Well & Good – Class Action: BeyondBarre


Lots of the top barre studios around the country have been trying to kick up the cardio in their classes lately. But BeyondBarre’s method comes with heart-rate boosting built in, courtesy of an oft-ignored fitness prop: the glideboard.

The method is based 50 miles northwest of New York City in Warwick, New York, where founder Colleen Ketchum owned a small Pilates studio and decided to craft her own approach to barre influenced by her Pilates background (“I didn’t like the super-tucked position in most barre classes.”) and a family full of hockey players (enter, the glideboard).

Instead of setting up franchised studios, Ketchum licenses the method, and there are now classes in about a dozen cities across the country, including Austin and Philadelphia.

Classes start with a cardio-heavy warm-up featuring high knees and butt kicks and then move into an arm sequences with light weights. Then, you head to the glideboard, where you slide back and forth in intervals, sometimes going as fast as you can a la speed skating, sometimes lunging or squatting, inner thighs and glutes burning. On the floor, you’ll get into plank position with your feet on the slippery board and do pikes and mountain climbers with your toes sliding, heart pounding. Then, to the barre.

“Once you’re done with the board, your muscles are so heated up, they really accept those small muscle activations when you step up to the barre,” Ketchum explains. Barre work, like plies, releves, leg lifts, and lots of pulsing, feels familiar. Class ends with a quick mat ab sequence involving moves like crunches and scissor kicks.

In the end, I was much sweatier than after most barre workouts, because of the increased cardio (plus balance, stability, and agility) from the glideboard, sliding around also added a dynamic element of fun I could get used to. —Lisa Elaine Held

Who’s it for: Barre lovers who want more cardio or sweat, skating pros

Various locations, prices vary, www.beyondbarre.com