Barre is a fun and effective workout style that can accommodate a broad spectrum of fitness levels and experience, and nicely complements other types of exercise. As barre workouts have become so immensely popular, there are now so many classes available, — especially in more suburban and urban areas — from regional and national chains / franchises to individually-owned and -designed classes/studios, as well as barre-style classes offered as part of larger gyms. I’ve taken many classes at a variety of these studios around the country, and for a number of reasons I have come to find barre3 to be my favorite:
- While there is a similar flow to each class, the “routine” differs each time. This keeps the classes fresh and interesting (no boredom!), and perpetually good for your body (no staleness!)!
- The instructors are consistently very good at what they do. Friendly, fun and knowledgeable. Importantly, they are approachable and regularly offer a spectrum of modifications for any given exercise — to make it easier, adjust for any physical restrictions, or make it more challenging.
- The cues given on alignment and form are very appropriate with both safety and effectiveness of exercise in mind. (This is one particular area where I’ve had frustrations with several other barre studios — I’ve found the approach of some regarding spine, pelvis and core positioning and engagement to be not only uncomfortable, but risky.)
- The overall environment and vibe is really enjoyable. Yes you’re there for a tough workout, but that’s balanced by a very supportive, friendly an relaxed atmosphere. The emphasis is placed on working within your personal comfort zone, and identifying your own threshold and pushing yourself safely. And the focus is, appropriately, on strength and wellness vs. aesthetics. No talk of “trouble zone” nonsense here (at least not in my experience).
- The studios are comfortable and clean (admittedly a very subjective point, but I love the cork-based floors at barre3 compared to carpeting at some other studios).
The barre3 studio in Southeast Portland is particularly fantastic, from the instructors and staff to the space itself (welcoming, well-appointed and full of natural light).
The one real negative is common with pretty much all workout studios, in that it is fairly expensive. So, it’s always worth looking into new student discounts, Groupons, package deals and other promotions (sometimes there are additional discounts around holidays). There are also online classes available for a much lower price than in-studio. Barre3 is one studio where I’d recommend in-person classes to just about anyone, even if only one class once in a while to change things up and awaken your body a little bit differently.