The ladies of new toning method Barre3 rolled into NYC this week from their usual base in Portland, OR. Their most famous client, Madonna, was also in town to work on her new movie and promote her new clothing line — coincidence? I didn't ask the ladies last Thursday night, when they hosted a private class to teach their moves to a handful of fitness folks and friends.
Being a novice to Barre3, I didn't know what to expect and, to be honest, I was scared! We gathered at the Baryshnikov Arts Center for what turned out to be an intermediate level class. The room, designed for ballet, featured two barres, and each work station was outfitted with a towel, water, mat, strap, exercise ball (founder Sadie Lincoln and her business associate Amy Lecler prefer one certain model, the Fitball USA mini), and hand weights. We began with simple yoga stretching under Sadie's guidance, then transitioned to barre work that involved modified forms of push-ups and squats — and lots of 'em! After about 30 of Sadie's barre-based push-ups, I started shaking pretty intensely. She calls that "the earthquake," and said it's actually a good thing that puts one's metabolism into overdrive. Sadie emphasized the importance of focusing on breaths, much like in yoga, and on keeping your hips even throughout the poses.
To read more about my experience with Barre3, just read more.
While influenced by the Bar Method, Sadie has developed her own exercise all of which we explored in the class. We did a series of modified crunches and push-ups, with optional small hand-weights to increase the level of difficulty. Reassuringly, like in yoga, she reiterated that the best students aren't the ones who can do the highest level of work; rather, they're the ones who know when to stop. She also shared that she's only allowed twelve students to practice at an advanced level, after about two years each of doing Barre3. Amy, meanwhile, said that after her own study of Barre3, she actually measures taller! A veritable bragging point for this exercise method.
After the class, I felt limber and (it might have been my mind tricking me) taller too. Then came the morning. Today, I hurt in places I never thought possible — ever felt back-of-the-knee pain? Something must be working! I'd totally do it again if the ladies opened a class in NYC, and until then, I have the Barre3 DVD to practice conquering those shakes.