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Fitness Roadtest: Xtend Barre Canberra

Amanda Whitley

Always dreamt of having a dancer’s body? Love the strength and core benefits of Pilates?

Then meet Xtend Barre. Set to dance beats, this vigorous and fun workout combines isometric exercises at the ballet barre with lengthening stretches. The end result? A long and lean physique with unwanted bulk, better posture, strength and flexibility.

But don’t worry if you don’t know a plié from a pirouette…the workout is a series of cardio exercises with traditional pilates principals combined with light weight training. The focus is on “shaping” muscles by first increasing muscle strength and then lengthening the muscles by stretching.

Last month, I attended the media launch of Xtend Barre Canberra and within five minutes I realised why ballet dancers have such finely honed bodies. This is a tough workout which works pretty much every muscle in your body (and I think they were all screaming at me the next day),but it was fantastic, and I can’t wait til the doors of our local studio open next month. Xtend Barre is being brought to Canberra by Natasha Harrington, herself an ex-dancer. I caught up with her to find out more.

Why did you want to bring Xtend Barre to Canberra?

I first came to hear about Xtend Barre via a Facebook post in April last year – a good ex-dancing friend of mine had written about attending Xtend Barre classes in Melbourne.  I enquired about it further and sadly replied that I’d have to miss out as there were no current locations in Canberra.  She replied I should learn to teach it – I’d be great at it!  Well that got the cogs turning…

With a background in dance, restaurant management and fitness, I had been looking for an opportunity to start my own business for some time, as I had been a stay-at-home mum since my daughter Olivia had been born and she had just started preschool.  I  then contacted Rockell Williamson-Rudder (International Director for Xtend Barre) and as it turned out we both knew some of the same ballet examiners as I had studied at the Queensland Dance School of Excellence (QDSE).  This was all back in mid April last year and Rockell convinced me to attend the next five day training course in Sydney in May.  So I made the arrangements to leave my then four year old daughter in her father’s care (the longest I had been away from her since birth) and took off for Sydney.

Aside from viewing short YouTube videos online, I had never actually attended an Xtend Barre class and here I was attending the instructor training – I must have been slightly out of my mind!  The next few days were both physically and mentally challenging and despite feeling completely wrecked at the end of the course, I knew I had found my calling – I just had to bring this amazing workout back to Canberra if I ever wanted to have access to classes on a regular basis!  Over the next few months I began to take fortnightly trips to Sydney to attend as many classes as I could, taken by as many different instructors as I could fit into my schedule.

The results were evident very quickly, I Iost eight kilos of weight I had gained post pregnancy and child birth and I felt fitter and stronger than I had in my full-time dancing days.

What does a typical workout entail?  What results can people expect?  Is it for anyone – age, fitness level, etc?

The Xtend Barre Workout is the premier ballet barre workout…Dance and Pilates Amplified.  The Xtend Barre philosophy is simple – we teach a multi-level class geared to challenge bodies of any age, gender, or fitness background.  We offer exercises that can be modified for beginners, prenatal clients or clients with injuries, but that can also be amplified for advanced clients that are looking for an extreme challenge.

Is every session different?

Each workout session will vary depending on the instructor.  At the initial training, all instructors learn three years worth of syllabus and are then are given the freedom to choreograph their own classes within a set class framework, to their own individually chosen music soundtracks.  Typically Xtend Barre is performed to tracks of between 128-136 bpm, so it’s fast paced!  What you end up with, is each instructor’s class taking on its own personality, although there is definitely a common thread running throughout each class.

What do you love about it?

I love that the Xtend Barre Workout takes me back to my dance roots – although anyone can attend the classes, you needn’t have had any dance training.  I always feel totally worked out when I finish an Xtend class, leaving the studio feeling invigorated and refreshed, and I’m definitely walking taller with a much better focus on my posture.  At 5 foot 1 I need all the height I can get!

the essentials

What: Xtend Barre Canberra
When: Timetable on website.
Where: 1st floor, 35-37 London Circuit, Canberra
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.xtendbarrecanberra.com.au

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Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author

  • Natasha

    Awesome story! I will be trying this class for sure, ive heard about it being in other places for ages. So glad it’s coming to Canberra!

  • Rachel Evagelou

    Ohhh how exciting ! maybe see you there ?

  • Lauren

    Thank goodness!! I have been desperately wanting to try a barre fitness class and have been hoping someone would open one in Canberra.
    I’ll be away in Europe for all May and June but I am definitely going to be trying it when I get home!!

  • Yay! I have so been wanting to give this a go. I can’t wait for them to open.