What the Tuck?

On the front lines of communication when it comes to feedback and questions from students across the country, Bar Method studio owners really know their stuff. We recently caught up with Jessica Bowman, Owner of Bar Method Solana Beach, about a blog post she recently published for her client community that talks specifically about the infamous “tuck” you experience in a Bar Method class.

As Jessica shares in her post on her blog Barre Boss, “People who ‘do barre’ typically know that all barre classes are not created equally and understand the subtle (but important) differences between the various programs. However, even if you’ve been taking The Bar Method or another barre fitness program for several months or years, you may still be confused about some of the terms instructors use to help you achieve proper form.” She went on to guess (and we bet she’s right!) that at some point during your Bar Method journey, you’ve probably stopped to ask yourself, “what the tuck?”

What the tuck?

Jessica went on to perfectly explain, “The Bar Method tuck is really just a stance that maintains spine neutrality during weight-work and muscle isolations. In this stance, students recruit their bodies’ three core muscle groups, those in their upper backs (shoulder stabilizers), their torsos (abs), and under their spines (glutes). The ‘Bar Method tuck’ thereby keeps these stabilizer muscles working to protect students’ spines and also to enhance the effectiveness of the exercise at hand.”

As Jessica notes, a good example of this is in the warm-up weight work. Instructors will tell you to “drop your tailbone, draw your abs in and grip your glutes” to achieve stability in your back to perform the targeted weight work (bent-elbow lifts, biceps curls, lat pulls) properly.

The term “tuck” takes on a different meaning when it’s used in choreography (i.e. in thigh or seat work when you’re told to “tuck for the last 20”). In this context, the instruction means to grip your glutes repeatedly to the specified tempo in order to isolate and contract the glutes against stability coming from the front of the body. In this example, your glutes are the muscle group being targeted and worked as opposed to providing stability like they are in the previous example.

What the tuck?

In both cases, she states, “you can potentially over-tuck resulting in overstretched hip flexors, poor upper back posture and lower back strain. To prevent this, use the mirrors in the studio to check your low back alignment and be mindful of whether or not you are simply engaging your glutes or tucking your tailbone under you in a way that creates unnecessary resistance in your glutes. Oftentimes very flexible students won’t realize they are over tucking which is why it becomes very important to workout under the guidance of highly trained instructors.”

From her experience as a studio owner, Jessica wisely notes that an outsider comparing a Bar Method workout with another barre class might not see that the students in both classes are using entirely different muscles. She says, “This skill is called ‘differentiation,’ or the power to use one muscle without unconsciously engaging another. Bar Method teachers are highly trained to help their students learn this important kinetic ability.” As Bar Method Founder Burr Leonard explained, Bar Method is not “all about the tuck” but rather “all about the technique”.

Have questions about your tuck or specific positions in class? Drop a note in the comments!

Featured Playlist: September

As you’ve probably experienced, good songs and strong beats can play a big part as to how motivated and energetic you feel when you take a Bar Method class. It’s not just your imagination — science has shown the powerful effect that music can have on people. Knowing this, we carefully create each class playlist to take you from warmup to ab work and all the way through final stretch.

This month, take the feel good vibes with you anywhere while playing our featured September playlist. Bar Method Music Editor Ayden Graham says, “This is a ‘best-of The Bar Method’ picks mix made to pump you up for aerobic cross-training, give you a moment to catch your breath, then dive into some deep core work and a final cool down. Just like any Bar Method class, you’re sure to feel satisfied at the end of this musical journey.”

Without further ado, here’s a mix of this month’s best music

1. Can’t Get Enough feat. Mariah McManus by BRKLYN, Mariah McManus
2. Goodness Gracious – The Chainsmokers Extension by Ellie Goulding
3. We All Fall Down (feat. Jamie Lidell) by A-Trak, Jamie Lidell
4. Don’t – Don Diablo Remix by Ed Sheeran
5. Dirty Work by Austin Mahone
6. Here for You by Kygo and Ella Henderson
7. In the Morning by ZHU
8. I Loved You (feat. Melissa Steel) – Extended Mix by Blonde, Melissa Steel
9. Summer Nights by Tiesto and John Legend
10. Call It What You Want – Planet of Sound Remix by Foster the People and Planet Of Sound
11. Fire by Hudson Thames
12. HandClap by Fitz and The Tantrums
13. Stevie Knows by Olly Murs
14. Summer Was A Day by Pete Yorn
15. Magnetised – Piano Tapes by Tom Odell
16. You Are So Beautiful by Bootstraps

Do you use Spotify? Save this month’s playlist to your favorites to stream it wherever you are.

New Studio Announcement: Darien, CT

After the recent Los Gatos and Campbell studio openings in California, we’re extra excited to announce a new Bar Method location on the East Coast, welcoming Lara Meehan and Anna Trepanier from the Darien, Connecticut studio to our growing family of studio owners! Read on to learn about what inspired Anna and Lara to make the leap as studio owners and what they’re looking forward to most as they grow their own Bar Method community.

The Bar Method, Darien, CT

Tell us a little bit about yourselves.

Anna says, “I grew up in southern California, but always felt like an east coast girl at heart. I moved across the country to attend NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts after high school and never looked back. I enjoyed a career as a film, TV, and commercial actress in NYC for 10 years before falling head over heels in love with The Bar Method. I now live in Stamford with my husband and our French bulldog, Superman.

Lara tells us, “I grew up in western Pennsylvania, then moved to New York in 2001 to begin my career in advertising. After about 6 years, I decided to switch gears, and go to nursing school, to pursue my passion for healthy living, and making an impact on people’s lives. I began my Bar Method teaching career the same week that I began my nursing career, and quickly found that working with Bar Method clients was as rewarding as working with patients (if not more). I’m so incredibly excited to work with Anna to create a Bar Method family in Darien.”

What should we know about your new Bar Method studio in Darien?

The Bar Method started right here, 15 years ago. Before opening the flagship Bar Method studio in San Francisco, Bar Method’s Founder, Burr Leonard, owned studios in Greenwich, New Canaan, Westport and Darien. We feel honored to be bringing The Bar Method back to the place where it began!

Even more, the Darien community has a passion for fitness and living well — a perfect fit for our new Bar Method family.

What were you doing before you opened a Bar Method studio?

Both Bar Method instructors before becoming studio owners, Anna notes, “I balanced teaching Bar Method classes with working as a film and TV actress in New York City.” Lara says, “I was teaching The Bar Method in the New York area, and working as an ICU nurse in the Burn Center at New York Presbyterian Hospital.”

Why did you open a Bar Method studio?

Looking back now, it feels like it was inevitable, but it took me a long time to convince myself to take this crazy journey of studio ownership,” Anna confesses. “The Bar Method changed my life from my very first class and it only felt like a natural progression to make a career out of it someday. I couldn’t be more passionate about sharing this transformative workout with everyone I meet. Now I get to make that my full time job!”

Lara shares Anna’s love of The Bar Method. “I love The Bar Method for so many reasons,” she tells us. “The incredible workout, the supportive community, and positive effect I’ve seen for five years in students of every fitness level and age group. I’m very excited to share our talent and passion with our community in Darien.”

The Bar Method, Darien, CT

Which Bar Method position is your favorite? Why?

“My favorite part of class is a long, luxurious final stretch,” Lara shares. “I love the opportunity to reconnect with my body, release any tension, and feel stronger and more flexible than when I walked into class. One of my favorite teachers, Sloan at The Bar Method Brooklyn, ended the stretch once by saying, ‘Be thankful for your strong body, and your strong will.’ I love that sentiment and think about it every time!”

Opting for seat work, Anna says, “My favorite exercise is turned out diagonal seat. I love it because it challenges me to stay 100% present for the entire exercise. I also love the fact that I’m constantly tweaking and improving my form in little ways.” She says that it’s the “perfect exercise for a perfectionist” and we couldn’t agree more.

We hope you’ll check out the Darien studio next time you are in Connecticut.  Welcome to the Bar Method family, Lara and Anna!