Core Fusion Extreme is a solid class that is definitely both a strength training and cardio workout. We appreciated the add-in of abs for ten minutes at the end of class but otherwise felt like this was a pure HIIT class that falls a little outside of Exhale’s barre and yoga-focused brand. We recommend it to the barre-goer who is looking to mix things up and get more of a cardio burn, but for those who are used to intense, Tone House style HIIT workouts, this may not be extreme enough for them. Despite the switch-up from Exhale’s traditional classes, Erin instructs the class very professionally, we got a good workout in and we’ll likely attend again.
The Exhale Core Fusion Extreme class requires a fair amount of setup and an innovative use of space. The instructor had created five different stations before the class arrived: TRX straps, kettlebells, heavy weights (10-12 pounds barbells), plyometrics (with boxes) and gliders. As class participants, the only things we needed were water, a towel, and sneakers – though we also needed to closely follow the 5+ minutes of direction that began the class.
Erin led class off with an energizing warmup that started with leg lifts and quickly progressed to higher energy jumping jacks, planks, and mountain climbers, and then paused to let us catch our breath and to explain each of the different HIIT stations. There were about 10 of us in class, a low number for the usually over-enrolled Exhale classes, and the extra space and attention was really nice on this bleary post-Daylight Savings Time Sunday morning. Erin explained that we’d go through each station twice, with two sets of exercises that we’d perform for two sprints each rotation.
The exercises in each station were definitely designed to be approachable, but the very short rest time (45 seconds on, 15 seconds off) and fast transitions kept our heart rate up. At the TRX station, the exercises were a combination of lat rows, skull crushers and pushups, and we then rotated into one-legged kettlebell lunges and dips. Weighted lunges, snatches, box jumps, and glider core twists and mountain climbers rounded out the group of exercises across stations, which certainly worked different muscle groups. In our second rotation, Erin pulled us over to the barre between each station change for a quick round of exercises. These were targeted thigh and glute exercises that included wall sits, chair, and foldover positions.
The class finished with some core work on individual yoga mats: a little less than ten minutes spent in various side crunches, planks, and v-sits. We ended class with a final core hold v-sit and then Erin encouraged the group to stick around for some yoga-inspired stretching – and who can ever resist a good cat-cow stretch after all those core moves? Core Fusion Extreme HIIT is a good sweat and a lot of steps to follow – we recommend this class to someone who can focus and sweat hard, but who wants a lot of directions to guide them along their workout session. As mentioned upfront, Exhale is generally known for its barre & yoga expertise, and this HIIT class is outside of that zone. We got a good workout in but weren’t entirely sure how much Core Fusion work we were getting from the class.
Erin Gamble is a very experienced Exhale instructor – we’ve also taken her barre and barre/cardio classes at this location in the past. She was open and friendly, asking often if we had any questions and shouting out encouragement throughout the class. We were most impressed by how many specific moves she remembered and explained as a part of the HIIT Extreme curriculum. She demonstrated each kettlebell swing and glider lunge efficiently, and offered adjustment recommendations for those who might be injured or less flexible. She tailored her volume and her approach to class effectively for the smaller room. Overall, Erin was professional and enthusiastic and we’d love to take a class with her again.
This Exhale studio is somewhat strangely located in the basement of the Gansevoort Hotel in the Meatpacking district. To get to class, you have to walk through the hotel’s swanky lobby and take the elevator down two floors, where you will be greeted by friendly staff and the nice touch of water with oranges and lemons floating in it. Once you make it past the front desk, there is a fairly large retail section, which prominently features Core Fusion DVDs, yoga mats, and Alo apparel. The women’s locker rooms were recently redone and have great lighting, a spacious locker area, and two showers. Like other Exhale locations, there are lots of orange-scented toiletries, nice towels, free razors, and sandals for borrowing to shower. To actually get into the class space, which is fairly open and newly-renovated to include mirrors on the two back walls, you must walk through the Gansevoort Hotel’s small cardio gym. But once you’ve passed all these hazards, you’ve made it to class, where any number of mats, weights, towels and props await you.
18 9th Ave, New York, NY 10014 Meatpacking District Barre $$$$
Meatpacking District Barre, $$$$
18 9th Ave, New York, NY 10014
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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!