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Class Review

Class Review: Stretch & Tone

This Klyde Warren Park class combines core-building exercises and deep stretching movements.
By Emily Esleck |

It’s easy to fall into a workout rut, dreading that date with cold barbells and stale scenery. Stretch & Tone, held at Klyde Warren Park’s Muse Family Performance Pavilion, is the antidote. Infused with dancer-approved exercises that build core strength and define major muscle groups, the class works your body in ways typical weight machines won’t. Hit up this class at 7 p.m. Wednesdays.

The Class: Don’t expect to get drenched in sweat during this muscle-sculpting session. Stretch & Tone gives the right amount of burn while intermittent stretches and deep breathing help eliminate the weekday’s stress.

The Appeal: If you’re looking for a low-key way to target and challenge muscles, this is the perfect class for you. Since it’s not cardio-focused, this dynamic workout doesn’t leave you overworked and tired. This dance-inspired class is designed to increase overall strength, balance, and flexibility—all while listening to pop hits. The view isn’t bad either, as the class takes place in the middle of the park.

The Instructor: Kayah Franklin was fiery and fierce in her lavender, long-sleeved Dri-FIT top. She’s been a Dallas Black Dance Theater company member for five seasons and recently received her certification to teach barre and cycling classes. Through Stretch & Tone, Franklin combines the body shaping benefits of barre-style dance toning with regular exercises. She made holding squats bearable, sharing funny anecdotes (including one where she dreamt she recorded her first record label single).

Who’s There: Around 20 people ranging in tone and flexibility filled the platform. Some were workout class newbies and others were regulars.

How It Went: As we arrived, we grabbed a complimentary yoga mat. The class started with some deep breathing and stretching exercises. After working through muscle tension, we began a squat circuit with some core-activating and balance-perfecting knee-ups mixed in. We worked our abs by holding a plank for what might’ve been two minutes. (But Franklin made it feel like nothing with her constant encouragement.) To mix it up, we briskly walked in a circle around the platform, while pulsing our arms up and out to the side and then performing a lat pulldown motion. Next, we propped on our side with our hips stacked, working the tush and outer side of our upper thighs. With toes pointed, we lifted our legs up and down to the beat of “My Humps.” Finishing up, we did some hip raises and additional stretching to relax our freshly tightened muscles.

The Aftermath: I left the class completely relaxed, and my muscles received a good dose of action while being stretched and soothed between exercises. The next morning, I was a little sore, but it was nothing compared to what heavy weightlifting usually leaves behind.

Loved: A frequent workoutaholic, I liked that this class had different elements for everyone. If you never work out, it starts to build key muscle groups. And if you’re more experienced, it targets and tones specialized muscles in a different way than most mainstream weightlifting workouts.

Difficulty Level: You might read “dance-inspired” in the description, but no dance experience is required. This class suits nearly everyone’s limits.

Emily Esleck is a D Magazine intern.

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