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Barre butt

I just finished a four week barre bootcamp at my gym. Three days a week, for the last four weeks, I hauled myself out of my nice warm bed with puppy and fiance asleep at 6:45 in the morning so I could be at the gym at 7:00.

For an hour, my instructor Cat would lead me and the other participant through three circuits of spin biking, TRX resistance work, and movements on the barre. The biking, of course, wasn't unfamiliar. The TRX is relatively familiar too. It's essentially a strap suspended from the ceiling, and we push and pull ourselves into various positions using our body weight as the resistance. The more of an angle that you position yourself, the harder it is to pull yourself up. And the key to TRX work is to always have your core engaged.

The barre was more or less unfamiliar, at first. I never took ballet when I was a child. I vaguely understood first and second position and plies. But that was pretty much it. Again, with barre work, having your core engaged at all times is key to success. And holy fuck are my abs used to being engaged. But really, it's my legs and ass that are objecting/thanking me for this bootcamp. Squats, lunges, and lifts, using the barre for balance and sometimes for leverage. Sometimes on our toes, sometimes on our feet. Sometimes facing the barre, sometimes perpendicular to it. Almost always with pulsing. Never putting whichever leg is being worked down for an entire sequence of up to six or seven minutes. Realizing that the standing leg is getting as much of a workout or more than the leg that's going out, then up, then sideways. Then the same sequence all over again but this time on our toes.

After awhile, I realized that some of the movements were a little familiar. That exercise where we have our both forearms on the barre and we lift our legs out and then doggie style? I totally did that same thing, but on my hands and knees in 1987 when I was taking aerobics classes at the Waist Basket. And that one where we're leaning on the barre with only one forearm and are lifting up and then out and then up and then back? Again, with the 80s. But I don't remember my butt hurting as much back then...

Today was our fourth class of the week. Our instructor had to miss last Friday (which was great for me since I was at the ranch that day), so we made it up yesterday. We'd done regular bootcamp classes for the first three classes of the week, and today was a pure barre class. I woke up already sore from the two classes the days before, but I knew that more exercise would help rather than hurt. I sweat as much, if not more, today than I had in any other class. And my heart rate got super high, even without doing 30 jumps on a spin bike. After a warm up to get our bare feet used to going up and down on our toes and a few lunges to get our butts and legs to remember that they'll be needed, we started with light weights and shoulder/arm exercises. The barre doesn't really work those muscle groups as much as the lower body, though you certainly need them for barre work. And she whipped us through, not letting us stop at all to give our muscles a break. When I took the four pound dumbbells, I thought "Hell, I've lost four pounds since I started this class. I'll not notice the extra weight at all." I noticed.

Then, to the barre. Side crunches. Kicks with lunges. Remembering to turn our feet in certain directions in order to make sure the inner thigh was severely punished. Pelvic thrusts. Hip thrusts. Squats. Oh my god there were squats. Squats with heels together. Squats with legs in a wider stance. Squats with an oblique crunch after every one. Lower and lower and one more inch lower. Eight more. And then eight more after that. And then pulse for three. And lets do these pulses eight times. And then eight more. And then hold it. Ok, and now lets try all of that on our toes. AAaaa!

In the bootcamp, we'd been operating with our shoes on, since it'd take too long to put them on and take them off between circuits. Being barefoot was very different. I could get higher on my toes. My calves seemed to work a lot more without the shoes on. And since we wear shoes so much, our foot muscles aren't used to being worked, so they ache a little too now. It was nice to do it the way that these things are generally taught. I felt a little more graceful, though I have never been one that was blessed with natural grace. In related news, I need a pedicure.

We were then hanging from the barre, in a weird contortion on the ground facing the mirror, both legs bent, one parallel to the bar, the other behind our hips, lifting and lowering our rear legs in ways we'd never really contemplated before. And then some ab work, lifting and lowering our legs while we hung from the bar the other direction and realizing that there are muscles there that NEVER get used.

I was never so happy to do the final stretches before. Leg in a strap, pulling it as close to me as possible. Sweat dripping from every pore. Wondering if sensation would ever return to my butt (jury's still out). Laying on the mat and switching feet so I could stretch out the other leg. And then rolling my spine and knowing that my body was really going to feel it the next day.

My instructor says that she'll probably do another bootcamp in January. I'm glad for that, because I'd really love to do more of these, and the class schedule currently doesn't meet mine. In the meantime, I'll run a bit, and maybe take the Saturday barre class in the weeks until the next boot camp.

And my butt? Graham reported earlier today that he has taken it upon himself to study me and my form very carefully as I put on and take off clothing. He says he takes every opportunity available to him to devote to this observation. He's dedicated years to particular academic inquiry, and he has particularly focused his attention to my butt. It is, he is shocked to report, improved in the last four weeks. Higher, rounder, perhaps a bit leaner. And my legs apparently are longer and sleeker. While diet and other exercise may account for this miraculous improvement, the barre class has been ruled a direct and proximate cause. Further classes may have to be sought to *gasp* perhaps improve it even more. Presumably, my butt will stop aching before then.

Comments

( 4 comments — Say something )
fallconsmate
Dec. 10th, 2011 12:39 am (UTC)
you gotta love a guy who is willing to thoroughly inspect a body part that you cant see that well, just to make sure things are ok. ;)
texaslawchick
Dec. 10th, 2011 04:02 am (UTC)
He is a major fan of my butt, and I adore him for this, because I rather like it, too. That it's improved is shocking, because he thought it was perfect before I embarked on this barre thing.
fallconsmate
Dec. 10th, 2011 07:04 pm (UTC)
i am like SERIOUSLY without ass. so yeah, if you got a great one, WOOHOO! :D

you're gonna be hotter than the hinges of hades once your wedding day gets here...and i'm already on the Powers That Be about the weather cooperating to make your day beautiful. seriously. i think you are good people, and you should have a gorgeous gorgeous wedding day to celebrate with the people you love. *hugs*
badrahessa
Dec. 12th, 2011 07:19 pm (UTC)
this class sounds astonishing!
( 4 comments — Say something )