I was recently asked by a friend, the friend who introduced me to Barre class in fact, to try and do a little comparison between Barre 3 (where I have landed) and Pure Barre (my introduction to Barre workouts, and where this friend is a regular). So I have been to 6 Pure Barre classes at 2 different studios and 24 (!!!) Barre 3 classes, including one outdoor class, as of yesterday. I will be back today at 10 am!
So let's take a look at the format of Barre 3 first.
Format: Warm up, leg work (usually at barre), combo work with light weights, seat work (barre or floor), core work on mat.
Equipment: Always core ball, mat and light weights (all are provided). Sometimes resistance band or strap.
Attire: Tights or crops, bare feet, fitness top (I recommend a tank - but I am sweaty).
Cost: Now, this varies studio to studio, but at my studio is $22 for one class and up to $140 per month for unlimited classes.
A class always starts and finishes in the exact same manner. Three deep breaths. I try to use this time at the beginning to kind of focus myself and gear myself up to really put myself all in to this class. Some days I am quite tired, but taking three super full breaths really gets me going. From there we start getting everything moving with some squats or lunges with varying foot positions, adding arm movements, and eventually doing several longer holds in yoga poses, and then usually flowing through some movements. By the end, I am warm. Warm up is completed with a 90 second plank. There is some variety here as well, because as I am sure you know (if you are reading this) there are plenty of plank variations.
Following that warm up, we head to the barre to immediately start working on legs. This involves lots of squats and lunges, on toes, on flat feet, in various positions, etc. We do a lot of teeny tiny movements and then kind of relax the muscles with full range movements - prior to barre 3, I never realized how much it would help to throw in full range squats. With no break, the instructor pulls us out of a pose, tell us to grab our weights and head to the middle of the room for combo work.
The best way that I can describe combo work is to ask a question. Have you ever done the Jillian Michael's 30 day shred? Combo work is like the first section of that, the longest (3 minute) section. So it is combining some leg work with upper body work. I typically use 3 lb weights myself, and have definitely walked out of there sore SEVERAL times.
Next up, seat work. This varies from class to class, as we can do it at the barre or the work is performed on the floor on mats. It definitely depends on the class, which I appreciate. Recently, in my last few classes, the instructors have stepped it up a notch, and I feel like I have stepped up to the challenge. After seat, we do core, using a core ball frequently. This core is definitely super intense and has led me to step up the core work that I do in the evenings.
At the end of class, a few stretches with long holds and we close the same way we open. Three deep breaths.
Things to keep in mind
Barre 3 is the most yoga focused class that I have taken at the barre. There is more stretching in this class (a few in between every section of the class) than I have done at the others, and because that is what I struggle with, that is what makes this the best barre class for me.
Have you been to Barre 3? Let me know if you have questions!