Fitness Instructor Spotlight: Desira Barnes

Meet Pilates instructor Desira Barnes! Desira is has been teaching Pilates at the 14th Street Y since September 2016. She is originally from San Jose, California. After studying dance in college, Desira moved to New York. She was introduced to Pilates by another dancer and has not stopped since. As she puts it, “Pilates lends itself to dance, so it was meant to be.”

Desira is motivated to stay healthy in order to prevent injuries, pain, and weakness. When she is healthy, she feels like she can accomplish anything; “the best feeling in the world.” She believes that Pilates is a special type of workout because it is the foundation for all other forms of movement, helps the body to take on any type of activity, and brings awareness to posture and alignment.

In addition to teaching at the 14th Street Y, Desira has also partnered with her best friend to start a Pilates studio, Cinch Pilates, in downtown Brooklyn.

Meet Desira at a special pop-up Pilates 101 workshop on Saturday, April 22 from 12:30 – 2:00 PM, or try out her weekly class, Pilates Fundamentals, on Thursdays at 6:40 PM. 

For more information about the 14th Street Y, please visit our website at

30 Day Challenge: Plank

Artboard 1 copy@72xDay 1: How many seconds can you hold the position with good form? Find your baseline number and build from there.
Day 2: Time to get in plank position! Hold a plank for 10-30 seconds; repeat 3 times.
Day 3: Rest day! Taking a day off will give your muscles time to recover and adapt to this new exercise.
Day 4: Plank for 10-30 seconds; repeat 4 times.
Day 5: Try a side plank. Hold this position for 10-30 secs/side, repeat 3 times on each side.
To do a side plank, start in regular plank position, t
hen shift your weight to one arm and rotate your hips so that they are perpendicular to the floor. Use your bottom arm for support, and put the other hand on your hip. Tip: try to “stack” shoulders, knees, and hips so that they are all in line.
Day 6: Rest day. You deserve it.
Day 7: Test day! How long can you hold the regular plank position with good form?
Day 8: Plank for 15-35 seconds; repeat 5 times.
Day 9: Side plank for 15-35 seconds/side; repeat 4 times on each side.
Day 10: Plank from 20-40 seconds; repeat 6 times.
Day 11: Rest day! Do you feel your core getting stronger?
Day 12: Plank for 25-45 seconds; repeat 4 times.
Day 13: Rest day!
Day 14: Two weeks of planks… wow! How long can you hold the position with good form?
Continue reading “30 Day Challenge: Plank”