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The quest for ‘ballerina-style buns’: Trying out Singapore’s first Xtend Barre class

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The closest I’ve ever come to doing anything ‘Ballerina style’ is scraping my hair back into a high chignon. And so it was with a mixture of dread and curiosity that I entered my first Xtend Barre class at Upside Motion.

What is Xtend Barre?
Xtend Barre uses a combination of movements inspired by ballet, cardio training and Pilates to target small muscles with precise, concentrated movements. They say this will “give you a lithe, lean silhouette” and we’ve heard results (toned arms, thighs, butt and abs plus improved posture, strength and flexibility) come fast.

Xtend Barre 2

What to Expect
The studio I visited is in the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it old Orchard Shopping Centre (NB: Upside Motion also has a beautiful CBD studio on Armenian Street near City Hall). It is compact but kitted out with a mirror on one side, barres on three sides and turquoise ropes hanging from the ceiling (which to my relief are for a type of aerial yoga). Instead for Xtend Barre, the equipment used includes a mat for targeted core work, puny sized arm weights (they got me back later for calling them puny), a small exercise ball for resistance and of course, the barre to balance while doing targeted isometric exercises.

Xtend Barre 3

The Workout
The 55-minute class starts with stretches and ballet poses to warm up the muscles, then there are some arm exercises (trust me those weights don’t seem so puny when you do a million repetitions). After that, you’ll move on to leg and butt exercises using the barre to balance. The mirror reminds you to engage your core at all times, and it’s an incentive to at least try and look a little elegant while you’re inwardly screaming in pain as those legs start to burn. And just when you think your muscles can’t take it any more, the instructor utters the dreaded P word….“PULSE!”. The class ends with mat exercises, planks and a cooldown.

With Xtend Barre there’s more cardio than other barre class methods. The upside of this is that it’s fun and fast paced. The flipside is that I wondered how proper my form was as we raced through the routine, though teachers do try correct where they can.

The music is upbeat. There’s no Chopin or Mozart, but instead it’s ballet on speed with a soundtrack often of the latest pop music. It’s different. It’s fun. And what I really like about the class is that while most who attend seem fairly fit already, there are women of all shapes and sizes. And we are all united in our quest for ballerina-style buns.

Xtend Barre 1


  • There are two studios – Orchard or City Hall-Armenian Street
  • Here is the full schedule of Xtend Barre, as well as other classes including Pilates and Antigravity Aerial.
  • You can go for a 3-class experience pass (lasts 7 days) at $49 to try a few types of classes or different instructors out.
  • You need to wear socks with slip-free soles (you can buy them there)
  • Bring a bottle of water
  • Wear body-hugging gear so instructors can see your form
  • Scrape your hair back in your best chignon (just kidding)

Upside Motion, Orchard Shopping Centre #04-05, 321 Orchard Road, Singapore 238866, Tel: (+65) 6737 2979,

Upside Motion, 36 Armenian Street, #02-03, Singapore 179934, Tel: (+65) 6636 6859,

Lead image sourced via Pinterest

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