The Community

Wooing the Guys with Valentines “MAN” Barre Classes

February 1, 2011


Its February, and Valentines Day is two weeks away. In keeping with the spirit of the day, many Bar Method studios hold special man classes to which men can come free either by themselves or with their girlfriends or spouses. My home studio in the San Francisco Marina is holding three of these man classes on Saturday, February 12th, and Im teaching the last one. I love teaching these special men-oriented classes. The Bar Method has the power to up a guys fitness level above and beyond what he gets from his usual gym routine of weights, abs and cardio, and its fun to talk about these benefits as the men make their way through the exercises. Two things I definitely dont say are that theyre lifting their seats and ripping their arms. Men already have lifted seats, and many have ripped arms. What guys do get from the workout is stronger legs, tighter abs, more flexibility, relief from back pain, stability in their knees, a better functioning core, and “ if theyre athletes “ amazing sports conditioning.

Bar Method Seattle Owner Luke CurreirWith all these fitness benefits to be had by men, why arent Bar Method classes full of guys? One reason, in my estimation is that the classes are full of girls, beautiful ones at that. Youd think this would be a big draw, but no. Guys dont like thinking theyre being shown up by more flexible, dance-y females. Whats more, they dont like the idea of standing at a ballet bar wearing socks. The problem with this rational is that, one, we female students are actually in awe of guys who brave the class (but most of them never get this), and, two, the ballet bar and the socks are non-material details that dont reflect the true machismo-like essence of the workout.

In spite of this general male mind-set, a small group of men do come regularly across the spectrum of Bar Method studios. Who are these unusual male students? Some are athletes whove found that the class makes them more competitive at their sport. Others are husbands whose back problems disappeared from the workout. A handful are runners who use it to strengthen, stabilize and increase flexibility their knees and hips, ultimately adding longevity to their running careers. My boyfriend Michael is among the atypical guys who come regularly simply because he likes the workout (see my blog GUYS AT THE BAR about his experience.) We studio owners are proud that these men are among our students, but the truth is, most of us could count the number of men who come regularly to each studio on the fingers of one hand.

Luke - Low Curl

But theres always hope. Every Valentines Day lots of men come to our man classes; they work hard, they seem to get it, and every year I think excitedly to myself, this is the year! Then these guys dont come back. One student from a man class I taught a few years back gave me an insight as to why. Id love this, he said, if I knew thered be at least a few other guys in class. Alas, it seems a chicken and egg type situation. The guys wont come because their buddies arent there.

Maybe on the 12th, things will change 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day
Burr Leonard