Stellar Sunshine Hoops and Beyond Barre

You don’t need to jump through hoops to get a good workout — but maybe you should. Two local ladies put the fun in fitness with a pair of unusual — but intense — exercise routines



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beyond barre pilatesColleen Ketchum’s BeyondBarre routine combines ballet with Pilates for an exhilarating workout

Photographs courtesy of BeyondBarre

Meanwhile, in Warwick, Colleen Ketchum has created BeyondBarre, a workout that extends beyond the handrail. “This is not your daughter’s ballet class,” says the 38-year-old owner of Pilates in Motion workout studio in the village. “I could not be happier with how it’s taking off.”

Ketchum had long wanted to incorporate ballet barre exercises at her studio. The programs she considered, however, were all attached to franchises. “I didn’t see the point in paying franchising fees and changing the name of my studio,” she says.

She thought often about what kind of exercises she wanted to include in a barre class, but she’d never had the time to write a manual or teach trainers the new methods. “And then, after I’d had my third son — as if things weren’t hectic enough — one of the Pilates teachers said, ‘Oh, I can help you with that.’ ” Ketchum went on to develop BeyondBarre by collaborating with two trainers, one of whom is a professional stunt woman. The program has become so successful that Ketchum now licenses it nationally.

The 55-minute routine moves through a variety of exercises: warm up, small weights, Glide Board aerobics, barre work, and stretching. “This workout really targets the area between the hips and knees of women — thighs and glutes — the place where it’s really difficult to trim down and sculpt,” Ketchum says.

Barre exercises focus on stretching and strengthening muscles, but Ketchum wanted to ratchet up the aerobics aspect — just as a ballet performer gets a cardio workout on the dance floor in addition to completing a barre routine. She determined she’d need a slippery surface in order for exercisers to remain in motion while staying in one place. “My father helped me create the Glide Board that we currently use,” she says. “He’s a fine woodworker, and I enlisted him to start making prototypes for me. He tried different materials, different lengths to come up with the perfect piece of equipment that would work well in my studio. And he did.” And it’s the board, which Ketchum has submitted for a patent, that makes this workout so different from others.

beyond barre pilates

Varying from four to five feet long, the Glide Board’s surface is made from a super-slippery plastic, and each end is capped with a cross piece designed to keep feet and hands from sliding off. Users wear ballet shoes or specialty socks. “It’s fun, like ice skating,” Ketchum says. “It really works the lateral muscles of the body, which frequently isn’t done unless you’re an ice skater, hockey player, basketball player — someone who does a lot of that side-to-side motion.” Overall, the workout is meant to build “long muscles, and the kind of sculpted bodies that dancers have.”

Ketchum sells Glide Boards for $249 apiece through www.beyondbarre.com, a site that also provides information about the 17 BeyondBarre classes held each week at her studio. She’s licensing the workout to gyms throughout the country, and has already gone international with a license in Tel Aviv, Israel. Ketchum hopes to develop a BeyondBarre DVD to bring the workout into exercisers’ living rooms. That way, she says, “everyone can join in the ballet barre fun.”

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