The Method

How The Bar Method Works With Physical Therapists

December 3, 2019

The Bar Method has always prided itself on being the most safe and effective barre workout on the market. This is thanks to a multitude of factors: 1) a brilliant and detail-oriented founder, Burr Leonard. 2) A meticulous and lengthy training program for instructors. 3) A long history of partnerships with physical therapists that started at The Bar Method’s conception.

As The Bar Method’s current physical therapy consultant, my role is to work with The Bar Method’s Learning and Development team and the Innovation team. My efforts are to ensure that new moves and new choreographic options offered in class are both safe and effective on the intended targeted area of the body. The physical therapy consultant also collaborates with studio owners to find solutions and modifications for students with injuries and/or pre-existing conditions, with the goal of having all students enjoy and benefit from all that The Bar Method has to offer.

How does the Bar Method innovate new moves?

Any Bar Method owner or instructor can submit ideas for new exercises. When a new move is submitted, it is reviewed to determine the safety and effectiveness of the move. Our team then discusses how these exercises will be performed by students in class.  We determine the appropriate choreography, tempos, max reps, set ups and modifications, and then the new move is ready to be tested in studio! A few of our studios act as “guinea pigs” and we test the new moves to see how students respond to the exercises. Throughout the testing process, new exercises are continually tweaked and adjusted based on feedback from instructors and clients. Not all exercise ideas make it through the rigorous process. The goal for all new moves released are to be safe, effective and doable for clients. So next time you see a new move released in class, you’ll know the thoughtful process that was behind making this move perfect for you!

What are the key things considered when approving a new move?

  1. What is the purpose of the new move? Is it to provide a new alternative for an existing exercise? Does it strengthen a muscle or muscle group that has not been effectively targeted? Is it a new way to boost the heart rate? By having clear objectives it helps to provide clear guidelines for effectively implementing new moves to all of the class formats. 
  2. Is the exercise safe and effective? Believe it or not, this can be a difficult balancing act. While the goal is to challenge students with new and exciting moves, it is imperative to ensure that exercises are safe on the muscles and muscle groups they are intended for. 
  3. Can the majority of our student population master the new move quickly and correctly? While the Bar Method is a technique that can take time to master, it is important that all students feel successful in class. Our original objectives of creating purposeful, safe, and effective moves will not  be met if it takes too much time to learn.

How can you as a student further benefit from the collaboration between Bar Method and Physical therapy?

Before taking class, communicate with your instructors any current or prior injuries you had.  Our instructors are highly trained and educated on modifications for certain conditions and injuries. In order to best assist you, it is important for  instructors to know specific limitations or restrictions you have. If you are recovering from an injury and want to resume Bar Method, it is imperative to get your doctor’s clearance before returning to class. If a situation arises where an instructor or owner may not know the best way to assist a client, they are able to contact me with any questions or concerns via email. Often times, we are able to determine appropriate solutions over email and if further discussion is needed, we are able to collaborate over the phone. Education and safety will continue to be a driving force as The Bar Method continues to evolve and grow. 

Experience the benefits of our safe & effective workouts today and book a class with us!

About the Author

Kerrisa Smith Manheimer has been a licensed physical therapist for almost 15 years, working in a variety of settings during her career, including orthopedics, outpatient neuro, acute rehab, skilled nursing, acute care and home health. Kerrisa has been a Bar Method student for over 8 years, and an instructor for over 6 years. She began her teaching career at The Bar Method’s flagship Marina studio in San Francisco, and recently relocated to the Boston area where she teaches at the Back Bay and Downtown studios in Boston. Kerrisa has been the Bar Method national physical therapy consultant for over 4 years, and finds great satisfaction working with The Bar Method HQ team, studio owners and clients. Kerrisa lives in Newburyport, MA with her husband Jeff, and their 18month old Bernese Mountain dog, Frankie.  In addition to taking Bar Method classes, Kerrisa loves to travel and explore new restaurants with her husband and friends in her free time.