Raising the Barre

Current mood: try new things.

In that spirit, I went to Bar Method South Loop last night for a class with my girlfriend Tricia. I’m an avid runner and I’ve been looking for new cross-training options, and while I had no real concept of what barre was I did know that it involved a lot of small, repetitive movements, and stretching – something I do very little of on the regular.

By design I made no effort to do any research or prepare myself. On the contrary, I made the effort to enter the studio (which is located conveniently across the street from our building), sign the consent form and get involved.

20 minutes later my legs were shaking.

Tempo push-ups, lunges, shoulder presses, and more. For me barre is very different from the constant that is running or lifting weights or yoga sculpt or working with a trainer:

  • Exercises are performed in one to three minute intervals
  • Little breaks are sprinkled liberally throughout the 60 minute session
  • At no point did I sweat profusely or find myself out of breath
  • To be brutally honest I felt that the session was uneventful at times.

I knew (and know) better than to write off the “tameness” of the workout though, and low and behold, I woke up this morning pleasantly sore (aka awake) in places I haven’t been since I can remember – perhaps ever. I wasn’t debilitated like I often am after a long run with a hard effort or a tough 60 minute weight-training session with my trainer,  but I certainly saw (see) how beneficial barre can be for me and other runners if  practiced consistently.

What I liked:

  • Flexibility: lots of stretching
  • Upper-body work (something most runners neglect or simply forget about)
  • Legs: they shook!

Where I felt it this morning:

  • Quads
  • Shoulders
  • Back / core (in the good way)

Bottom line, after only one session I’m strongly considering a one-month unlimited pass. I’m interested to see how these workouts can help my running, and I’m curious to see the impact that repeat participation will have on my overall fitness and physique. At the very least it’ll give Tricia and I more time together.

If you’re a guy, know this: barre isn’t just for women. Try something new and you might like it.

Leg up!


Author: Kevin Baum

I'm a Chicago native with a passion for style, fitness, travel, and personal improvement. And pizza!