Exercise & Fitness

The Bar Method

Jennifer Hornbaker sizes up The Bar Method, the newest fitness craze  to hit Kansas City, to show you what’s working out in Leawood.

A Quick Brief
The offspring of a sexual revolution-era dance conditioning curriculum, The Bar Method combines intense strength intervals with deep stretching and, yes, a few pelvic tilts held over from its predecessor. Using controlled, miniscule movements, The Bar Method is famous for sculpting lean figures. “I got into it because the community The Bar Method builds is amazing,” says Hoddy Potter, owner of The Bar Method in Leawood’s Park Place. “I stayed with it because of what it did for my body.”

Judgment Day
As a Bar Method newcomer, I was distrustful of the raving reviews. I am of the mentality that an hour spent working out had better be worthwhile in the physical vigor department. Upon my entrance into the studio, the decidedly un-gym-like smell—clean and fresh—combined with the studio’s crisp design didn’t set the scene for a sweat session. Still, no sooner had I met Potter than she launched into a demo proving she could “school anyone in Janet Jackson dance moves,” so, worst case, I would get an ab workout from all the laughing.

Criminal Procedure
Within the first 15 minutes of class, I was impressed that lifting mere 2-pound weights was generating a burn in my arms. The Bar Method’s claim to fame, however, is its ballet bar regimen, renowned for producing lifted bottoms and toned thighs. Ten seconds after taking up position (imagine Michael Jackson’s toe stand), my legs were quivering like an off-kilter lawnmower. Thigh agony was followed by core work, a refreshing shakeup from the usual menu of crunches and made exponentially more difficult by the fact that my shaky legs would no longer stay straight.

The Verdict Gluttons
for the sapped yet revitalized sensation I now felt in every muscle, many clients have switched solely to The Bar Method, with enviable results. “This is the first time in my life I have worked out every single day,” says Monica Carter, a runner who has actually trimmed down since adopting The Bar Method. Although to me an exclusively Bar Method routine would feel one-dimensional, three or so sessions a week of this non-impact powerhouse would complement large-movement favorites like running or kickboxing. And, I’ve been told, it works even better when you can actually hold the positions.