Xtend Barre in Abu Dhabi

We try workout that's taking the city by storm Comments

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We love cake at Time Out HQ but we know all too well what that means to our waistlines. And if you’re suffering from the same sponge-inspired conflict as us, you’re probably as fed up as we are of running like hamsters to wear it all off. Thankfully, a new class in the city can help you lose those kilos through dancing – with a bit of style and grace thrown in for good measure.

Developed from a dance/pilates background, the Xtend Barre workout combines the physical rigour of a dance routine with the principles of strength and safety associated with pilates.

‘Andrea Rogers is the creator and owner of the workout and has been a professional dancer and choreographer since the age of 18,’ says Nadia Sehweil, an instructor at Bodytree Studio. ‘She’s performed with various celebrities and recording artists including Enrique Iglesias and Aaron Carter. In an effort to provide cross training and seek better results for her clients, she began to incorporate dance elements and music into her pilates sessions in order to offer challenges in coordination, rhythm and cardiovascular fitness. By raising her pilates clients to a vertical position, and diversifying their range of motion, Andrea found greater results by offering Xtend Barre than by maintaining a routine of pilates alone. Most importantly, her clients were gaining energy, enjoying elements of dance and having fun.’

Nadia also explains that the class adds variety to the average pilates workout as well as a cardiovascular component set to music. The end result is a long and lean physique, without added bulk.

The class: step by step

We’re introduced to our energetic instructor Carol and are told to grab a mat, a strap for abdominal exercises later in the class and some light weights before taking a place at the barre (a stationary handrail used during ballet warm-up exercises). Carol tells us that if the weights get too heavy for us during the session then we can drop them and just continue with the exercises.

The class is packed, which can only be a good sign, and we all spread out along the edges of the dance studio, covered with mirrors and a barre on both sides. Carol gets us motivated with a warm up of freestanding ballet type stretching, accompanied by some chart-friendly tunes. We do demanding leg lifts and arm stretches that get us sweating really quickly.

With our limbs loosened, it’s time to really get down to business by grabbing some weights and putting in some serious work on our triceps.

We go through a circuit on both arms by lifting, pulsing and circling the weights to get a maximum workout until we sense the burning in our biceps. Next we move over to the barre to work our legs, hips and buttocks. Carol is adept at getting us to work hard and push ourselves when the going gets tough. We hold the barre and start a series of plies (ballet dips) with our arms held out to the sides. Then we ‘walk our legs out’ (holding onto the barre with our feet side by side, we gradually inch one foot away from the other until our legs are stretched out) followed by what is essentially a low squat and then repeat the process with the other leg. Carol reminds us to tighten our abs while we’re plie-ing, so that we get the most out of the exercises.

A variety of leg and balance routines both on and off the barre follows. Next, we wrap our straps (a tough piece of fabric) around the barre and, holding on with our arms fully extended, we lie on our mats while performing a series of abdominal exercises which creates an intense workout using the core muscles.

After more torture, sorry, mat work, the class finishes with a series of pilates stretches. It feels heavenly to lengthen out our muscles after working them so hard.


This class offers something a little different from your standard yoga/pilates workout. It’s a total body regime that strengthens, lengthens and stretches muscles from top to toe. You can really feel it working and it’s a lot of fun, too.


It’s a pretty hard workout and you’ll need some basic coordination and rhythm. As with regular pilates, you get out of it what you put in, so the harder you work the greater the results. It helps if you are already familiar with the principles of pilates.

The verdict

We’ve already signed up for next week’s class because we enjoyed it so much. The new facilities at Bodytree are excellent – spacious, light and serene. We were very impressed with Carol’s professional and friendly guidance, and the class was a lot of fun.
Classes are Dhs90 each, packages are available. Bodytree Studio, opposite the ADNOC on 26th/Al Nahyan Street and 11th/Hazza Bin Zayed Street, www.bodytreestudio.com (02 443 4448).

By Angela Beitz
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

User reviews:

Posted by: carol on 14 Nov ' 12 at 20:18

Aw you guys were great in class! Love having you! Let's work for the strength. Work for the tone.Work for the definition. And work for the FUN!
See you at the barre!!!

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