When I signed on to try a new workout called Xtend Barre that combines Pilates and ballet, I wondered if I was going a bit far writes Erica Baigrie

Past experiences of workout classes have pushed my body so far I have literally felt ill for the next day or so, usually because the focus is on giving your body the ‘ultimate workout’ which can be unrealistic for the beginner. However, a workout that combines Pilates and ballet got my attention. While Xtend Barre was miles out of my comfort zone, it was actually an enjoyable experience for both my mind and body.

After a warm-up, each muscle group starting with the arms was worked on with a combination of Pilates and dance moves, but what I found refreshing was that after working each muscle group, there was time to stretch and have a breather before starting on the next group.

Fellow exercise classmate, Liz Daly from Toowong, says the fact her body could be challenged without feeling strained afterwards was a draw card for her.

“I had read a few things about Xtend Barre in a health magazine and I wanted something that was not going to be a full-on gym workout,” Daly said.

“The way the class is structured, you do a warm up, you work on your arms, then you start working on your legs, and then you finish with your abs but it’s in a very manageable way so you don’t feel taxed through it,” she said.

The fact that this kind of workout obviously lends itself to dancers had me worried that I might literally be the elephant in the room, particularly when we got into the ballet moves. But the emphasis was on doing the exercises right, not necessarily looking the part.

Owner and class instructor of Fine Lines Pilates and Movement, Sophie Northam says new clients are usually most worried about the dance side of the workout.

“Whenever anyone asks me about it, they ask if they need dance experience for it,” she says. “But the addition of dance doesn’t necessarily mean dance experience is needed; it just means a cardio workout can come into play during an otherwise straight Pilates class.”

Northam found Xtend Barre just at the right time to incorporate it into her studio.

“I was in the process of starting my Pilates studio when I found it and I really liked the different approach,” she says.

International director of Xtend Barre, Rockell Williamson-Rudder says she feels the success of the workout is because it doesn’t allow a woman’s body to plateau rather, it continually challenges and stretches the muscles.

“I think ultimately the reason this is so successful is because it’s fun but it is also very effective for women’s bodies, it is streamlining and toning at the same time,” Willliamson-Rudder says.

Want to try some other types of exercise classes? There’s a special Pilates workout for mums with babies or you could bounce your way to good health! What’s your favourite workout?