asked her what I should expect. This is when I first heard that Xtend is different than other barre classes. She told me that I’d be sweating within a few minutes, the cardio bursts throughout class keep our heart rate up and the pace is far faster than other barre workouts. She requested that I take the pace slower and listen to my bodies needs since I’m pregnant and listen to her guidance during class as she would provide prenatal adjustments as needed, primarily during the ab sequence.
When she said I’d sweat in a barre class, I actually remember laughing to myself.
The next 60-minutes of class were a bit of a blur. Everything she said was correct – here are just a few of the differences I noticed during class.
The warm-up was fast paced and included optional hand weights to make the moves even more challenging. A combination of plies, curtsies, dynamic stretches, arm work and leg lifts the fast pace had me sweating in no time.
Unlike other barre workouts where the focus is merely on burning out the muscles through repetitive movements, Xtend barre focuses on lengthening the muscles through the inclusion of many traditional ballet and dance moves. We moved constantly during the class, often taking wide movements with both our legs and arms.
Similar to a High-Intensity Interval Training class or boot camp, many of the moves were combinations such as wide-legged squat with arm curls or lunges with leg raise.
In addition, frequent cardio bursts throughout the entire class kept our heart rates elevated.
The arm portion seemed more challenging and longer than other classes, including hand weight and body weight moves.
The barre portion is where I saw the biggest variation from other barre studios as this portion included lots of moves that kept our heart rates up and lengthened the muscles through plies, kicks, tondus and optional jumps.
The instructor adjusted the workout for me during the core section, but the others in the room did a lot of traditional Pilates moves including the famous hundred as well as planks and movements using the ball.
The instructors have the freedom to choose their music, so every class features a different playlist which is a refreshing change from some barre studios who have monthly playlists.
As soon as we finished the class, I walked to the front desk and asked to learn more about their packages and classes. That’s how much I loved my first, sweaty class. It was harder and more challenging than any other barre class I’d taken due to the fast pace and complex moves, but it left me with an energy that I rarely felt after a barre workout. Since it’s low impact, it is perfect for people of all abilities including expecting moms like me. In fact, they offer a multitude of class formats including a popular babies-on-board class for new moms as well as focused pre-natal classes and bootcamp and Pilates focused classes for clients looking to switch things up.
Since my first class back in late January, I’ve taken an average of one class per week, having the great opportunity to try many of the different instructors at the studio as well as their prenatal class.
If you are local and want to try Xtend Barre Brooklyn Heights, you can enjoy one of the two below offers:
- Two weeks unlimited for $49 with the code TWOWEEKS
- Pre & Post Natal 10-pack of classes for new and expectant moms $179 with code DIAMOND
Looking to understand more about what to expect from your first Xtend Barre class? Check out this video.
This post is in partnership with Xtend Barre. In exchange for visiting Xtend Barre and experiencing their different classes, I was asked to share my thoughts with readers. As always, these thoughts are 100% my own opinion.