Xtend Barre is a different kind of barre class than the typical low-key toning you may expect when you show up in a class in your sock feet – expect jumps, choreography, and a lot of sweat. We love this neighborhood studio tucked away in Brooklyn Heights, with its encouraging but tough instructors, the airy space, and the ever-changing jams that provide the soundtrack to each class. We almost don’t want to tell you how much we love Xtend Barre lest the studio get overcrowded – but come here. Get on the subway. Brooklyn’s not so far away after all.
Xtend classes are never the same, but we always know we’ll be sweating from the get-go. In this particular class, we were asked to grab an exercise ball to hang onto for the warm-up in order to get some resistance in with our choreography, which included lunges, second position hops, and a series of relevees from side to side.
Our ten-ish minute warmup concluded with an introduction to arms – which used smaller weights than we have seen in other barre classes, and quicker, repetitive compound movements. With two pound weights in hand, we continued with the pattern of lunges, this time adding in some hammer curls, bicep curls, and side raises. The arms section also worked our triceps and shoulder muscles through a few “swimming” type moves, as well as standard triceps raises, done quickly and for what seemed like a long time. We got rid of our weights and proceeded to some pushups followed by plank runs – and again, this is all in the first 20 minutes of class!
The next segment of class was all done at the barre for thighs and glutes. We engaged in a number of second position knee bends, knee lifts, and then hops for maximum cardio impact, followed by some choreography that burned our thighs and led us to some high kicks. This was then repeated on the other side and followed by a lengthy foldover series which focused on moving our leg sideways and diagonally. We were told this would carve out a strong and toned side seat. Xtend class ends with some ab work, which in this case was a series of glute bridges and oblique crunches.
Amber is frankly the best. She is constantly coming up with new choreography especially designed to make the small muscles in your abs and butt burn as much as possible. She gets to know all class-goers by name and does not shy away from making small corrections to form. She isn’t shy with the praise, either, which always helps motivate us to improve our form. We like that Amber can be focused on form and direct a difficult class while also letting her bubbly, outgoing personality shine through. We also love that she tries to insert a bit of her preferred disco and eighties music into every class.
Owner Kristine keeps her studio and locker room area spotless. You enter the studio and climb a flight of stairs in an apartment building to the second floor, which opens up into a lobby area with light wood floors and walls painted in shades of gray and teal. While there are no showers, there are three changing stalls and two bathrooms, as well as small lockers in which to store belongings. The primary studio is on the second floor just beyond the front desk, and, like the lobby, features a lot of natural light. There is also a second, smaller studio upstairs which is used for private barre or Pilates training, classes with smaller groups, and babysitting (which is offered during some weekday class times). We also find the front desk staff to be super friendly to both new class attendees and studio regulars. The space is off a quiet street one block from the Borough Hall subway station, which covers most major subway lines and is only one stop into Brooklyn.
47 Remsen St, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Brooklyn Heights Barre $$$$
Xtend Barre Brooklyn Heights
Brooklyn Heights Barre, $$$$
47 Remsen St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
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This class was a tough one, even for Xtend! Class started with a choreographed warm-up of first position hops to second, curtsies that engaged our oblique muscles, and then a number of jumps that had our hip flexors getting a real good workout in ten minutes. Amanda then led us through an arms section that was all quick, fatiguing compound movements with light two pound weights – we always feel the burn with arm swims while on our toes in second position. Amanda also made sure our abs were working early in class by moving to a plank section on the floor and some aggressive mountain climbers. The legs and cardio section was heavily focused on curtsies to passe position, which worked our side seat as well. We were happy to skip chair pose and go right to ballet lunges as we transitioned from one side to the other. Amanda’s seat section included foldover with a lot of extra resistance from gray flexibands around our thighs, and her abs section focused on the dreaded Pilates hundreds. We were wiped and sore by the end of class, in a good way.
Amanda has a reputation for being a tough, no-nonsense instructor and we definitely can see where she gets it! When she’s not at Xtend she is leading quiver-inducing workouts at SLT megaformer classes, and she definitely brings some Pilates-inspired moves back to barre. We love that no workout sequence is the same in Amanda’s classes, appreciate when she gives us a hard-earned shout-out, and know we’ll be challenged physically and mentally every time we show up to the barre and she is leading. Amanda is exacting about the form she requires and doesn’t shy away from calling people out if they aren’t on the beat, but is also incredibly encouraging and works one-on-one with everyone regardless of their level of experience to make sure they’re getting the most out of their barre class. Amanda is the type of instructor whose approval you really want to earn.
Xtend Barre’s Express class
runs through the same sequence as the full 60 minute classes, but with abbreviations. Chelsea led us through some quick choreographed lunges and then immediately got into the arms section of class. This particular arms section was pretty focused on the biceps, with different types of curls alongside compound movements with curtsies and more lunges. Our least favorite section of class is usually the combo of legs and cardio, done mostly at the barre, but Chelsea enthusiastically and briskly encouraged us through this section as well. We started off with a chair exercise with some heel lifts, then transitioned into jumps from second position into first at the barre. Chelsea did a lot of the passe pose and through this section our calves and ankles were on fire. Her direction led us into foldover and a few seat exercises, and we concluded with a pretty long abs section on the floor that focused on being in the correct position for crunches. Always a good workout at this studio!
We’re huge fans of studio owner Kristine and think she hires some of the best, most creative and enthusiastic instructors to teach. Chelsea is newer to the Xtend Barre studio but she is no exception. She has a bubbly personality and engages with everyone in class immediately when they walk in the door. Her music for class was an awesome seamless remix of Top 40 hits from the summer and she sang along at some points in class, a welcome distraction from the tough work she was making us do though sometimes making it a bit hard to understand her directions. Chelsea also did a lot of the workout right along with us, which we love, but which sometimes distracted her from counting out the right sequence. That said, Chelsea’s ability to count, sing and lunge all at the same time is much better than ours already, haha! We’ll definitely be back to take her class as she gets more experience under her belt.