Cyclists, you’ve got the thighs of steel thing nailed. Rowers, your shoulders would put the Herculean Gods to shame. But when it comes to the fitness physique that we really want this season, it has to be the lithe, toned body of a ballet dancer. Nobody else in the sporting world seems to effortlessly combine strength, flexibility and toned definition. How do they do it?!
Some might suggest a decade of dancing ‘til you bleed in the Ballet Russes... But luckily for our still intact pinkie toes (which we’d like to keep, thank you), Melbourne fitness studio Xtend Barre has a far more enjoyable – and achievable – solution. Listers, meet barre, the pilates-dance-cardio class you need in your fitness-savvy life.
So, what exactly IS barre? Essentially, barre is a combination of pilates, ballet and contemporary dance that has been uniquely designed to improve your flexibility, balance, core strength and posture, all the while burning away those unwanted calories (um, hello, third serving of weekend gelato…) in a high-adrenaline workout. It’s a full-body fitness class that leaves you feeling stronger and more energised after each session, making it our go-to for a class that targets all of our needs.
With studios in Bayside, Essendon, Hawthorn and Melbourne CBD, Xtend Barre has fast become a favourite for barre in Melbourne - whether you’re in need of a speedy session before work, an evening class to unwind, or a weekend workout to atone for that epic brunch. The ultra-modern dance studios come complete with all the helpful extras you’d expect from a luxe health club (like the dry shampoo you always forget…) and, thankfully for our wallets, none of the price tag. With memberships from only $85 per month, you can achieve your fitness goals and your financial goals - without fretting about either.
Unlike regular ballet and pilates classes, each 55-minute Xtend Barre session is set to a pumping soundtrack to keep you moving and motivated, even on those days when you’d rather be settling in for a nap. As well as a soundtrack that will have your body dancing in no time, the Xtend Barre instructors are positive, approachable and, above all, always there to push you through that final set of repetitions that have your body screaming for you to stop. (Hint: Don’t. Nobody ever achieved washboard abs by flopping into a heap at the last hurdle…)
As for what to expect? Each Xtend Barre class begins with a series of pilates and resistance training exercises, helping to loosen up the joints and get those muscles warmed up and ready to move. Then the ballet aspect kicks in, focusing on strengthening and lengthening the body, as well as toning up key areas such as your legs, arms and butt. You’ll be surprised by how easy it is to pick up the moves, even if the closest you’ve been to a dance studio is jamming along to Bey’s ‘Single Ladies’ in your bedroom!
When it comes to cardio, Xtend Barre brings together energising music and simple sequences that take inspiration from ballet and modern dance. No, you won’t be whip nae-naeing across the studio (because any routine that includes the instruction, ‘now break your legs’ is surely the worst ever?) You will, however, be mastering an up-tempo series of controlled moves that incorporate everything from the traditional ballet studio barre to sequences that will have you working up a sweat – and toning up and trimming down – in no time.
As well as dance-heavy sessions, you can incorporate a fantastic range of Xtend Barre classes into your routine with a focus on everything from suspension training to relaxation yoga. To find out what your nearest Xtend Barre studio is currently specialising in, check out the individual timetables for Bayside, Essendon, Hawthorn and Melbourne CBD.
Keen to try barre for yourself? Xtend Barre is opening its studios for FREE for one day only this January, giving you the opportunity to try out the home of best barre in Melbourne for absolutely nada.
Saturday 23 January, various times
And, if you’re really up for the barre challenge to shift those Christmas pounds and discover your very own stronger, leaner and more bendy dancer’s body, you’ll love Xtend Barre’s 60 Day Lifestyle Challenge. Kicking off on Monday 1 February, the Xtend team are challenging all barre fans to an epic sixty day barre and diet commitment. Starting at three classes per week and going up to five weekly sessions of barre in Melbourne, this is the ultimate commitment for getting results that will have you looking and feeling on top form. Holding off for an excuse to shake up your routine? This, Listers, is it.
Contact Xtend Barre for more information about the 60 Day Barre Challenge
We are GIVING AWAY a month’s unlimited access to Xtend Barre, including 5 free VIP passes to bring your friends!
Get a month’s pass to an Xtend Barre studio of your choosing, along with the opportunity to bring along 5 mates for a VIP barre class in Melbourne. To enter, fill out your details below:
We'll see you at the barre, Listers...
Image credit: Simon Shiff for The Urban List
Editor's Note: This article is proudly sponsored by Xtend Barre and endorsed by The Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.