Standing at the bar has taken on a whole new meaning for many who are enthusiastically embracing The Bar Method!
This special workout program is now available in Princeton, with a studio located at 29 Emmons Drive. A franchise owned by Amy Clark and Jenn Tigue, it offers an unusual approach to fitness.
It is based on the technique developed by former dancer Lotte Berk, who after injuring her back, decided to combine her ballet bar routines with her rehabilitation therapy. She opened a studio in London, and helped sculpt the bodies of her students.
The Bar Method is an evolved version of the Lotte Berk Method, which had been brought to the United States, and was founded by Burr Leonard. Her flagship studio opened in San Francisco in 2001, and since then, more than 25 Bar Method studios have opened in California, New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Washington, and New Jersey.
“We started out as clients,” explains Amy Clark. “We had both been going to other gyms, but this was so different.”
“It really changed our lives,” adds Jenn Tigue. “We feel better, look better, and we have made so many new friends. We are passionate about this. There are so many health benefits.”
It did indeed change their lives in many ways, and specifically as they changed careers, when they opened The Bar Method Studio. Ms. Clark, a dietician, and Ms. Tigue, a registered nurse, did not hesitate when they had the opportunity to open the franchise.
What sets The Bar Method apart from so many other fitness centers is its emphasis on creating a lean, firm, sculpted body. As the owners explain, “It combines the muscle-shaping principles of isometrics, the body-elongating practice of dance conditioning, the science of physical therapy, and the intense pace of interval training into a powerful exercise format that quickly and safely reshapes and elongates muscles.
“Its non-impact one-hour workout targets all major muscle groups, and improves posture,” they continue. “The result is a recognizable ‘Bar Method Body’, featuring sculpted arms, flat abs, a lifted seat, and elongated thighs. And we emphasize core strength, which is so important for good health, for posture, and for the back.
“One of the biggest differences in The Bar Method and other fitness centers is that ours was developed with the help of doctors and physical therapists, and our instructors go through six months training, and all are certified.”
Classes are always under the guidance of one of the owners or an instructor, and are divided into three segments: a 15-minute warm-up with free weight exercises and push-ups; then intense leg and seat work at the bar for a half-hour; followed by abdominal work at the bar and on mats for the final minutes.
“All the exercises are doable for most levels, and we give people a lot of personal attention,” explains Ms. Tigue. “Also, all the exercises can be modified for clients with specific conditions, such as arthritis, injuries, etc.”
The classes emphasize safety, she adds, and in particular, joint safety. Exercises are low-impact, and the studio floor is carpeted to lessen joint impact.
The Bar Method classes alternate between exercises that demand intense bursts of energy and deep stretches, This format produces both high-caloric burn and firmer muscle mass, explains The Bar Method literature. Every exercise includes active stretching and strengthening, followed by additional strengthening to elongate the muscles just worked.
“Most clients who do The Bar Method regularly become slimmer and lighter,” notes Ms. Clark.
Participating in classes three to five times a week will produce the best results, and many students do this. But just getting a start will point a beginner in the right direction.
“We are very encouraged. We have many regular clients, and it is very inspiring to see how enthusiastic people are,” reports Ms. Tigue. “They are coming in at 5:30 in the morning! That makes me look forward to coming in at 5:30 too for their class. It is so satisfying.”
The Bar Method studio is spacious, spotlessly clean, and attractive. Two workout rooms (one large and one smaller) feature a horizontal bar around the room and mirrors. Mirrors are important so that people can see their form as they perform the exercises. Correct form is very important for the safety and success of the exercises.
In addition, a locker room with showers and inviting waiting area are available.
Bar Method participants are men and women, ranging in age from teens to those in their eighties, note Ms. Clark and Ms. Tigue. Class sizes vary anywhere from two to 25, with eight different classes throughout the day.
A number of different payment packages are available. A single class is $25, which is deducted if the client signs up for more. Savings are offered for packages, and a new client special includes 30 days at $175 for as many classes as the client wishes.
“We are so pleased to be doing this. We love the method, and we love to teach,” point out the owners. “People come to tone their body and are so pleased when they see results and realize they are doing something good for themselves. They look better and feel better. Many say that The Bar Method has really changed their lives.”
Of course, for best results, note Ms. Clark and Ms. Tigue, this should be part of an over-all life-style, with good nutrition and other healthy exercise.
“We have a very friendly and positive atmosphere here, with so many regular clients. Now we look forward to expanding our clientele, including more people from Princeton, and bringing The Bar Method concept to even more participants. And this is a great location, with lots of convenient parking.”
Hours are Monday through Saturday from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. (609) 356-0244. Website: www.princeton.barmethod.com.