This Is What Happens When a Man Tries Xtend Barre
I’m a gym rat. The sort of person who spends a lot of time grunting in front of mirrors, debating the relative merits of different protein shakes, and flexing my biceps when I think people won’t notice.
My workout routine consists of four to five days of lifting (using mostly free weights) with an embarrassing concentration on my arms and pectorals. I am in awe of the other people in my gym who are doing Ironman competitions and leaping on to stacked boxes and whatnot. But my essential goal is really just to look really good in a t-shirt. (It’s called vanity, maybe you’ve heard of it.)
That’s all to say, I’m probably not who you think of when you think of a regular barre practitioner. Barre, meaning the popular workout framed around classic ballet maneuvers.
But in the interest of science (and hoping to tighten up my obliques) I did the first week of Openfit’s Xtend Barre classes, and am here to report back on my results. Here’s what I found.
What Do You Do in Xtend Barre?
Traditional barre classes focus on isometric movements to strengthen the muscles in your body. Xtend Barre amps things up a bit by mixing in cardio elements and Pilates moves for a more intense, full-body workout.
Different Xtend Barre workouts concentrate on different portions of the body, with some routines being more dedicated to the upper or lower body. Although in general, you can expect your butt and core to get a serious workout.
You’re moving for nearly the entire 30 minutes, going between pliés (bending your knees), leg lifts, arm movements, and core work.
Why Should Men Do Barre?
From strengthening to weight loss, there are tons of benefits of barre, no matter how you identify. After my week-long barre journey, are a few reasons why I think men can get something out of this kind of workout.
1. You work all your muscles
Anyone who works out regularly knows just how many muscles there are in the body, and how difficult it is to effectively work all of those muscles.
In Xtend Barre, you’ll hit them all— no questions asked. Specifically, the abdominal work is pretty brutal (in a good way). I found that it was very different from my normal core routines! The variety of movements helped me hit muscles in my core that I’m not normally used to training — same goes for the muscles in my butt. After a solid seven days I was starting to notice a difference in my seat and core.
2. You’ll identify your weak areas
It turns out that I have no sense of balance. For a week, I followed Andrea Rogers‘ Xtend Barre routine, watching as she and her team of exercise models engaged in graceful, swan-like maneuvers, while I just fell down a lot.
3. It pushes you out of your comfort zone
If you’re anything like you me, you’ve fallen into a comfortable workout routine which plays to your strengths. However…this lets you avoid doing exercises that you find awkward or uncomfortable. All of this went out the window when I tried Xtend Barre.
It was frustrating, but also kind of entertaining. To be very bad at something means that even small progress seems exciting. ‘Look at that!’ I said to myself happily, midway through my week of barre, ‘I can sort of almost do a plie!’
4. It’s efficient
Xtend Barre condenses an enormous amount of exercise into a half hour class. Better yet, it can be completed at home and with a minimal amount of equipment. (In our days of self-quarantining and social isolation, this was great.)
Finally, it offers modifications so that anyone can do these classes, no matter their fitness level. All in all, there was really no reason to not do these workouts.
5. It’s effective
Remember those benefits I mentioned above? Following the Xtend Barre program is a pretty great way to get some serious results. I only did the workouts for seven days, so I didn’t see any major physical changes, but I could imagine that if I kept it up, I would be seeing some improvements.
6. Xtend Barre can be done in the privacy of your own home
Maybe you want to give barre a try, but you’re not quite ready to walk into a studio where everyone can watch you learn how to plié for the first time. In that case, cue up an Openfit Xtend Barre workout in your home, far away from any judging eyes. You can work through this new kind of exercise on your own time, all in privacy.
Will I continue to do barre? Probably not exclusively. After a week I started to miss my usual workout routine and doing sets with heavier weights.
But if you’re interested in improving your overall physical fitness, not to mention getting a tight set of abs, Xtend Barre is a fabulous resource, and worth going outside of your comfort zone to try.