I went to my 1st ever class at Barre563 this morning. I wanted to substitute this class for my traditional strength training session that I have done for 4 years in a weight room. I had no idea what to expect. I wasn't sure if Barre classes were more like dance, or yoga, or strength training. Barre563 was opened in Davenport last month by Sarah Coon. Sarah's husband Ryan is a multiple Ironman finisher and they recently relocated back home after spending the past few years in Nashville, Tennessee. Ryan told me about Barre563 and I was very excited when they approached me with an idea to help iHope that will hopefully also bring awareness to what Barre563 is. Through the end of July they are offering any new clients a 15 day trial period for $20.00 and donating 1/2 of the money to iHope. If you sign up for the trial at www.barre563.com enter "iHope" in the promotion code space. Barre classes have become very popular in bigger cities around the US and it won't be long before it is very popular in the QC.
I arrived at the studio located at 4884 Utica Ridge Road about 10 minutes before the start of the 9:00 am class. Sarah was very helpful in letting me know what equipment I would be using. They provide everything needed. The studio is brand new and VERY nice. I was a bit nervous because I have been experiencing a lot of lower back pain lately and yesterday it was particularly bad. I was worried this may aggravate my back. The only thing I knew about Barre workouts was what I had read on their website and facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Barre563/280959578707191 . The class I did is called Barre Amped. The class was nearly filled to capacity. Right at 9:00 we began. The workout was more than I could have imagined. We started the workout with upper body exercises. I was holding 2 lb. dumb bells thinking this was going to be easy. Within 3 minutes I was dripping sweat and my arms were shaking uncontrollably. I was wishing I would have used the 1 lb. dumb bells. Barre workouts involve small muscle movements where the position is then held. We went through upper body work for about 5 minutes and I was glad my arms did not fall off. I got great work through my shoulders, triceps, deltoids, and upper back muscles. I had never done any of these movements before but they were easy to follow because Sarah does them with the class and constantly gives precise feedback on how the movements are performed. When I was not in the correct position Sarah would correct me or give verbal cues that reminded me to tighten my core muscles, keep my shoulders back, or keep my head up.
From the arms we then did a series of leg movements similar to squats that had my legs shaking as bad as my arms had during the upper body exercises. The 1 hour workout went by quickly. We completed exercises from about 15-20 different positions and it worked muscles I didn't even know I had. With each position you make very small movements and have to hold position which was tough for me. 4 weeks ago when I saw local physical therapist Dan White for my swollen anterior tibialis Dan said he was very concerned about my hip strength. Weak hips lead to many problems for runners. Barre563 worked the heck out of my hip muscles. I was on the verge of cramping through many of the exercises. Some of the exercises involved the use of free weights, some the use of a bar that you hold, some a strap that wraps around the bar that you hold, some a ball, and many of them just pure body weight. In addition to the strength training component of my major upper and lower body muscle groups this workout was tremendous in working my core strength as well. Almost every exercise engages the core. It was also very good for my flexibility. The first 52 minutes of the class was almost entirely burning of one muscle group after another being in positions that tested my flexibility and strength at the same time. The last 8 minutes or so was spent stretching some of the major muscle groups. My back was much looser when I walked out than when I walked in. I was excited about this workout within the first 10 minutes when I realized it was working my entire body rather than isolating a few major muscles like I do when I lift with traditional weights. Muscles in my hips, glutes, abductors, and back that rarely get worked in the weight room were fried by the end of class. Barre563 was nothing like dance although I can see why dancers would want to do the class because of the flexibility and strength that can be gained. It reminded me just a tiny bit of yoga in that there was some stretching involved but mainly I found it to be a great full-body strength training workout. I am excited about returning next week to Barre563.