Star Power

The Bar Method

Nov 1, 2006
Outside Magazine
The Bar Method

Curb your testosterone and dance!

Origin: German-born dance instructor Lotte Berk developed this workout—based on orthopedics, yoga, and modern dance—as a rehab-and-maintenance practice in the sixties. Her student Burr Leonard refined it and brought it to California in 2001.Who's Doing It: Kyra Sedgwick, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
The Workout: Full disclosure: Aside from lessons in pole dancing—another fad workout sweeping Southern California—this may be the least macho exercise of all time. But while men in these classes may stick out like Michael Moore at the Oscars, that's not necessarily bad. Says longtime participant and aspiring actress Sara Giller, "Chicks dig dudes who take the Bar Method." And those brave guys will get one of the hardest workouts on the planet. Practitioners of the Bar Method balance on their toes with one leg on a ballet bar, then grip the bar and lower into quad-rattling squats on tiptoe for long, agonizing sets. Weights are incorporated to tone the triceps, biceps, and delts but not to build bulk. Hamstrings and obliques are worked into the drill via a variety of seated and horizontal positions. It all adds up to what Joey Decker, manager and lead instructor of the Bar Method in West Hollywood, accurately describes as "one hour of hell."
They Say: You'll benefit from strengthened and elongated major muscle groups, increased fat burning, and improved posture.
I Say: My body quaked involuntarily more than once during the hourlong class. My wind was tested, and my hamstrings were stretched to the limit. Best part: The tiptoe squats seemed to stabilize my chronically weak ankles. Worst part: I didn't get a date with Sara Giller.
Where to Find It:; $20 per class

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