The Method

Bar Method Glossary A-Z: All the Lingo You Need To Know

L-Shape? Pretzel? Leg lifts? Learning all the lingo at The Bar Method can be a bit intimidating. Sometimes it might feel like your instructor is speaking a foreign language when they say things like “you have the option to take the L-shape.” Fear not, here is a list of important keywords you might hear in your next Bar Method class:

Adjustments: One of the many things that sets The Bar Method apart is that instructors give both verbal and hands-on adjustments. These adjustments are meant to keep you safe and in your best form.

Back Dancing: Back Dancing is the last push of class before the final stretch. Not only does it sculpt your glutes and hamstrings one last time in class, but it also stretches out your hip flexors after curl.

Curl: Even though many Bar Method moves work your abdominals, curl is the chance to really get your core muscles fired up. Different curl positions impact some ab muscles more than others, but all moves in curl will strengthen all four abdominal muscles.

Final Stretch: Every Bar Method class ends with a final stretch, often times using a strap for assistance. The final stretch helps to increase your range of motion and flexibility.

Flat-Back: Flat-back is all about bringing your heart rate up and recruiting your T.A. muscles, the transversus abdominus. The TA is the deepest abdominal muscle which can be tricky to activate. Luckily the TA is connected to the diaphragm and is activated through breathing. During flat-back really try to focus on your breathing to get those deep muscles to fire up! 

Grip Your Glutes: At the Bar Method there is a subtle but important difference between when your instructor says grip your glutes versus tuck. Gripping your glutes is a smaller action and just means turning on the corners of your seat as a way to engage your core and protect your back during exercises such as shoulder walks and bicep curls. When you hear the phrase “Grip your glutes” think less about curling your tailbone underneath you and more about squeezing the corners of your seat together. 

Grippy Socks: At The Bar Method our studio rooms are carpeted which means students are required to wear socks. Grippy socks are not a requirement and you can wear any pair of socks but the extra stickiness will help keep you from slipping around.

Hands-On Adjustments: Whether it’s your first class or 500th, expect to receive hands-on adjustments from your instructor.

Heel Lifts: Heel lifts not only help you warm-up your feet in preparation for thigh work but they also strengthen your knees while toning your calves, hamstring and seat.

L-Shape: During Round-Back you’ll be given the opportunity to take the L-Shape option for an added challenge if your extended leg is vertical. This means hovering your bottom leg off the floor in line with your hip. 

Leg Lifts: All Bar Method classes begin with leg lifts to raise your heart rate and prepare your body for the upcoming movements. Even if you arrive to class late, you are still required to do leg lifts before joining the class.

Modifications: Bar Method loves modifications! If you are recovering from an injury or have any other concerns let your instructor know before class and they’ll be able to offer you modifications throughout class.

Pretzel: Your instructor is not suggesting it’s snack time when they say it’s pretzel day! Pretzel is a Bar Method seat exercise targeting the side of your seat as well as your obliques and upper back. 

Risers: The square riser mats can be super helpful during various exercises. If you are petite they can give you the perfect boost during an exercise like standing seat. During round-back and flat-back riser mats can help alleviate hip discomfort and also give you a little extra height. Riser mats are also super helpful during curl, depending on the natural curve of your back. While all bodies are a little bit different and people will use riser mats for different exercises, don’t be surprised if your Bar Method brings a riser mat over to you during class at some point!

Round-back: Think of round-back as a sneaky bonus round of thigh-work. The exercise works both your legs and core muscles at the mid-way point in class.

Seat: We do a ton of seatwork at the Bar Method, but you might be wondering what exactly does it mean to target your seat? Most seat exercises at the Bar Method work your hamstring, that long muscle down the back of your upper leg, as well as some portion of your glutes. 

Seatwork: Seatwork can sometimes feel like the most challenging part of class as it can get really intense really fast. During the seatwork portion of class you’ll typically do 1 or 2 exercises targeting your glutes.

Stall Bar: All Bar Method studios are equipped with stall bars, those ladder-like contraptions you see in the studio room. Depending on your body, certain exercises might actually be better for you at the stall bar. For example, if you have tight hamstrings and struggle to straighten your legs during the stretch at the bar, heading to the stall can make a huge difference in making the stretch more comfortable and a better fit for your body. 

Strap: There are a few different points in class where you might see straps used. Straps can be helpful during exercises such as round-back to help you further lengthen your legs, depending on your hamstring flexibility. You might see a variation of fold-over using the straps which adds an extra stability challenge for your core. Some students prefer flat-back with straps looped around the bar, depending on their positioning under the bar. Most classes end with a final stretch using the straps as a tool to stretch out the muscles you just worked during class. 

Stretch at the Bar: Before heading into thigh work you’ll do a long stretch series, stretch at the bar. This is to help strengthen the muscles being stretched while also increasing flexibility throughout your body. 

Stretches: Besides the final stretch at the end of class there are a few points in class where you’ll do stretches. The placement of these stretches throughout class is to increase flexibility and also release muscles that you just worked.

Thigh Work: As the name suggests, thigh work is all about working your thighs! Different exercises will target different parts of your quads. Typically thigh work consists of three different exercises. 

Tuck: The Bar Method tuck, unlike other barre techniques, keeps your spine in neutral to protect from the tug of weight or resistance during certain exercises. Everyone’s tuck will look slightly different, but the idea is to have your spine straight but not tilted under.

Verbal Adjustments: Don’t be surprised when you hear your instructor call your name during class. A super unique thing about Bar Method classes is that instructors use names and give verbal adjustments. At first it might feel a bit weird hearing your name called during class, but don’t worry — both newbies and veterans receive lots of verbal adjustments.


Kayla kleinman- the bar method

About the Author

Kayla Kleinman is a blogger, yoga & Bar Method instructor in New York City. Head to her blog or Instagram page for daily motivation & inside look at the life of a full time fitness instructor.

About The Author Marta Johnson