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—Photo courtesy of the Barre Code

We Tried It: Brawl

The Barre Code combines cardio kickboxing movements with barre elements for a hybrid workout.

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The Mile High City is bursting with ways to tone your tummy (and your thighs, and your biceps). Every month, new fitness studios open—all with methods sworn to revolutionize the way you work out. While they can’t all be the right fit for everyone, it’s worth giving them a try. (Plus, we can never have too many exercises in our repertoire, right?) We’ve decided to explore as many as we can, one by one, to help break down your options—and hopefully help our readers find the workouts that workfor them. No more excuses: Your perfect fitness regimen is waiting for you.


Class: The Barre Code’s Brawl

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Sweat meter (1–10): 6

Instructor: Andrea Crass, fitness junkie (she also teaches at CrossFit Broadway)

Format: A 50-minute class that switches between cardio kickboxing combinations, cardio blasts, and a short series of isometric movements at the barre. Don’t be intimidated by the word “boxing”; no gloves or bags are involved and the fairly simple combos are taught in three separate parts. Expect to hit the four basic punches (jab, cross, hook, uppercut) as well as front and back kicks and other easy movements like jumping jacks and knee raises. Mirrors on three sides of the room mean you’ll be able to check your form when doing pliés at the barre or cardio-focused variations on exercises such as squats and tuck jumps.

Tip: If flashing lights irritate you or cause medical problems, skip this one; in my class, the overhead lights were off and there was a strip of green lights around the top of the walls that was a bit distracting.

What it’ll (allegedly) do: Sculpt thighs (the goal is to make your quads shake), but it’ll also tone your abs, arms, and back—plus improve your posture.

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Why it works: The combination of cardio and strength training is a good way to ensure you build up endurance and muscle while also losing fat.

What you’ll need: Grippy socks (you can purchase them at the studio) and a water bottle.

Where it’s offered: The Barre Code, which opened its first Colorado location in Ballpark in October and offers several variations on the standard barre class.

Price: Your first studio visit is $12, and there’s a whole slew of pricing options to choose from after that. The monthly, unlimited autopay plan is a great deal at $99, but you are locked into a three-month minimum commitment.

Favorite moves:
Barre-focused: Turn sideways and hold onto the barre (or if you’re at home, a chair) with one hand. Your feet should be hip-distance apart as you raise your heels. Keep your back straight as you bend your knees and lower yourself past the barre at different intervals (down for two counts, up for two; down for three, up for one).

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Boxing: A combination will cover multiple areas of your body. Start with three quick jabs as you’re moving forward, then a cross once you stop. Shuffle back, then do three knee raises (alternating knees) then a side kick on the side that’s not facing the front, then one more knee raise. Repeat three times.

Instructor insight: “People like to work on strength and resistance, but they also want to get their heart rate up,” Crass says. “The cardio is a good way to do that, but then you also have the isometric movements that focus on the smaller muscles.”

Doesn’t sound like the right fit? Check back next week as we explore other fitness classes in the Denver area.

(Check out other local fitness classes we’ve tested)

Follow Mary Clare Fischer on Twitter at @mc_fischer.

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Mary Clare Fischer, Assistant Editor

Mary Clare Fischer co-edits 5280’s Compass, Adventure, and Culture sections; writes for multiple sections of the magazine; and blogs weekly about health and wellness for 5280.com.

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