Posts Tagged ‘barre’

Flybarre @ Flywheel Sports

By Kristina

I have enjoyed taking Flywheel spin classes and was excited to get the opportunity to try Flybarre classes, which started at the Back Bay location in February 2015. I was given a 5-pack of classes in exchange for my review. I have taken a lot of classes at other barre studios (Exhale, Bar Method, and Pure Barre) so I was curious how Flybarre would compare in intensity and style. I was also excited to try it as a pregnancy workout because it’s a good way to keep up strength in a low-impact, modifiable way.

FlyBarre (3) FlyBarre (1) FlyBarre (2)

Photo Credits: Flywheel

After I made my first reservation, I received an email with the following information. This is helpful for getting familiar with the studio and making sure that everything goes smoothly.

Thank you for reserving a mat in your first FlyBarre class. We’re so excited to pulse with you!
We recommend you arrive about 10 minutes before the start of your first class. When you arrive at the studio, here’s what you’ll need to do to make your first class as smooth as possible:
-Check-in! You’ll see computers when you walk into the studio. Just enter your Flywheel Username and confirm your mat number.
-If you need to, change your clothes in one of our changing rooms.
-Put your belongings in a locker – they have combinations so no need to bring a lock.
-You will need to grab two sets of weights, a lighter and a heavier set; we recommend 1 lb and 2lb or 2lb and 3lb.
-Grab your FREE towels.
-Head into the classroom.
-Find your assigned mat.
-Let your instructor know if you have any injuries or if you are pregnant before the start of class. They’ll give you modifications for each exercise and talk you through everything.

I also saw that there are sitters available via a recent e-newsletter. This would be great for attending class as a new mom!

We’re teaming up with Sensible Sitters, a childcare referral service where you can find and book sitters when and where you need them, to make it even easier for you to FLY with us!  Members of our #FLYfam can now get 15 hours of sitting for the price of 10 hours.  Great to use for the Fly Challenge!  To redeem your hours, create an account online and reference FLYMOM when booking.


Reserving Class
Each class has 18 spots that are bookable starting on Sundays for the following week. You can reserve via or via the app. Classes start as early as 5:30 a.m. or as late as 7:30 p.m. Some times are convenient for scheduling a doubleheader (Flywheel + Flybarre). There are 45 and 60 minute options. The instructor location and barre heights (34” and 35” are specified). There is a 32” barre as well, but that is located near the instructor mat. I thought I would need the 32” barre but found that the 34” was just fine. At Bar Method I sometimes had to sit on a riser and in Pure Barre I sometimes had to stick a ball under the barre to be able to reach it during round back. 

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 11.16.32 AM

At the Studio
Upon arrival, you can check in at desk, use the computers, or use the phone app. Checkin can be hectic if there is a Flywheel class starting around the same time as your Flybarre class. The Flybarre studio is located behind the Flywheel studio. There are ample lockers (the blue ones have outlets for charging your phone or other electronics!) and two benches to sit on while waiting. There is filtered water (cold or room temperature) available, so bring your own bottle. However, there are no dedicated changing rooms so you will have to change in the bathrooms or showers. There are towels, hair ties, hair dryers, deodorant, mint, and lotion available. Sometimes there are apples or bananas available for a post-class snack.

Unlike other barre studios, you do not have to wear grippy socks because you will be standing on your mat or the hardwood floor during class. Most people wear leggings and a fitted shirt or tank. I have seen some women wearing shorts, but wouldn’t recommend it because some of the movements need more coverage.

Before class, you can collect two sets of hand weights outside the studio. The weights start at 1 lb and I think they even went up to 8 lbs. Mats are already arranged in designated barre spots that are labeled with numbers. On the barre above each spot are balls and two resistance bands (I think gray is lighter resistance than black). You do not have to put your weights away after arms or clean up the mats, balls, or bands after class–this saves a lot of time! Additionally, the mat reservation policy saves you the “get to class early to get a prime spot” time and prevents overcrowding.

PicFrame (2)The Class
I took Power 45 class with: Jennifer Garner, Stephanie Rodolico, and Azure Campbell. Instructors will usually greet each client and ask about injuries, but I got there early to talk to the instructors about pregnancy modifications. I really liked that the instructors maintain a high level of rigor in the class but always made me feel welcome. Azure was especially helpful with modifications and with checking on me during class. I felt really motivated by her and can see why she has a following at Vim Fitness (where my sister belongs). I’ve gotten a lot more sensitive to instructors who motivate their students with statements about getting bikini bodies or thinner thighs, so I appreciate the focus on developing strength and persevering through tough sequences.

The order of exercises was different than than of Exhale, Bar Method, and Pure Barre (all of which go warmup -> planks -> arms -> thighs -> seat -> round back -> flat back -> abs -> stretch). The first time I took class, this definitely kept me guessing!

  • Warmup: This included side lunges, toe touches, plank sequences with leg lifts and side dips.
  • Barre Abs: To do this, we lay on the mat with our feet tucked behind the barre and held onto the band that was looped around the barre. I have done a similar exercise at Exhale (as a modification of the curl). I put a ball behind my back for support.
  • Seat: In all three classes, we did seat on the floor from a tabletop position. Isolated leg lifts (straight back or to the side) targeted all areas of seat. I had a really tough time with this because of lower back and hip pain. I especially struggled with “fire hydrant dog” and other exercises that also targeted the outer hips.
  • Arms: This is the hardest arm sequence I have ever experienced in barre. I have no shame in admitting that I went with 1 lb weights. We used the bands wrapped around the barre for exercises like rows or shoulder raises, then moved to weights. The weight work involved a lot of focus on the shoulders. The dynamic arms sequence was less painful and actually kind of fun!
  • Thighs: This was more familiar to me. It included plies on the mat (sometimes combined with arm exercises), flat back chair (OUCH), and plies with turned out feet and heels up. I had to take lots of breaks here–the order of exercises definitely fatigued my muscles fast.
  • Abs: This didn’t feel as long as some other end-of-class ab sequences that I have done. Each instructor put a different spin on the exercises. Similar to barre abs, I put a ball behind my back for support.
  • Stretching

The classes are smaller than the other classes I’ve been to. However, the hands-on corrections weren’t as frequent. The movements and transitions are quicker than other classes I’ve been too, and I felt that the workout is definitely well-designed for exhausting each muscle group. The music was great, and the instructors all kept the exercises timed to the beat and offered countdowns. Overall, Flybarre is a great addition to the Boston barre scene!

1 class $28
5 classes $125
10 classes $235
20 classes $430
Monthly (requires 3 month commitment): $220/month
Monthly + Flywheel (requires 3 month commitment): $280/month

Prudential Center (very close to the T entrance/exit and Barnes & Noble)
800 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02199
Twitter: @flybarre | Instagram: @flybarre | Facebook: Flybarre
Yelp | Rate Your Burn

Blogger Class at Endurance Pilates & Yoga

By Kristina


A few weeks ago, I went to an Endurance Pilates & Yoga class with Blog and Tweet Boston. Endurance Pilates & Yoga opened in January 2015 in the South End (close to Flour and Jaho). Founder Julie Erickson brings over 20 years of experience (including four Pilates certifications and an Ashtanga yoga certification) to this new studio location. The studio offers group Pilates classes and private lessons on the mat, reformer, and Cadillac, as well as barre, TRX, vinyasa yoga, and HIIT classes. The variety of classes suits all types of fitness enthusiasts. Julie is an avid runner, and I appreciated that she knows how to build strength and flexibility to complement running. Additionally, most classes are very adaptable for pregnant clients and the studio will eventually offer prenatal yoga.

Julie led our blogger group through a mix of mat Pilates, barre, and vinyasa yoga. A stickler for proper form and alignment, she gave accurate cues and adjustments in all three workouts. She made sure that we could all access the exercises and differentiated for those who needed more of a challenge or modifications. The mat Pilates class was my favorite of the three. I like the traditional exercises and that we targeted arms, legs, and core. Julie’s directions also ensure that you work hard and get the most out of each exercise. She designed her own format for barre (which seems more like traditional ballet barre exercises than the other formats I have tried) and uses portable barres rather than wall-mounted ones so that clients don’t rely too much on the support of the barres. The barre exercises alternate with cardio bursts such as jumping jacks. I’d be interested to see what a full barre class experience is like. Like the mat Pilates, the vinyasa yoga was traditional and familiar. The sequences we did felt good after the toning and strengthening we did beforehand. After our class, Julie did demonstrations of TRX and the Cadillac. She also led small groups of us through a few exercises on the reformers. In my few minutes on the reformer, I could immediately see why celebs like Jennifer Aniston swear by it! I look forward to coming back to try more Pilates classes in the future.

Disclaimer: I attended this class free of charge and received a coupon for a private lesson. I was not paid to write this post.

corrections to form

By Kristina

Today after our 8:20 Pure Barre class, Jess and I stayed after to talk to Lauren, the owner, about how to tweak our form so that we could get the maximum effect from the exercises. She went through some common mistakes that people make in tricep work, thigh sprints, round back, flat back, and abs, then explained how the changes in form will help. For example, in triceps kickbacks, the cue is to try to get the weights behind your back so that you cannot see them in the mirror. However, when people do this, their arms often bend a bit instead of remaining straight. Keeping the arms straight activates two parts of the triceps and creates more of a burn. Lauren watched me and Jess do some of the moves and pinpointed where we could make corrections. She also took time to answer our questions about specific moves (e.g., what we should do about hip tightness preventing us from lifting our left knees in pretzel). Though our conversation was less than ten minutes, I think it will pay off in terms of how much more effective class will be!

The classroom teacher takeway: Lauren’s willingness to help students after class, transparency about the design of the class, and ability to make accurate corrections.

I always encourage my students to come see me for extra help if they need it, but I still would like more to come in to do so. The ones who do have seen big improvements in their quiz & test scores. I’ve been able to look at their work and take more time to give feedback and help them figure out how to correct where they are going wrong. This can be hard to do in a 53-minute class when many students are requesting help on a new concept. Similarly, Lauren has mentioned that it is difficult to make corrections to students for exercises that last only 60 seconds. The students don’t have an opportunity to practice using the feedback until the next class, and they might not fully understand what the cue means.

A few days ago, I had a student come in for extra help because he had fallen way behind in class. When I gave him a set of problems (with answers) to do, he said “okay, I’ll do them at home.” I said “no, just stay and work through them for 10 minutes.” Another student wandered in during this time to stay hello. She often stays after to ask for help and get her homework done before going home. The struggling student commented that he was having trouble, and she walked over to him to look at his work.

This turned out way better than if I had just corrected his mistakes in setting up the cosine rule problem. The girl stayed to watch him and offer feedback as he tried the next three in the sequence, and after he got them right, he said to her “what do you want to be when you grow up? you should be a math teacher.” She’s a future Lauren in the making!

C2 Pilates Blogger Barre

By Kristina

Yesterday I went to a C2 Pilates blogger barre class with Jess from Little Miss Runshine and Denisefrom Fit 4 a Foodie. Other attendees included Sarah from SarahFit, Jen from Boston Bachelorette, and Monica from Burpees and Bubbly.

c2pilates Jess, Denise, and me

CC began with an introduction of the studio, rundown of the class routines, and rationale behind their method. I appreciated this–though I have gone to many barre classes, I like knowing what to expect! In fact, I was a little nervous because I heard from Jess that the class was supposedly harder than the ones she had gone to before.

CC and Carolyn put their heart and soul into designing great barre & pilates classes for students of all ages and fitness levels. As we get older and spend most of our workdays at desks, it gets harder to complete and recover from long runs, ultimate frisbee games, and tough classes such as soul.train Crazy 8’s. I am now trying to lure my 50-something coworker to Pure Barre. Though she did gymnastics and cheerleading as a teenager and has natural athletic ability, she was hoping for a “beginner” version of barre.

CC and Carolyn

C2 Pilates provides a different approach than many of the other barre studios, making barre more accessible to ladies like my coworker. Differentiation of instruction rocks! Their oldest barre client is 84, and they are also doing a fundraiser (Pink Barre) for breast cancer.  Instruction will be modified to accommodate physical limitations or provide extra challenges. The classes are also designed for more of a slow burn than the intense burn that many other barre classes incorporate, and it is comprised of 50 minutes of standing work and 10 minutes of floor work rather than moving from barre to floor and back. I’ve noticed that Pure Barre, Core Fusion, and Bar Method clients tend to be in their 20s and 30s–would love to see some 84-year-young ladies in there too!

CC led the warmup, arms, legs, abs, and cooldown sections while Carolyn led the cardio legs sections. The music was slower and calmer than I was used to, and at first I felt like we were in a more traditional ballet class. I liked the scaffolding of the exercises (gradually increasing in difficulty, and spiraling back to different muscle groups). For example, we worked arms and legs several times rather than moving in discrete sections. Over the course of the class, we did eleves, releves, arabesques, attitudes, plies, tendus, and rond de jambes as part of the carefully choreographed routines (all of which were timed perfectly to the songs). The instructors’ cuing was helpful and accurate. They positioned themselves so that they could see us and we could see them in the mirrors, then provided verbal corrections to our form and alignment. I worried about going the wrong direction from the other students and hitting someone in the face. Thankfully, this did not happen (though I did drop my orange ball in the later leg work!).

All in all, the C2 Pilates barre experience was a fun way to meet other bloggers and shake up my fitness routine. Thank you CC and Carolyn!

segways & accomplishments

By Kristina

Yesterday I went to my first class at Pure Barre. Having gone to Exhale and Bar Method, I was curious about the differences at Pure Barre.  The class structure was extremely similar, but I found some different teaching inspiration.

1) Accounting for Transitions and Organizing Materials Saves Time – At Exhale, the weights and straps are stored in the back corner of the studio in bins on the floor. If all students arrive in a staggered way, then collecting these items before the start of class is pretty easy. Pure Barre has the weights organized on shelves right outside of the studio with the numbers facing out, so that you can grab them from the various shelves on your way in. Similarly, the tubes are hanging on racks so they’re not tangled, and they’re easy to grab. Pure Barre adds one extra piece of equipment (playground balls), and several baskets of these are staggered inside the studio and out. During class, Exhale has students return their weights to the bins immediately after the arm section (causing a big line). Pure Barre does not. I preferred this because we got a little more time to stretch our arms and transition to the next set of exercises.

My takeaway for the classroom: reassess my organization to think about how materials are used in context (versus whether I have enough space for them). I’d like to figure out the tasks I keep repeating (or that students keep repeating) and make them more efficient. I would also like to find the spots of downtime and cut them down to increase on-task time and cut off the starting points for boredom. I appreciate that both Exhale and Pure Barre classes go straight through the hour without awkward breaks.

2) Becoming Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable – I read a post by Nicole is Better that has a compelling lesson: “When you cross the border between comfort and discomfort, you have no choice but to step up your game. When you want to change, when you want to be better, you have to push yourself into discomfort.” My experience at Pure Barre yesterday was exactly that. Exhale was my first experience with barre classes, so I have a mental association with only being able to achieve the first levels of exercises (often shying away from doing the challenge modifications). I noticed at Pure Barre that the instructor didn’t explicitly offer many modifications to make the exercises easier or more challenging (though she did come around to correct our form). She proceeded through class as if everyone could achieve the same level of fitness, and lo and behold, I didn’t automatically downgrade myself (e.g., by doing side plank with a knee on the ground). Exhale offers options to push regular attendees, which I appreciate as well–so now I’m inspired to take those options the next time I go!

My takeaway for the classroom: Treat activities as if they are achievable by all students, emphasizing a “you can do it!” attitude instead of coming in thinking “they are going to have the worst time with this, it will be so hard,” and encouraging students to go for the challenge rather than to take the comfortable road.


classroom management at the barre

By Kristina


 Photo Credit: Pure Barre


Over the past few years, I’ve been going to the barre after work for fun and stress relief. No, readers, not the *bar*…but it still is a happy hour! Exhale Spa is near my school, so I always snap up deals from Groupon, Gilt, Rue La La, and Bloomspot when they are available. I’ve also gone to Bar Method, go to Lava Barre when in Virginia visiting family, and am excited to go to Pure Barre later this month.

Today I went to Denise Griffin Crowe’s Core Fusion Barre class at Exhale. Notorious for her tough classes, she has quite the following. Her 6:15 a.m. Wednesday class is booked solid until the next Mayan apocalypse. After experiencing her class today, I thought about the classroom management strategies that help teachers keep students focused on math group work when they’re tired…and pushing through a set of plies when they’re tired.

1) Get to know your students. Introduce yourself at the start of class to each student and find out if they have any injuries or need modifications. Not all students come to class with the same strengths, so the lesson can’t be one-size-fits-all.

2) Learn the students’ names. Though this is a relationship builder, it deserves its own spot. The Bar Method teachers are crazy good at doing this. Even if it’s your first class, they will somehow memorize your name and then use it when calling you out to fix your form or to praise you. When you come back for subsequent classes, they will greet you by name at check in. I appreciate that!

3) Interact with every student at least once in the class. It’s easy for a teacher to focus only on her regulars, but that can make newbies feel left out. Before I came to these barre studios, I’d only been to gym yoga or BodyPump classes where the instructor stays at the front of the class and demonstrates rather than going around to give feedback to students. Relating to number 1) above…don’t push your students too hard if they’re not ready. I had to stop and rest a few times during some of the leg work at the barre today, and I was glad that Denise didn’t scold me for doing so. I also noticed that she differentiated for advanced students rather than trying to keep the entire class at the same level.

4) Give a variety of feedback. Non-verbal feedback saves so much time and keeps the class running smoothly. For example, the instructor could yell “Little Sally, put your shoulders over your hips and do your plies lower” from across the room or she could come over to Little Sally, gently put her hands on Little Sally’s shoulders to align her and push her to the appropriate height level. Verbal feedback for correction should be done close to the student so that she doesn’t feel singled out or embarrassed. I never used to think about this when teaching math, but after experiencing well-done verbal corrections in barre class, I am trying to bring more of that to my teaching. Verbal feedback for praise can often help students push through uncomfortable situations and stay motivated. When I hear “great job, Kristina!” I work a little harder.

5) Structure the class well. Provide counts to let students know where they are and how much longer to expect to work. Every teacher I’ve seen has planned her class structure so well that transitions went smoothly and we ended exactly on time. The teachers also anticipate where students will have trouble, then help them make adjustments. The one time I noticed a blip in structure was when the teacher was implementing a new class format. She explained the changes in front of the class (they didn’t seem awkward there). However, I overheard her after class speaking about how she’d accidentally made one part too short.

I look forward to getting physically and mentally stronger from barre classes. It’s fun to find teaching strategies in unexpected places!