The Bar Method

2.8

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The Bar Method fitness program can be traced way back to the late 1930s when German dancer Lotte Berk combined ballet barre exercises with her rehabilitation therapy while recovering from a back injury. Berk then developed a fitness program based on her routine and opened studios in England to teach others. The system came to America in the early 1970s, and in 1981, Burr Leonard used Berk's method to develop the Bar Method. The program gained popularity and became a fixture in the fitness world by the turn of the century.

Today, the Bar Method is taught in studios in 23 states, Washington DC and Canada.

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The Good

  • Great for any age or skill level
  • Full-body workout
  • Tracks progress

The Bar Method is ideal for any age or skill level. You don't have to be a chiseled, super-conditioned athlete or workout warrior to enjoy the system or have success with it. And it's not just for women, either: men who have taken up the fitness program have found satisfaction and seen solid results.

Few fitness programs incorporate such a full-body workout as the Bar Method. The workout includes arm work, thigh work, seat work, back work, curls, stretching, shoulder work, weight lifting, push-ups and reverse push-ups. The exercises sculpt arms and legs and give definition to key muscle areas. The workout also burns calories and increases strength.

The techniques used in the Bar Method have been carefully crafted, developed and refined over years and years of research and work. Beyond getting program followers in shape and feeling and looking better, the techniques are designed to improve overall posture and coordination.

The Bar Method sessions track users' progress and help them reach their goals. Trainers and instructors do more than just conduct a workout; they emphasize development and attaining objectives. Instructors are rigorously trained in anatomy and physiology in addition to the Bar Method technique, so they are prepared to lead and teach accurately and effectively.

If Bar Method classes aren't offered in your area, the company sells several DVDs featuring the fitness program, as well as accessories like weights, portable home bars, mats and more. The website also features classes that can be watched and followed along with online for a $35.00 monthly subscription fee.

Lastly, the studios are clean, well-equipped, enjoyable and easy to work out in.

The Bad

  • Expensive
  • Large class sizes
  • Time consuming

The cost of attending Bar Method classes is pretty steep. New participants will pay more than $100.00 per month, while renewals can be upwards of $200.00 per month. If you're self-motivated, you may prefer to purchase or subscribe to the videos and follow the program at home.

If you do attend a Bar Method studio, the class sizes can be rather large, and with only one instructor, personalized teaching can be challenging. Sometimes, the instructor doesn't have the opportunity to visit each class member during the session to provide individual instruction.

The Bar Method recommends that you take class at least 3-5 times per week to see the best results. For many of us, work and family commitments make it difficult to keep pace with a 5-times-a-week fitness program - so consider whether you're willing to make the full time commitment to the Bar Method, or if you'll be content to attend 2 or 3 times per week and perhaps not see the same results that others in the class do.

The Bottom Line

The Bar Method is simply a well-conceived, well-run exercise plan. This is definitely not a flash-in-the-pan fad that will come and go. The Bar Method is based on a fitness system that has been refined over seven decades and has garnered renowned attention across the globe for its positive results both inside and outside the studio.

If you can front the heavy monthly bill, you're not likely to get a more all-purpose workout. You will work almost every muscle group in your body during each Bar Method session.

Definitely give the Bar Method a try, even if it is a departure from your regular routines.

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