Adina Silverstein elevated a standard barre series to something more intense which, while still not getting us super sweaty, engaged small muscles in our back, abs, and glutes that we didn’t know needed to be exercised. The Exhale Gramercy studio in the Gansevoort Park Hotel is a little cramped, but if you can look beyond that to an excellent instructor finding ways to creatively get you toned, you’ll have a good time. We’re definitely coming back to Adina’s class.
We should have known this Exhale Core Fusion Barre class would be harder than usual because Adina asked us to get heavy and light weights and then proceeded to ignore all the light ones. We also needed a yoga block for some intense one-footed foldover work in this class, and a green stretchy band to use as a prop.
Class started with knee lifts, plank runs, and side plank lifts, and then transitioned into arm exercises and weights. We skipped pushups in this class but did extra tricep dips and overall were feeling the burn very quickly after a number of dynamic hammer curls with the heavy weights. Adina smoothly led us through three different types of row/lat pull exercises and then we transitioned to the barre to stretch our legs. We are used to doing waterski, small V, and chair positions as a part of thighs during Exhale barre classes at this point, but Adina offered focused small movements for us to try that we immediately connected to, like staying en pointe throughout the whole section. When we got to the glutes section, we did leg lifts in foldover position but with our standing leg on a block, which made things a little less stable and the exercise much more difficult. Adina then brought us to the mat to conclude the glutes section of class with clamshells, rainbows and more, all with a green stretchy band around our knees to add resistance. We finished things off with some ab sprints under the barre, both with flat back and round back, and then finally did a number of bridge pulses, including several on one foot, which again made things unstable and more difficult.
This was a busy class for a Thursday morning, with about twenty people in the small space who mostly seemed, like us, to be professionals working in the area. Unlike in many other classes on a workday morning however, there was no mad rush for the showers with five minutes to go. This is definitely a testament to Adina’s skillful teaching and it made a good impression on us.
Adina Silverstein is a no-nonsense instructor bent on challenging her class, and she did a great job. She gave just the right amount of personal attention, including hands-on corrections on form, and yet commanded the class from the center of the room with great clarity and the right volume. Her music choices tended toward the indie electropop, which we appreciated, but music was hardly noticeable in this class as we were shaking so hard. We have no criticisms of Adina and aspire to her strength and flexibility in her barre practice – we’ll definitely be back.
Exhale’s partnership with Gansevoort Hotels means that they rent spa and studio space in several hotels in the city, including this one on Park Avenue near Grand Central. When you go into the hotel, you’re instructed to take an elevator to the 3rd floor, where you check in on one side of the hallway and grab a laminated sign indicating what number mat you’ll take in class. This check-in area shares space with the small Exhale spa and its handful of massage rooms, the locker room with two showers, and the hotel’s own gym and hair salon. Needless to say, it feels a little crowded and busy! There are only a few items for sale behind the desk, like hair bands and water bottles – hardly the full service boutique of the Central Park South location. After checking in, you’re instructed to wait in the hallway for class to begin. The studio is at the end of the hallway and overlooks the corner of Park Avenue and 29th Street, with some pretty good people-watching views to distract you from your workout. The space is definitely smaller than in other Exhale studios and only about 15 to 20 people maximum fit in a class here. It’s a tight squeeze but a pretty functional place to work out.
420 Park Ave, New York, NY 10016 Gramercy Barre $$$$
Gramercy Barre, $$$$
420 Park Ave, New York, NY 10016
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When it’s a holiday week in New York, it’s honestly impressive that even three people show up to fitness class at 9:30 on a Wednesday morning. In this case, we didn’t mind because it gave us a semi-private class at Exhale and we had a chance to work on our form! The Exhale barre workout is low impact and follows a standard pattern of warmup, arms, legs, glutes, and abs, which Ellen followed dutifully. The warmup, arms and legs sections passed by quickly.
This class in particular focused heavily on glutes and abs together, and really burned out our obliques. After we did a foldover section at the barre, we came to our mats and focused on clamshell exercises with stretchy bands to help burn out our side seat, thighs, and obliques. This was challenging enough, but then we went into an extended series of hip bridges which further stressed our hamstrings and side seat. By the end of class we were shaking for sure.
Ellen finished class off with a good crunch series and helped us work on our c-curve hold position.
We really liked Ellen, who had a great attitude about this very small class and was very helpful in terms of providing technique advice without being overbearing. She was enthusiastic and great with motivating instruction, encouraging us to keep going and providing modifications that helped us get the most out of our workout. Ellen’s own technique (and her Rockettes sweatshirt) made it clear she was a dancer and we felt that influence throughout class – from the impressive turnout we were expected to attempt in second position to Ellen’s style of counting on the beat. We think she’d be equally good in a large class and look forward to seeing her lead a larger group next time!
Micaela led a solid, even, well-paced class, which was heavy on barre work for our thighs and butt. We really liked the flow and felt we were never stuck in a position that was too crazy impossible for very long. We started with a floor warm-up, consisting of marches and planks. Micaela recommended heavier weights than we’re used to (five- and seven-pound dumbbells) for the short weights section, and focused on the triceps. From there, we moved on to the barre section and thighs, with two types of chair right after one another. The first butt exercise was foldover, after Micaela gave us ample time to stretch our legs out. We concluded the glutes section with new-to-us moves on the floor: leg lifts and kicks from an all-fours position which helped wake up our obliques again. We moved naturally from there into an abs section that we also thought was excellent. It included long curl and then c-curve hold positions before going back to the barre to conclude with some straight-backed ab exercises for the lower abs. Class went by very fast!
We really liked Micaela’s no-fuss instruction. She gave explanations for moves that were short, direct, and to the point, and led the whole class as if it were somewhere between a yoga flow and a dance class, flowing seamlessly from one section to the next. She kept us on track and on the beat for 55 minutes and still managed to come around and focus on individual technique. Best of all, her music for this particular class seemed like a handpicked selection from 2011, heavy on the Nicki Minaj.