barrecore: a combination of ballet, yoga and pilates. Too much of a good thing or just about right?
barrecore is a new exercise concept brought over from the States to London a little over three months ago. Situated just off King’s Road, Chelsea, the barrecore studio has received a flurry of rave reviews, so as a former dancer and now pilates and yoga devotee, I was eager to try out first hand what has been hailed to be the next in exercise evolution.
So what is it all about?
Each 60 minute barrecore class is determined to be a form of ‘intelligent exercise’, but what does that mean? Well, simply put this means by integrating the fat-burning format of interval training with static stretches, you exhaust all major muscle groups which are then subsequently stretched for relief, improved tone, posture and alignment.
What do you actually do?
The class begins with a 10 minute warm up followed by 25 minutes of leg and glute exercises. The next 20 minutes are focused on core conditioning, drawing to a close with five minutes of blissful relaxation and stretching. I take part in a lot of classes and the danger is always their repetitive nature (a reason I am not a big fan of spin), but barrecore instructors keep the boredom at bay by ramping up and lowering the intensity of each exercise throughout the class, keeping you focused and engaged and albeit ‘feeling the burn’.
What did I think?
I attended a mid-morning class. It was almost booked out which took me by surprise due to the usual hour. The instructor was welcoming and asked who was new to the class and explained how to use the apparatus involved, which included a ball, yoga mat, hand weights and a yoga band.
Having danced for 17 years, I thought I would breeze through it when it came to plies and squats, but with the addition of the ball and small, deliberate movements to work the deeper muscle tissue, I think even Darcey Bussell would struggle not to feel her muscles working hard. This isn’t to say the class would prove too much for a beginner as you can take it at your own pace. In fact, I suspect by the time you have attended this class for six weeks, the term’ buns of steel’ wouldn’t be something you just daydream about while sat in the office. In terms of results, it seems this class delivers quickly as even after my first session I noticed a marked difference in my muscle tone in the following two days.
How does it make you feel?
My regular exercise routine usually consists of running, yoga and pilates, with some weight training thrown in when I can find the time. During this class I could not help but think my routine was missing something, I generally feel I am covering all bases in terms of muscle groups, but the aching in my legs and glutes following barrecore proved otherwise.
This isn’t a class that will make you out of breath per say, the movements are small and precise providing more of an anerobic workout than aerobic. This isn’t to say you don’t get hot and sweaty, the intensity and precision of each exercise means you find yourself squeezing and stretching as though your life depended on it, while building lean muscle mass and burning fat in the process.
Who can do it?
Anyone. Each class caters for absolute beginners through to barrecore devotees. There are also stretch specific classes available and even a devoted ‘Bikini Body’ class so you are ready to bare all come holiday time.
What to wear?
Something that you can move easily in and remember to bring socks as these are mandatory throughout the class. Don’t panic if you forget though, as socks are available to buy on site for £5.
How much does it cost?
Single classes start at £28 per session, but as an introductory offer new barrecore devotees can buy one class and get their second free at a cost of £28. Feeling more flush, then you can even splash out on the one month unlimited class offer for £135 meaning you can pop along to any class, any time.
Where is it?
The barrecore Studio is located in the heart of Chelsea, just down the road from either Sloane Square or South Kensington stations.
First Floor, Atlantic Court
77 Kings Road
London SW3 4NX
For more information about barrecore please visit: www.barrecore.co.uk
Victoria Wood, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine