The Dailey Method

Friday, 10 September 2010 | Tags: , , ,

I woke up with a pain in my butt this morning. It was self-inflected and I paid $20 for it, so I shouldn't complain. I'm testing out a new workout regime called the Dailey Method...

For the past few years, I’ve been working out with a trainer on a fairly regular basis – an indulgence I permit myself because I appear on TV and yes, the camera does add ten pounds. I’m also a lazy and somewhat cheap exerciser – I find that if I pre-pay for something, I’m less likely to balk at the idea of exercising.

I see my trainer Janella at APT (Advanced Personal Training) twice a week. I’d love to go more often but my schedule and my wallet don’t allow for it. I do take my dog on short daily walks and longer ones on weekends and I venture out on the odd run. But after a certain age, I’m finding that all of this simply isn’t enough. I’m nowhere near the one hour a day of vigorous physical exercise that so many health authorities recommend. It’s time to step things up a notch.

I started shopping around for something to add to my weekly repertoire. I’ve tried Pilates and I’ve done a lot of Yoga, but I wanted something with a little more action, so to speak. That’s when I heard about the Dailey Method.

This “new” workout regime comes from California (where all new fitness trends seem to come from) and was created ten years ago by Jill Dailey McIntosh, hence the catchy name. Part yoga, part ballet at the barre and part old school aerobics class, I was intrigued. You say dancers’ bodies and I say sign me up.


I come to class wearing my workout gear and mandatory socks, you don’t want to slip while contorting around the barre. The room is smallish but clean and bright, and full of other women of all ages, looking for longer, leaner and stronger bodies, just like me.

The class begins with some marching on the spot, and right away I’m hearkening back to my old aerobics classes at Ron Zalko. I hope it gets better than this. The teacher says it’s just a warm up and we go to a plank position. Okay, that’s a little more challenging. We move to some exercise with small hand weights to work the biceps, triceps and shoulders. Then it’s off to the barre, where we practice versions of pliés, focusing on the thighs. I’m not breaking a sweat yet but my thighs are feeling the burn.

Next, we sit on the floor facing the barre, our legs in the pretzel type position that I can’t even begin to describe here. We pulse one leg up and down, tiny one inch movements. Sounds easy but this one’s definitely challenging, in that ‘hurt so good’ kind of way. We end up lying on the floor, working the abs, doing crunches focusing on tiny movements on one direction then another.

Another class involved holding a rubber ball between the thighs while doing squats, pliés and leg raises. My legs are trembling. There isn’t any real cardio in the hour, just a lot of tiny controlled movements, (“up an inch, down an inch” is the instructor’s mantra) conducted until muscle fatigue. Interspersed between exercises are stretches and classic yoga positions like downward dog, child’s pose and happy baby, without all the chanting. Hallelujah. 

I leave class feeling rejuvenated, like I’ve done something, but not overly exhausted. And this morning, I can feel it: a bit in my biceps, a tad in my abs, but most importantly, in that sweet spot between the glutes and the hamstrings.

I’m no fitness expert but I don’t feel that the Dailey Method would be enough to whip someone into spectacular shape. Some additional cardio would be required. But it’s definitely better than sitting on the couch eating chocolate, though that is the plan for tonight. I’ve earned it!

Have you tried the Dailey Method? Any other new-fangled workouts I should know about? I’d love to hear about it. 


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