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Inviting details at 234 Clarendon Street—staff that greets you by name, a pristinely clean locker room, cute chrome key bracelets—are a lovely precursor to a workout that has pulled fitness buffs nationwide off the elliptical and onto the ballet barre. The California-headquartered Bar Method is the original barre-style workout, grounded in the experiences of a professional ballerina and her physical trainer. Local co-owners McKenzie Howarth and Sarah Kuzniar were compelled to open a studio here in Boston after years of committing to the contagiously popular regimen. Now in their second year of business, the duo is juggling its Back Bay space with a second home in Hingham. Before you fear the thought of tutus and pointe shoes note that this is by no means a ballet interpretation of your Zumba class.
The well-lit Bar Method Boston studio
Isometric movements (read: small, controlled, and using your own weight) rule the full-body routine here. Each class follows the same order of upper body, lower body, and then abs, but with different exercises every visit set to the rhythm of energetic music. Safety is first and foremost, evidenced in the extensive and rigorous training required to teach. The staff is expertly equipped to modify exercises for those with injuries, and given the program's low impact nature, it is ideal for recovering athletes.
Head into the studio before the end of February for your first class and receive six unlimited weeks for the introductory price of four, $125. McKenzie reports that the 6am, 7am, 5:30pm, and weekend classes are first to fill, so reserve a spot in advance. You don't need an entire Danskin wardrobe for the Bar Method—leggings and a tank will do the trick (but don't forget socks). Just remember, when those thighs are shaking and on fire, there is a soothing stretch (and dancer's bod) on the other end of it.
· The Bar Method Boston [Official Site]