Huh? I think I gave her a look similar to this:
|I know. Pretty.|
So anyway, last week I packed the small people off to school and started a month of unlimited classes at the shiny new Bar Method studio that recently opened near me. Let me tell you, there is no metaphorical 'back of the room' in that place. But I don't want to get ahead of my story. First I'll tell you a little bit...
About The Bar Method
TBM was founded by the legendary Burr Leonard. Burr started out teaching the original Lotte Berk Method in the early 1990's, but after noticing some students struggling with aches and pains, Burr consulted a physical therapist and reworked the exercises to make them safer and more effective.
In 2001 Burr and partner Carl Diehl opened the first Bar Method studio in San Francisco. TBM now operates on a franchise system. There are over seventy-five Bar Method studios throughout the United States and Canada.
Is beautiful. Really. It's all shiny and sparkly. See?
I like pretty as much as the next person, but what I really like are the functional features of the studio. The carpet is really cushy, which is standard at TBM studios. They all have an inch of squishy loveliness under the carpets, which makes being on releve for an eternity just a tiny bit less painful. When your thighs are going numb, you don't need the balls of your feet to be numb, too.
My local is also light and airy with ceiling fans!
Towels! I was so psyched about the towels, I almost jumped up into one of the ceiling fans.
Pretty is nice, but honestly I'd workout in a barn for the sake of a good class. If it was good enough for the baby Jesus, it's good enough for me. What's really important is...
In a Bar Method class, you'll perform many of the classic moves with which any barre-ista is familiar--pretzel, flat-back abs, c-curve, fold-over seat, etc. The movements are almost always very small--moving an inch means just an inch. Bar Method classes are particularly isometric, and the pace is very slow and controlled.
But what I'm really loving about Bar Method are the very attentive instructors. They undergo months of intense training involving hours of study, practice teaching and written exams. And it shows. Jen and Sarah, the owners of my local studio, are very attentive to form. If you slip out of position, they are right there to get you back into it. They are warm and encouraging, but they won't let you away with anything.
This is a good thing. Even the most experienced students need form corrections. The better your form, the harder the exercises. When you are fatigued at the end of a set, it's common to tense your shoulders, slump forward, or lower your heels. Good instructors keep on everyone to make sure form is pristine to the very last rep. That's where the money is, people.
TBM instructors will call people out by name, rather than just correcting people privately off-mic. I knew about this beforehand and wasn't sure how I would feel about it. But even after only a week, I've come to like it. When I hear Jen or Sarah telling Susie to stand up a little straighter, I stand up straighter, too. This way we all benefit from the form corrections. And you never stop needing them.
What I Don't Like About The Bar Method
It's not next to my house. And it's not free. You can't have everything in this life. A single TBM class costs a little more than other studios in my area, but there are deals to be had. In fact, my local is offering a first class FREE deal during the month of September! Any natives looking to join me?
Remember--they have towels!
FYI--If you don't live near a studio, The Bar Method also has DVDs and a streaming video service with a pretty large library. Check it out at www.baronline.barmethod.com.