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Exercise All Mixed Up: Two – or More – for the Price of One

Exercise All Mixed Up: Two – or More – for the Price of One
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BY MARY JANE HORTON

First there was yoga, Pilates, ballet. Now there is Yogalates, Pilates Plus, the Bar Method, Core Fusion, Booty Barre and more. It seems like there is a new blended exercise program popping up on the scene every day.  Purists, of course, say that these blends take away from the classic teaching of each exercise method, proponents say that they give you the “best of both worlds.” I have been doing yoga and Pilates for years, so for me these classes have spiced up my workouts.  You know your body, so try some of these fun new classes, and you decide.

Pilate Plus

Pilates Plus is a great workout no matter what shape you are in. Think leg toning lunges and squats, lots of weight resistance, balance and concentration mixed with some basic Pilates. The instructors are skilled at helping beginners work at their own level and more advanced students get a heavier-duty workout. While some of us Pilates purists may balk at the name of this workout, it isn’t really Pilates, the classes are strenuous, and in just 40 minutes, I feel that I get as good a workout as I do in longer Pilates classes. The Proformer is the piece of equipment used (based on the Pilates Reformer) – and it has lots of extras that a Pilates Reformer doesn’t have – bungee cords, leg weights and extra resistance straps.  The classes, which go very fast because of the high energy and loud music (sometimes a little too loud), offer a fusion of cardio and strength training moves that really get to the core muscles as well as the legs and arms. Phillip Lagree, who developed Pilates Plus, licenses this and other workout – some with an even newer piece of equipment called the Megaformer. To find studios in your area, go to www.lagreefitness.com.

The Bar Method

The Bar Method, www.thebarmethod.com, has a definite ballet feel to it – using the ballet barre for much of the class.  There are many ballet barre oriented classes that have popped up throughout the country, but this one is one of the largest and most consistent – it is in 18 states, some with many locations, and Canada as well. An outgrowth of the Lotte Berk Method – which has been around since 1959 starting in New York and spreading worldwide – The Bar Method uses muscle-shaping principles of isometrics, the body-elongating practice of dance conditioning, the science of physical therapy and the intense pace of interval training in a powerful exercise program. It is intense, in a different way than many exercise classes because, of the intense isometric holds. But it moves quickly, so just when you think you can’t hold a position for another second, you are – blessedly – on to the next position.  It doesn’t seem particularly aerobic because you don’t usually huff and puff, but it is – because it challenges the body’s endurance. For people familiar with exercise classes, many of the stretches, squats, and other moves will be familiar, but there are also lots of surprises.

The Booty Barre

This class, which is 55 minutes long, was developed, and licensed throughout the world, by international fitness celebrity Tracey Mallet. It is high energy and fun and fast. Also dance inspired, the Booty Barre combines exercise techniques from Pilates, dance, cardio-sculpting moves, balance, and yoga. The most aerobic in this selection of workouts – with about a half of the class devoted to cardio – it is probably also the most intense. Isometric moves are combined with the fluidity of dance moves, using the barre, weights, mats, and resistance bands. Stretching at the end caps off the workout on a Zen note. Mallet likes to “change it up” a great deal, so, whether she or another instructor is teaching the class, it is always slightly different. For locations, go to http://thebootybarre.com.

Core Fusion Barre
This is the signature class at Exhale Mind Body Spas, www.exhalespa.com, which has locations in Atlanta, Atlantic City, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Stamford, Connecticut, and Turks and Caicos. Many instructors with years of collective teaching experience got together to develop this challenging barre-based workout, which combines core work with Pilates, yoga, ballet and dance principles to stretch, tone, and lengthen muscles. Classes are taught at one of three levels: Core Fusion Barre is open level, along with Core Fusion Barre Basic and Core Fusion Barre Advanced. All provide a challenging workout, with the open and advanced classes building upon the fundamentals learned in the basic class. New guests are encouraged to start with basic classes, but open level is also fine for first time guests.

Yogilates

Yogilates, www.yogilates.com, is a class that fuses yoga and Pilates, rolled into a workout that stretches and strengthens your muscles. Yogilates was created in 1997 in the United States by certified Pilates instructor and personal trainer Jonathan Urla, who was inspired to blend his training from Pilates with his practice of hatha yoga after taking a yoga class right after a Pilates session. (There is also a program – Eaglets – developed around the same time in the UK.) Urla found his practice got much easier and he felt better aligned and able to accomplish the poses with more effectiveness because his spine was already warmed up properly and he was connected to his center from the Pilates workout. He saw a need for more effective core strengthening in the discipline of yoga and believed that the Pilates method offered a refined technique that could be integrated into the practice of yoga for this reason.  He integrated the two, and classes are offered throughout the county at Yogilates studios as well as lots of health clubs and other fitness studios.—≥

 

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