Bar classes have got to be the hardest type of workout to explain to someone. Half the time I talk about it people thing I’m becoming a bartender. Not the case. Instead of mixing drinks, I’m burning them off with this bizarre (yes, I said it) combination of weights, squats, and abdominal work.
My latest adventures have been at the The Bar Method in Montrose. This is Houston’s only location of the national chain with two workout rooms and nearly always full classes. (Pro Tip: If you’re looking to attend one, make sure you sign up ahead of time online.)
Two years in a row, Tidbits has hooked me up with some affordable bar classes in Houston. And two years in a row, I’ve slipped on my sticky socks, grabbed the bar and squatted and lifted my way into a shaking oblivion.
Wondering what a typical class is like? Here’s the breakdown. Class starts off by working your arms. You use 2-5lb weights to do a variety of things like bicep curls, shoulder presses, tricep curls and more. Then you drop the weights, and do some loveable (ugh) pushups, planks and tricep presses.
Then you grab a spot on the bar (aha! the juicy part!) for some leg
torture workout. The moves are very subtle that tend to target one muscle group at a time. You’re holding onto the bar for balance, and occasionally you hear the term “releve,” to cue going onto tip-toes whichs makes you kinda feel like you’re at a ballet class (the inspiration for the bar workout. Brb channeling Misty Copeland).
Your form is very important and the Bar Method instructors make a point of learning everyone’s name and calling you out when you slip into bad posture. So if you’re like me and attend bar classes on a not-so-consistent basis, you’re names going to be called out….a lot. But have no fear! The instructors are doing it with your best interest at heart. If you don’t find the exact position (retuck your hips again Anastasia), you won’t get the workout that you paid for.
So after you lift, lower, squat and balance to the point where your legs are literally shaking uncontrollably (it’s insane!), you grab some mats and slide them under the bar for some core work where you grab onto the bar and do leg lifts. The Bar Method is big on props and they’re all about using mats and risers and mini mats and straps and even balls to get you into the proper position for a killer workout.
You don’t really sweat in a bar class, but boy do you shake. Everything is done in short, but powerful, intervals, and the more you keep your hips tucked the more intense everything gets, including your desire for a strong drink (no? just me?).
After abdominal work with your back pressed against the wall and hands holding onto the bar, you slide your mat completely onto the floor for more core work and “back dancing” (think bridge pose in yoga / reverse twerking). All of this happens in 60 minutes or less, and honest to god the time flies when you’re in that class.
Want to try it out? Get 5 weeks of unlimited bar classes for $89 weeks here! (That’s super cheap!)
Curious about how this compares to Pure Barre? Check out this blog post on what to expect in your first Pure Barre class.