Crash Course: Tired of the same old tuck, pulse, plié? Try doing them while dangling off the ground in an antigravity hammock. Ballet barre gets a total revamp with this new 75-minute twist on the uber popular workout. You’ll recognize many of the moves but there’s a greater emphasis on balance, stretching, going upside down, and traditional dance exercises. It’s definitely a burner of a class so don’t let the word “hammock” fool you.[line] [left]where: 265 West 37th Street, Suite 1100
bring: water bottle
perks: antigravity hammocks
sweat score: 5 out of 10[/left][right]wear: recommend spandex bottoms
instructor: Lorianne Major
class: AntiGravity AIRbarre
cost: $22 drop-in [/right][line]
For those who have been following along on Instagram, you might have caught wind that I’ve been on a bit of a barre kick recently thanks to a snap decision to sign up for barre3 video classes. This is totally out of character (and totally not a paid endorsement) because I used to be the first person to dismiss barre as little more than a fun fad to do with girlfriends before brunch. I stand before you a repentant fit crasher. If done correctly and with gusto, barre is sweaty. Barre is hard. Barre is actually kind of fun.
So I was pretty pumped when I heard about this funky new twist on barre developed by the high flying folks at the AntiGravity Lab in New York City.
The AntiGravity Lab is the brainchild of professional dancer, choreographer, and fitness personality Christopher Harrison. It’s not a full blown boutique studio, but rather a small and intimate space where Christopher and his team get together to develop new techniques, train instructors, and practice their art.
At night, the Lab opens its doors to the public for classes using the silk AntiGravity Hammocks: aerial yoga, suspension fitness, fundamentals, restorative, and the newest offering, AIRbarre.
Because it is a working dance and fitness lab, the space doesn’t have a lot of the bells and whistles you would normally find in your typical NYC studio. There are no showers, no smoothie bar, no fridge with chilled drinks on offer. But considering you are walking into an incredibly unique experience using one of the coolest pieces of equipment I’ve tried to date…I say we’re even.
The classroom itself holds only 11 people, so no matter what class you take know that it is going to be very intimate. There’s beautiful light shining in from the back of the room, a full length mirror at the front, and colorful hammocks interspaced on the ceiling above.
So what was AIRbarre like?
I would say it was 1/3 lower body ballet fitness using the hammock as a very wobbly barre substitute. 1/3 intense, deep muscle stretching. And 1/3 core work while doing fun things in the hammock like fully suspended swinging or going upside down.
Was it the hardest barre class I’ve ever taken? No. But that’s not the point. I got so much more out of this session than any other barre class I’ve ever been to. Sure my muscles were sore from the ballet moves. But the opportunity to literally let go of the day and hang suspended upside down was so incredibly fun, freeing, and put a big old smile on my face for the rest of the evening.
And the long, intense stretches we did using the hammock as an assist were way beyond the ones you would do at a traditional barre class. They got into the nitty gritty knots, those areas you didn’t know were tight until hot damn! you realized they were. I walked out of there feeling taller, longer, and more relaxed.
I admit it, the taller part was really the game changer. Any class that makes my 5-foot-nothing frame feel a bit more vertical gets an A in my book.
Lorianne, our instructor, was fabulous and made sure to walk around the room and give personalized feedback for each move and sequence. As a first timer, this was very reassuring because inverting yourself on a piece of silk isn’t something you just wake up and do one day. I needed a little help and encouragement!
There was one hip flexor stretch in particular I was having trouble with, but she was right there to help me realign my hammock to get the most out of the pose. Plus, she had a great sense of humor, fun music, and made the 75 minutes fly by (um, literally).
I would love to go back and try the suspension fitness or restorative class. Although considering I was dozing off after just a few seconds in suspended savasana, the restorative class might put me out for the evening. I’ll be the one snoring in cocoon number five. Please do not disturb.
Tell me: have you tried an aerial class? Which one is your favorite?
The AntiGravity Lab provided this class free of charge in exchange for The Fit Crasher’s honest review – all opinions in this post come directly from my very sweaty personal experience. The profession photo used at the top is courtesy of the AntiGravity Lab. Thanks for reading!