fitness

A Victoria's Secret trainer shares the only exercise accessory you need and it's just $10.

It’s was 6:50am on a wet and rainy Thursday morning when I found myself walking into Sydney’s Dymocks Building about to attempt my first Xtend Barre class.

The full-body regime incorporates elements of pilates and dance into a strength-based, fast but gruelling workout that targets the abs, arms, thighs, and calves. 55 minutes later, the session left me feeling sore in an ‘accomplished’ kind of way. And it’s all down to Andrea Rogers, the US-based founder of Xtend Barre.

Her energy was palpable and infectious as she pliéd and tendu-ed her jet-lagged body with more enthusiasm than I could personally manage after two coffees. The dancer-turned-fitness-entrepreneur counts Victoria’s Secrets Angel, Martha Hunt, as one of her celebrity clients, but says the workouts she does with the 29-year-old model and her Xtend Barre devotees is exactly the same.

“The models and the celebrities that you work with are all human beings and have the same goal as you would with every client,” she tells Mamamia.

“They want to focus on endurance, cardio, flexibility, strength training or they want to focus on sculpting or chiselling specific portions of their body. We all have those same goals, so I don’t do anything different that I wouldn’t do in my classes.”

Clearly, her classes are popular because they work, as evidenced by her 70-plus global franchise, with 22 of those boutiques located in Australia alone.

Andrea says her classes are suitable for people of all fitness levels, from the chronically inflexible to the pilates and yoga expert.

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“You’ll get better,” she says assuredly.

Although a lot of the actions you see in a barre class look suspiciously simple, any cynicism is very quickly dispelled.

“If I’m doing proper form and technique, it is so damn hard. I will stop, I will put down my hand weights and take a break,” she says.

“This class is hard and that’s why it works.”

For example one of the most basic barre steps – the plié tendu – also happens to be one of Andrea’s favourite and most effective moves.

“The plie tendu is when you bend your knees [with your toes pointed outwards] and push your leg to the side. It’s one of my favourite exercises because it literally targets the entire lower body – your glutes, thighs and inner thighs specifically and it also focuses on the foundation which is your feet,” she says, stressing the importance of the mind-body connection she tries to focus on during a barre class.

“We focus on cuing the feet, working towards [cementing all] 10 toes, [and standing] through the inside and outside of your feet. There’s that connection behind ‘the why’ of the movement so it’s not just mindless repetition,” she clarifies.

Ex-Bachelor Sam Wood shares his office-approved exercise tips. Post continues after. 

Video by MMC

However, when the mum-of-two can’t make it to ‘the barre,’ she relies on the humble, cheap-as-chips resistance, or stretch, band which she takes with her everywhere.

Side note: You can pick up your very own band from Kmart ($8), Big W ($10) or Rebel Sport ($13.99).

“It’s in my backpack right now. I can do everything with that band,” she says.

“I can do leg workouts, I can do thigh work, I can do upper body work, I can do core work. It’s magic.”

Sharing her 15-20 minute workout, Andrea says she can target her upper body, legs and abs with the single piece of equipment.

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“I just get to the point where I’ve pushed myself to where I’m shaking and quivering a bit and then move on to the next exercise,” she explains.

Looking for fitness inspo? Andrea has clips of her mini resistance band workouts on her Instagram here, here and here.

 

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XTEND Resistance Band Series: Part 2 ???? I do not own the rights to this music it’s for educational purposes only.

A post shared by Andrea Rogers (@andreaxtendbarre) on

“I start with an upper body sequence, so I’ll put it on my wrist and do some resistance exercises. Then I’ll put it around my biceps and do more resistance exercises.

“I then go behind the back for a triceps series and I’ll put the band around my thighs and plié with the band around my legs.

“Finally I go onto the floor to do some seat work and finish with abs.”

Ultimately, Andrea says the aim of her workouts, whether they’re done at home or in the studio, is to create a greater sense of awareness in her clients, the effects of which she hopes will last long after class.

“It’s all about that mind-body connection,” she says.

“Think of the phrase ‘proud chest’ – open through the collarbone, relax the shoulders, lengthen through the spine and you’ll automatically feel your abs working and your seat lift a little. And if you make that conscious effort throughout the day, it all adds up.”

Have you tried a barre class before? Or do you want to? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.

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