I was recently invited to try out a new barre workout! After conversing with the studio manager at Equilibrium Pilates Studio in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, she welcomed me to come in and share my thoughts on their technique.
The method is called X-Tend Barre and is taught at a variety of different studios throughout the United States. Before attending, I looked over the website and had a feeling the style would be mostly Pilates and dance infused. After an hour long class, I can confirm my prediction is true and loved it.
I love the feeling I get when walking into any barre or Pilates studio. Generally, they have sunlit windows, a cool colored theme and carpeted or wood flooring.
I also feeling invited in by walking into a studio that is already set up into stations.
Since each class and instructor is different, the equipment tends to vary. The basics for our class (that I happen to be very familiar with) included a karate strap, a ball and a resistance strap.
This studio came full of equipment, a few of which were completely new to me.
Before this class, I had never seen Pilates hand weights before!
How cool are they? I really liked how they challenged me more by having to hold and balance the ball, rather than grip a traditional hand weight.
I have to admit that there were not many things I didn’t enjoy about the class. There were a lot of similarities in the style and set-up of class that I am used to from teaching at a privately owned barre studio back in Florida.
When I walked into the studio, I somehow found the back entrance but did not notice what it was at the time. The main room where everyone checks in for class looks like a regular studio, with chairs, places to hang your coat and a few bathrooms. Later, I found out this was just the single barre studio section of the property.
I was not waiting in the lobby long before a sweet younger looking woman came up to me and asked if I was Heather. “That’s me!” I replied and followed her into the office to fill out a waiver.
While entering the office, she greeted me with a goody bag of Equilibrium swag that made me feel welcomed!
I now enjoy the water bottle and barre socks as part of my everyday workout rotation, and keep the chap stick in my car for the days I forget to bring some. You can imagine how important that is up here in the winter!
Jessie was not the owner I had previously emailed with, but was a fellow barre instructor. I told her a little bit about my background and we chatted for a few minutes before I had to head into class.
My X-Tend Barre Review
Class started right on time at 10 a.m. When I walked in, I already had a full station ready for me complete with a water bottle. It was a nice surprise.
We dove into the warm up right away and it only took a few short minutes for me to start breaking a sweat! It might sound funny, but the warm up is actually my favorite part of class (besides stretching), and I really appreciate when there is time to incorporate a good one that targets my arms, legs, core, and even work in some cardio.
Like most workouts, there were options to modify or advance by changing up a position or adding a weight. I tried my hardest to challenge myself and do as many advanced moves as I could. I did not get all of them, but became proud of myself for coming pretty close!
We moved to the barre after warm up and did not waste any time working one focused area at a time. Barre has a reputation of making your muscles shake with isolated and repetitive movements, and each area shook up a storm, as usual.
A few exercises that were new to me included big movements like going from a squat to a high kick several times in a row. It is amazing how fast that type of movement can get your heart rate racing! I really liked the added in cardio and made sure to tell our instructor, Amy, afterwards. She too has a dance background, and fell in love with the workout shortly after she was introduced. She was really good at explaining what we should be feeling where, and kept on beat the entire time with her counts. Little things like that is what helps me to enjoy a barre class.
Jessie ended up taking the entire class with me and became a workout buddy. I had the feeling we both challenged each other to keep good form and try our hardest. I always get even more motivated when I am surrounded by hard workers!
When class ended, I thanked Amy and complimented her on her teaching techniques. I thoroughly enjoyed the workout and it was a great challenge.
There Jessie and I are after class in the bigger Equilibrium lobby. That is where I should have gone in to check in, and is connected to a bigger studio for Pilates and group fitness classes.
She gave me a quick tour and introduced me to some of the staff. Everyone was so nice!
While browsing, I could not help but notice even more interesting equipment I did not expect to find at a Pilates studio.
I would love to come back and try a TRX or cardio trampoline class!
Overall, my experience with X-Tend Barre was a fantastic one. Before coming to the studio, I had a hunch that I would enjoy the style of this particular barre workout, and I was absolutely right.
The staff at Equilibrium Pilates give out a “door is always open” vibe, which encourages me to come back and purchase a class package.
Thank you for inviting me to try out your studio, you now have a new X-Tend Barre fan!