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Corebar: new dance workout combines intense cardio with a weighted bar

A dance workout with a twist, Corebar classes combine high intensity cardio with a weighted bar and will hit the UK in January. Kelcie McKenney previewed a class at Reebok Sports Club in Canary Wharf.

The dance craze in workouts isn’t new from Zumba and salsa to Jazzercise  but if you’re looking for a dance infusion workout with a bit more structure and a big sweat factor, new Corebar launched this week might be the option for you.

Originally created in Norway, the class is built entirely around the Corebar itself, a long, bent, weighted bar designed to help you maintain posture as you go through moves such as torso crunching and fancy footwork around the dance floor. The class was introduced to the United States and Spain in 2011, and is now making its way to the UK. This past Friday I was able to preview one of the first Corebar classes to ever be held in the UK at the Reebok Sports Club in Canary Wharf.

Corebar’s press class at Reebok Sports Club provided by Gymkit and taken by Satinder Gill

While I have occasionally made my way to the gym, usually in the form of a friend dragging me to Zumba, the world of exercise classes and the possibilities they entail is something I’ve only dipped my toe into. With that state of mind, the opportunity to try one out that was just as new to the UK as it was to me was that boost of curiosity that hurdled me forward to check it out.

With three different weight options to the exercise bar (one, two and three kilograms), my feeble frame was grateful for being handed the lightest version before the class started. The bent ends of the bar look like three sides of a pentagon and the height of it was about the same as a broom.

The bar either rested under my forearms, across my back, was held in front of me or was lifted above my head as I was crunching, twisting and bending my torso. We lifted and contracted knees towards the torso, we punched the bar across the body, and swung it around in between moves. The routines worked my core while the moving footwork kept me energized and upbeat. Equal weight distribution across the bar helped to keep me centered and brought in the focus on pinpointing movements and using my core. It was a class that was easy to follow yet still made me break into a dripping sweat.

Kelcie’s in the back in the pink top working hard with the Corebar

Every Corebar class, including the intermediate level I was taking, is split into three parts: a high intensity stage followed by a cool down, a second high intensity stage followed by a cool down, and a final stage focusing on mobility and stretching. In the first two sections we did squats while lifting the corebar, twisted our torso with the bar during alternating knee lifts (great for the waist), leapt side to side while punching and sweeping the bar in front, to the side, and below us. During the final part of the class, we balanced with one leg off the ground while moving forwards and backwards, did pushups with our hands holding on to the upturned part of the bar (painful!), and finished off the class with stretching aided by the weight of the bar.

I left the class extremely sweaty and flying high on an adrenalin buzz. My arms were lighter than feathers from all the lifting and I felt like I could keep dancing for hours. The high-intensity cardio paired with weight training and a dash of balance and mobility created a class that encompassed Corebar’s motto of ‘train hard and have fun.’

The creator and founder of Corebar Anita Tonne, a trainer herself, flew in from Norway to chat with us about the purpose behind Corebar. That adrenaline buzz I had felt at the end wasn’t misplaced. She had created and developed Corebar in the search of ‘post workout magic moments’ because the way you feel after a workout is, to her, even more important than the way you feel during.  ‘That’s what gets you addicted,’ Tonne says. ‘That euphoria is what brings people back.’


All that crunching, lifting and twisting had left me feeling like I could fly at the end of the workout. I hadn’t realized how much upper body strength it would take to lift a one kg bar  so my arms ached more than I had expected the next day. Even with the soreness, that rush I felt at the end of my experience is the reason I would take the class again. Imagine taking one of your favorite hour-long workout classes and instead of feeling exhausted and dead at the end of the class, you feel like you could do it for hours. That’s Corebar and it’s coming to a gym near you.

Corebar launches in the UK in January 2015. Reebok Sports Club in Canary Wharf will be holding a preview classes (check the site for details). Corebar will also be at three fitness shows with Fitness Fiesta in Camber Sands, Sussex Oct. 3-5; Hinckley Island, Leicestershire Oct. 10-12; and Beaumont House, Berkshire Nov. 7-9. Keep tabs on Gymkit, the UK distributor of Corebar, and Corebar’s Facebook page for updates on upcoming classes.

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