11 Killer Boutique Workouts

If you're looking to get in shape for spring, look no further: We've rounded up - and tested out - the best boutique workouts around. These are the classes you need to try right now. By Ashley Ross and Alyssa Vingan

marie claireSoulCycle

What is SoulCycle? It's a full-body spinning workout, but what really sets it apart is its community aspect, as well as its unique spiritual component. Then, there are the playlists. According to Danny Kopel - one of MC's personal favorite instructors - the way each class' soundtrack is put together and choreographed is almost an art. "SoulCycle is emotional and spiritual," Kopel explains. "When you leave, you feel like you've been taken on a journey."

How can you get the workout at home? Kopel suggests that whether you have access to a spin bike or a treadmill, put together a playlist of music that speaks to you and moves you - it will help you to power through the workout. Also, try to incorporate light weights if you can.


marie claireBallet Beautiful

What is Ballet Beautiful?
A system of exercises and stretches developed by Mary Helen Bowers that's meant to sculpt, tone, and strengthen the body, as well as increase flexibility. "I think that every woman has the ability to transform her body," Bowers says. "What I do with Ballet Beautiful is make the body really long and lean - it's a lot of strengthening through your center and core and your back and upper body for beautiful posture." The classes incorporate both standing routines and mat work on the floor.

How can you get the workout at home? Simple! Bowers regularly live-streams the classes she holds in her NYC studio on balletbeautiful.com, and has a series of DVDs as well. When it comes to her most important principles, Bowers explains that stretching is extremely important, and when it comes to posture, keep your back long, your shoulders back, and pull in through your stomach.

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marie claire Chaise 23

What is Chaise 23?
Fusing together a background of aerobics from the '80s, Pilates, and Olympic lifting, this method takes place entirely on a chair that's equipped with a bungee system and resistance pedal. The workout was created by Lauren Piskin, who discovered the chair 11 years ago and has been modifying the workout ever since. A bungee system overhead combined with plyometrics lifts the heart rate while simultaneously working the muscles.

How can you get the workout at home? Take a bench or a chair and do legwork with a resistance band on a hook or anything tied to the ceiling. Engage the core for leg lifts in the front and sides as well as adductors and abductor leg moves.


marie claireRefine Method

What is Refine Method? Metabolic resistance training - a traditional form of resistance work using enough resistance and smart pacing to get your heart and lungs working while also strengthening your muscles.

How can you get the workout at home? Start with a stationary lunge for 30 to 40 seconds per leg, alternating with 30 seconds worth of pushups. If you find you can only get through one or two pushups, hold your plank. Start with one set, working your way up to three.

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Indoorance Rowing


What is Indoorance Rowing? Founded by Mike Creamer, it's a total-body indoor rowing workout with an added interactive aspect that gives students immediate feedback and tracks their progress. If you need more motivation you can row against a pace boat, with a friend, or even row live online with other rowers around the world

How can you get the workout at home? Creamer suggests you try squats to simulate the alternating compression and extension of the legs and hips involved in rowing. Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart. Raise your arms straight up to shoulder-level and keep them raised as you slowly sit back into a squat position where your thighs are parallel to the floor. You can also sit onto a low box or chair. Pull your arms down as you return to the standing position and repeat for 20 reps.

marie claireFlyBarre

What is FlyBarre? According to master instructor Kara Liotta, it's a full body workout, based on the idea of high repetitions at low weights. It utilizes a number of tools - resistance bands, balls, small weights, and a ballet barre - as well as choreographed intervals that keep you energized and get your heart pumping. The soundtrack is pretty stellar, too!

How can you get the workout at home? To get sculpted arms, find your favorite 5 minute workout song and grab a set of light weights - Liotta suggests either 2 or 3 pounds. Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips and a soft bend in your knees. Your chest should be lifted and your shoulders pressing down and away from your ears. Extend your arms long out to the sides of your body and begin small pulsing movements with just a slight bend in your elbows, palms facing the ceiling. Try to keep your arms fully extended away from your torso to create that lean, sculpted look. You can add variety by changing the position of your palms and wrists to work into different muscles of your arms.

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marie claireCircuit of Change Mind Body Bootcamp

What is Mind Body Bootcamp? A class created by Manhattan's Circuit of Change founder Brian Delmonico that incorporates yoga, meditation, and interval training like boxing, kick-boxing, and plyometrics. The motto of the bootcamp is "Personal Growth Inspired by Movement."

How can you get the workout at home? Take five minutes of silent meditation sitting up with a straight spine before moving to downward dog for ten breaths. Then take a set of standing jumps for thirty seconds, transitioning onto your back for 30 seconds of bicycle runches where the knee touches the opposite elbow.

marie claireModelFIT

What is ModelFit? It's the group fitness answer to personal trainer Justin Gelband's main gig - helping supermodels get into tip-top shape (seriously: his client list includes half of the Victoria's Secret Angels). "It's about letting people understand what they are, who they are, how they can work their own bodies," Gelband explained. "We want to get the best body we can for you.

How can you get the workout at home? Gelband swears by stretching - especially using resistance bands - as well as using light weights and your own body weight as resistance. Keeping in line with his "it's all about you" philosophy, he suggests that students pick out a cardio workout that they like to do - and that they'll commit to doing. "Get an exercise video, go for a walk with your friends, or find a class nearby your house that makes you feel good about yourself inside," Gelband advises.

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marie claireFigure 4

What is Figure 4? A ballet-based barre method created by Kate Albarelli, whose background in ballet and degree in dance and kinesiology helped her incorporate heart health and fat-burning exercises into the class - unlike many other barre methods that barely increase the heart rate.

How can you get the workout at home? Lie on your left side, extend the left arm long and place a pillow on top of your left shoulder so your head is cushioned. Bring your knees up in front of your hips, so that your legs are at a 90-degree angle, like you're sitting in a pseudo-chair. Keeping the legs at 90 degrees, lift and lower the right leg to hip level. Keep the hips stacked and place your back against a wall if you must in order to keep the back straight. Pulse up and down twenty times on each leg.

marie claireBarry's Bootcamp

What is Barry's Bootcamp? Barry's Bootcamp is a one-stop shop. In one hour, you get cardio, free weights, resistance training, and body-weight exercises, and are personally pushed like you've never been before. Each week, the days are broken into different targeted muscle groups so you never overdo it. The red lights and music make it like a club atmosphere - and the Saturday night class even comes equipped with a live DJ, glow sticks, and shots of antioxidant juice.

How can you get the workout at home? Barry's Bootcamp DVD Boxset is a great way to get the class experience while at home and break down the days for you just like a week at Barry's Bootcamp.


marie claireAspen Ascent

What is Aspen Ascent? Creator Stephanie Levinson skied in Aspen for 12 years and noticed how sore fellow skiers would be. "Sometimes they'd ruin their own ski vacations because their legs were spent," she says. So she came up with a conditioning class and Sports Club LA began a joint venture with the Aspen Snowmass Ski Company that caters to how athletes actually train, hitting the major parts of the body skiers use with cardio, agility, turning, jumping, lateral moves, and balance.

How can you get the workout at home? Stand on a bench or a box in skiers tuck position (as if you are getting ready to exit the chair lift). Keep the arms bent at a 90 degree angle at your side to simulate holding ski poles and begin to straddle the bench stepping down with the right foot, then left foot. Jump both feet back up to the top of the bench at the same time, keeping your tuck position. Repeat for 30 seconds alternating starting legs.

For more info on each of these workouts, check out MarieClaire.com.


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