I am addicted to the gym. The kind of person who spends a lot of time huffing and puffing in front of the mirror, debating the relative merits of different protein powders, and flexing my biceps when I think no one is looking.
My exercise routine consists of four or five days of weight lifting (mostly free weights) with an almost embarrassing focus on arms and pecs.
I know there are other guys at my gym who compete in Ironman competitions and jump on stacked boxes and things like that.
But my biggest goal, honestly, is looking great in a t-shirt (it’s called vanity, maybe you’ve heard of it).
That’s all I have to say. I’m probably not the person you imagine when you think of someone who regularly exercises at the barre…
Barre is the popular activity that is based on a series of classic ballet movements.
In pursuit of science (and in hopes of toning your obliques), I took the first week of an Xtend Barre class, and I’m here to share my results.
This is what I discovered.
What are you doing at Xtend Barre?
Traditional barre classes focus on performing isometric movements to strengthen the body’s muscles.
Xtend Barre increases the intensity by adding elements of cardio and Pilates movements, resulting in a more intense routine for the whole body.
Different Xtend Barre routines target different body parts. Some focus more on the upper part and some on the lower part.
Still, in general, you can expect your glutes and core to get a lot of attention.
You’ll move for about a full 30 minutes, alternating between places (bending your knees), leg lifts, arm swings, and core work.
Why should men do barre?
From strengthening your body to losing weight, barre offers many benefits no matter how you identify.
After my week-long barre experience, here are a few reasons why I think men can benefit from this type of exercise.
1. You work All muscle
Anyone who exercises regularly knows how many muscles the body has and how difficult it is to work them effectively.
At Xtend Barre, you undoubtedly strengthen them all. Abdominal work in particular is pretty brutal (in a positive sense).
I discovered that this was a very different exercise for the core than my usual routine.
The variety of movements helped me work core muscles that I wouldn’t normally train. And the same goes for the hips.
After seven days at the barre I started to notice a difference in my glutes and core.
2. You identify your weak points
Apparently I have no sense of balance. Over the course of a week, I followed Andrea Rogers’ Xtend Barre routine, watching her and her team perform beautiful swan-like moves while I often fell.
3. Take you out of your comfort zone
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably found an exercise routine that’s comfortable and suitable for you to thrive.
However, this leads you to avoid exercises that make you feel awkward or uncomfortable. All that went by the board when I tried Xtend Barre.
It was frustrating, but quite entertaining. Being really bad at something makes even the smallest progress exciting.
“I can’t believe it!” I told myself very happy in the middle of the week at the bar,”I can do something similar to a plié!
4. It is efficient
Xtend Barre packs plenty of exercises into half-hour classes.
And, what’s better, it can be done at home and with a minimal amount of equipment.
Finally, it includes modified versions of each move, so anyone can take the class regardless of their fitness level.
In general, I would say there is no reason no This is not routine.
5. It is effective
Remember the benefits I mentioned above? Following the Xtend Barre program is a great way to get very noticeable results.
I only did the routines for seven days, so I didn’t see any big physical changes, but I imagine if I keep practicing, I’ll see some improvement.
6. You can do Xtend Barre in the privacy of your own home
Maybe you want to try barre, but you don’t want to go to a studio where other people are watching you learn to ply for the first time.
In that case, you can try an Xtend Barre routine at home, without any intimidation.
You can practice this new type of exercise at your own pace and in complete privacy.
What do I do at the barre? Probably not exclusively.
After a week, I started to miss my normal workout routine, and felt like doing a lot of heavy reps.
But if you’re interested in improving your overall fitness, let alone getting some great abs, Xtend Barre is a great resource, and I think it’s really worth getting out of your comfort zone to try.