Since opening its doors early last year Flywheel Sports quickly established itself as a mecca for hard-core spin enthusiasts. When I heard that Flywheel was debuting its barre class, appropriately named FlyBarre, I was highly intrigued. I am a confessed barre class junkie and utilize any opportunity I can to take one. Variations of the Lotte Berk Method, these classes differ from other conventional forms of exercise in the emphasis they place on holding your core, the controlled, repetitive, isometric movements and the fact that you are using your own body weight for resistance.
Earlier this week I called the studio to see if they had any availability in their evening classes and found myself speaking directly with Kate Bohner, the creator of the class. She inquired if it was my first class and enthusiastically welcomed me to the 530pm class she was teaching that evening. So off I went to the Flywheel studio at the Flatiron location. FlyBarre classes are currently only offered at the Flatiron location.
The FlyBarre studio is in the back of the location, past the spin studio, the shelves lined with free bottles of water, and the digitized lockers. Upon entering the mirror-lined studio, 16 settings are in place, each with a mat, a blue ball, and a resistance band hanging off the attached ballet barre. Kate came up to each student, introduced herself and asked each student their name. She then asked everyone to get a set of light weights, recommending 2 or 3 lbs. I followed her instructions and then took my place on a mat.
The class started with a typical warm up after which, I kid you not, the 55 minutes of class time whizzed by in an intense frenzy of activity. Right after the warm up we held a few plank poses and performed push-ups and then dove head-first into the first (and hardest) of the three abdominal series. In this series the abdominal work was done lying on our backs with our feet raised up to the bar. I have done a similar exercise in the advanced Physique 57 class and while it is not my favorite, if done correctly can give great results. The "dynamic arm series" was next where we stood back up, grabbed our hand weights and did a choreographed sequence of punching and jabbing arm movements. After this were three sets of back-to-back thigh sections. This was one of the most challenging part as thighs are the hardest part of a barre class and to do three sets without stopping requires some stamina! A long well-deserved stretch came next at which point I collapsed into a small heap onto the barre. It was pointless in getting too comfortable as Kate then proceeded onto the next section: gluteal work. Three more abdominal series followed, the first in a "curl" position using the resistance band stretched behind us, targeting the upper abdominals; the second, lying down with our feet on the mirrored wall while doing crunches and reaching from side to side, targeting the obliques, and the third performed with our legs stretched out, raising and lowering them many many times, targetting the lower abdominals. As you can see, no area was left un-worked! One final stretch and the class was over. Phew! Definitely an intensive workout. I spoke with Kate after class and she spoke about her athletic background (she was a former co-captain of the women's Lacrosse team at the University of Pennsylvania) and her "barre" and yoga training and how this class is designed to be a "barre class for athletes."
1. The class: Fast-paced, fun, and also highly challenging. You are getting your money's worth!
2. The teacher: Kate is an enthusiastic and energetic instructor and her passion for the class she has created shines through.
3. The space: Nice, clean facility. Not too crowded as only 16 people can take class at one time.
1. The class: I am a creature of habit and I had a hard time following the choreography in the 'dynamic arm series,' having never done it before. I am sure I will be more proficient in it the next time around. Having said that I did feel sore in my arms the next day so we must have been doing something right.
2. The teacher: The fast-paced nature of the class made it hard for Kate to check and correct our forms as she also had to demonstrate the exercise. Perhaps future classes can have two instructors, one to demonstrate the exercise and the other to check on the forms to make sure the exercise is being properly performed.
I loved this class. I left feeling invigorated and on an endorphin-high, The next day I felt very sore! I will definitely be back and hopefully will be more coordinated next time around. FlyBarre is definitely a serious contender in the ever-burgeoning NYC barre scene so do check it out. Classes are $30 and are lower if you purchase a package.