Pilates barre, a fusion workout of Pilates, dance, and yoga, has been heralded by celebrities, models, and chiropractors alike for its ability to create lean, long muscles, reduce stress, and improve posture. I consider myself relativity in shape (though, admittedly, my athletic career peaked in high school) and I love to dance, so I figured I’d have no trouble dropping in for a class to see what all the hype was about… but this is not a class to be taken lightly.
The Barre Work
Unsure of what to expect, I walked into a room of girls pliéing at the ballet barre in a mirrored room. I don’t know whether it was my underdeveloped leg muscles or my brand new yoga mat that gave me away, but the instructor immediately asked if it was my first class and positioned me at the barre next to one of the more experienced girls. I began to mimic her movements, feeling a little bit self-conscious but not really challenged at first. What felt like hundreds of squats later, however, my legs were shaking uncontrollably and the announcement of the switch to the mat was a welcome relief.
The Mat Work
I never thought I’d be grateful to be told to hold the plank position for as long as I could, but anything besides squats sounded wildly appealing at the time. On the mats we worked with medicine balls, Pilates rings, and blocks in a series of core exercises as the instructor counted off to the beat of the music. The lights were gradually dimmed as the class came to an end with some deep stretching and “introspection” time (all I could think about was how happy I was that I live in a ground-level apartment).
My overall opinion on the experience: this class is for you if you’d like to explore 500 different forms of cruel and unusual punishment to a Ke$ha soundtrack. Was it rewarding when it was over? Absolutely. I’ve never felt so satisfyingly exhausted after any other one-hour workout. But go in prepared to really work it out.
By Grace Romanowsky, Staff Writer
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