The first time I did a barre class, I could barely walk the day after. My calves were on fire. Following that first class, I continued to do it though (because, as we say at FBG, sore is the new strong) — and I felt myself getting better and better at it. I thought I was well prepared for a scheduled FlyBarre class on my NikeWomen’s trip to NYC (Disclosure: Nike paid for my trip and the class.), but little did I know …
As we walked in, we were prompted to sign up next to a number for a spot in the class. We had the option to work with a high or low bar. I chose the high bar considering I’m 5′ 7″ and had worked with the high bar in my other barre classes.
I was introduced to the fabulous Kara Liotta, a master instructor and director of training for the program. She chatted with me and the others a bit and directed everyone to grab one- or two-pound weights.
We started out with a few warm-ups involving stretches and plank variations coordinated to upbeat music.
The warmup itself had me sweatin’. The ab variations were held for long periods of time.
As you can see on the right in the image above, there are resistance bands. We grabbed those and did a few exercises with them.
We wrapped our feet around the bars and did a form of sit-ups. Oh, and heads up: the black band is far more resistant than the green band. It took me a few minutes to figure that out.
We also wrapped the band around our thighs, opening and closing our legs with our feet pressed together.
Finally, we grabbed the band with both hands while standing on our knees, back straight, and pulled back and forth — making sure to keep our elbows at our side.
The class was not hard to follow. Kara’s background in professional dance and yoga was reflected in her movement, as well as her instruction. I didn’t feel intimidated at all and the eight-counts helped me keep a consistent rhythm.
Continuing on the mat, we grabbed the large squishy balls by each of our mats and held them between our knees, while doing a bridge. We consistently squeezed the ball with our knees (sometimes holding for several seconds), and though it seemed easy at first, it wasn’t. My butt hurt.
Rising from the mat, we led into several arm exercises with our weights. We kept up with the eight-count and again, held several of the moves for long periods of time.
We then did several dance-inspired exercises. This was the toughest part of the class. We grabbed onto the bar while facing it, standing on our tippy-toes with our heels touching. We began to pulse up and down.
Since I practically have zero background in dance (except for the few months in tap and jazz as a child), I needed some help — and form is very important (in everything). Luckily, Kara recognized this and came over to guide me through the right way to “pulse.”
It’s hard to hear in the video, but Kara is just simply showing me the proper form. I didn’t get it with her just explaining it to me, so she ended up having to physically show me.
I wanted to show this video because some people might get totally embarrassed if this were to happen to them, but I am hear to tell you: IT’S OKAY.
Let’s face it, if we all knew what the hell we were doing, we wouldn’t need an instructor, right? And if you’re the only one in the class to get called out, I promise you, you’re not the first. And guys, this video doesn’t show it, but my legs were shaking like a vibrating belt was wrapped around ’em. I kid you not.
By the end of the class, everybody was waddling like a penguin. And the following day? I would have rather done 1,000 sit-ups than have to walk up a flight of stairs. The burn was real.
Have you ever tried a barre class? What were your thoughts? —Erika