Barre Exam

For those fitness fans who have found barre’s dance-inspired workouts great for tush toning but thought they lacked sweat-inducing power, consider giving them another try; besides their undeniable ability to sculpt and tone, barre classes at some Fairfield County studios have evolved, giving routines a little more cardio oomph.

Don’t take our word for it. We checked in with the owners of three popular studios for the head-to-toe breakdown on how taking a stand at the barre can invigorate an overall fitness routine.

Yes, the typical barre routine involves intense isometric moves that sculpt the lower body, but some studios’ signature workouts also dig deep above the hips with, say, demanding push-up sets and weights to transform arms, backs and shoulders. “We start with an upper-body sequence,” says Christina Schwefel, owner of Go Figure in Greenwich, Darien and New Canaan. “We pride ourselves on muscle activation and engagement to make movement more effective for every part of the body.”

For barre buffs who prefer to sweat, Laura Laboissonniere, owner of Pure Barre in Darien, Westport and Fairfield, suggests Pure Barre Platform, a fifty-five-minute class that combines bursts of high-intensity cardio with lower intensity muscle-sculpting sequences and classic barre postures to fire up the metabolism.

The Bar Method in Fairfield has added Bar Move, a workout, co-owner Caitlin Giambalvo explains, designed for cardio cravers. This fast-paced class offers a little less stretching and a bit more focus on lower body sequences designed to elevate the heart rate.

Still, our experts say sweat isn’t a requisite for barre routines to work wonders. “What’s important to understand … is that you burn fat at a lower heart rate; our clients can see incredible changes without having to be dripping in sweat,” says Giambalvo.

Studios have also added specialty classes for specific fitness needs to meet demand. At The Bar Method, forty-five-minute Bar Express classes were designed to offer a top-to-bottom workout in less time.

Go Figure now offers post-natal classes for moms and babies (up to age nine months). “This class is an opportunity to learn about postpartum abdominal health and some of the frequent imbalances we see in the months after childbirth,” says Schwefel. “Not to mention it’s [so] adorable to plié with your little love looking on.”

For students who were drawn to the barre for all its classical dance references, Go Figure has plans to offer ballet-inspired workouts this spring. “Ideal for all levels, this class will be like an adult ballet class and will leave clients feeling flexible, elegant and graceful,” says Schwefel.

If you have other workout loves, consider barre as part of your fitness repertoire. “Yoga is an excellent complement for Figure Method, as it allows for more opening of the body and lengthening of the muscles,” says Go Figure’s Schwefel. Laboissonniere says many of her studios’ clients who take running and spinning seriously, use Pure Barre classes as a complement.



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