The next stop on my tour of Portland’s fitness hot spots? Barre3, a fusion workout in which ballet barre meets yoga and pilates.
For someone with a background of being in toe shoes and tutus for almost a decade and a half while growing up, this should be a piece of cake…right?!
Nope; quite the contrary, as I quickly found out…
Barre3 evolves the dancer’s workout by combining “the grace of the ballet barre with the wisdom of yoga and the strength of Pilates” to deliver a total-body workout designed to burn fat, build muscle and transform the body.
The goal is to promote balance, strength and flexibility equally through a signature three-step sequence of:
1. Isometric holds to work muscles to their deepest points for strength and endurance.
2. Controlled movements to heat the body, increase core strength and rev metabolism.
3. Dynamic moves to flush muscles, lift heart rate, improve circulation and re-energize.
Basically, this means that you’ll be performing a sequence of postures set to an upbeat soundtrack at a fairly vigorous pace.
After a quick warm-up in the middle of the room, we took our places at the barre for two segments of deceivingly-difficult moves (leg lifts, holds and pulses). The final segment was a series of seated exercises on the mat that left my core crying, “Uncle!”
Never have I moved so little yet had all of my muscles shake so much, but it’s a good sign because it means that they’re being put under a new kind of stress that they aren’t used to (i.e. they’re getting stronger!).
Barre3 is also low impact, so it’s especially handy if you’re injured or easing back into an exercise program. Our class had people of all ages and ability levels, yet we struggled just the same since moves can be modified different ways. And, yes, it got my sleepy glutes firing.
What I really love about this workout, though, is that it’s super functional: Barre3’s goal is to teach alignment principles that apply to everything from sports performance to holding kids to sitting at a computer.
Although you’ll feel the effects during workouts, it’s much more about being able to bring a more balanced body to what you’re doing the rest of the day!