Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bar Method Nashville

Everyone should have a workout that they love this much. Bar Method Nashville is the pep in my step, the bright spot at the end of my work days, and without a doubt, the best workout I have ever done. Designed to build strenth, sculpt muscles, increase flexibility, and improve posture, it is a total body workout in one hour.

Each class follows the same sequence, so you will quickly learn the order of things. However, there are many variations of each exercise, so class will never be the same as yesterday. Props such as balls and mini-mats are used frequently to make the exercises more stimulating and challenging.

Let your legs shake! It feels strange at first, but you will quickly get used to it. Each exercise is designed to completely exhaust a muscle (or muscle group), so it requires full concentration.You will never find yourself glancing at the clock wondering when the hour will end. Instead, you will be engaged the entire time.

The exercises of the Bar Method were designed under the guidance of physical therapists, so you can be sure that you will be getting the best exercise while protecting your joints. Throughout class, there are plenty of verbal and hands-on corrections to ensure that everyone is in the correct form. Every single one of the Bar Method Nashville instructors is knowledgeable and friendly, always answering my questions well and even staying after class to show me how to do something correctly.

Class begins with arms. Light weights and lots of repetitions are used to create lean, strong arms and upper back. Planks warm up the entire front of your body, preparing you for the rest of class. Push-ups and reverse push-ups will redefine your upper body.

The first exercise at the bar is calf raises, which not only tone your calves but also work on your balance. After each exercise at the bar, there is a deep stretch. Unlike some exercise classes that leave all the stretching for the end, Bar Method stretches each muscle group after it is exhausted to make you feel great and help you to achieve the elongated dancer's physique.

For most of us, thigh and seat make up the most challenging part of class. There are 3 sets of thigh, utilizing different positions (as well as the ball and the mini-mat, sometimes) to work the upper and lower quads, inner thighs, as well as the corner of your seat. My favorite days are those when "Heads Will Roll" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is played during thigh work. It's so empowering! (Unrelated note: It's also the best suggestion I've ever heard for a bouquet toss song, and I'm a little sad that I didn't go with it!) After thigh, a different seat exercise such as standing seat, pretzel, fold-over, or arabesque works to tone and lift your hamstring and glutes.

Next comes ab work, starting with flat-back and round-back exercises against the wall which target those hard-to-feel lower abdominal muscles, and moving into 3 sets of curl on mats in the middle of the room. Class concludes with a few minutes of "back-dancing" and final stretches. To find out what back-dancing is, you'll have to come to a class!

Class is challenging, whether it's your first class or your 200th class. I joined Bar Method Nashville in September, and it was only in January that I began to be able to consistently stay in all 3 sets of thigh. I still have to come out of reverse push-ups and some of the seat exercises. But all throughout class, you are given "options" to push yourself further. Even if you can't stay in every exercise the whole time, pushing yourself to take at least a few of the options will ensure that you feel great about yourself when you leave. Right now, I am focusing on doing most or all of both sets of push-ups on the balls of my feet, and staying in thigh.

You will make friends! If you start coming regularly, you will see many of the same people at your preferred class time. I look forward to seeing the people I have met in my 5:30 evening class.

Bar Method has more than 65 locations around the country, and they are growing. To find the location nearest you, click here

To view the Nashville studio class schedule, click here. You can purchase classes a la carte, which is a great way to try it out before you commit to a monthly plan. If you want to try a class, let me know! I would love for you to come with me!

Photos of the lovely Bar Method Nashville instructors by Elizabeth Estes Photography

1 comment:

  1. Whenever I have the time, I attend Cardio Bar at the local Y. It's like the bar method intensified. So much fun, but tough enough where you definitely get a workout and sometimes even struggle.