When you first hear of the term “barre3,” it’s easy to presume that it’s some sort of adult ballet class. Well, as the ballet barre does play a big part in the workout, you’re partially correct in this assumption—although you could be missing out on so much of what the class has to offer. Women’s Health sat down with three ladies behind barre3 Philippines: managing director Tanya Tan, fitness manager Joie Viado, and trainer Darcy Harding to find out more about this workout that’s got women in Manila abuzz.

What exactly is barre3?
The “barre” in barre3 refers to the French term for the ballet bar, while the “3” is a symbol for balance. In barre3, we aim to have more strength, more flexibility, and more stability. But beyond that, barre3 extends to your self as a whole. It’s about balancing your body, mind, and life.

Barre3 is also a hybrid of three exercise disciplines: yoga, ballet, and pilates. In a vigorous 60-minute workout, the ballet barre is used as a prop to create equal length and strength in the body. Props like balls, mats, straps, and weights are also used to intensify your workout. Each class takes place on a cork floor that helps support your body and spine, and follows a sequence blending the grace of ballet with the strength of Pilates and the wisdom of yoga.

What can you get out of barre3?
Barre3 will help you develop the length of a dancer and the strength of an athlete. You will be able to work on toning, improve your muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility. Those who keep at barre3 notice that their bodies start to change. Their arms are more defined, they lose inches at their waist and all over—and they even lengthen their bodies.

Also, a barre3 workout will leave you feeling energized, not exhausted. Plus, the positions you learn and benefits you gain help you feel stronger in your everyday life. It’s very functional—so you can easily translate what your pick up in the studio to your daily routine.

How are these benefits achieved?
In barre3, we try to engage all the small muscles of the body instead of focusing on the big ones. We fatigue a muscle with repetition and a small range of motion and within that, we develop a lean, strong body. It’s all about waking up your muscles. The postures lengthen and integrate your whole body and strengthen your core. The props like the barre or the straps help you achieve the proper positions when doing the exercises so you activate the correct muscles. By listening to the cues of your trainer, you can also disengage the wrong ones.

(First published as "Raising The Barre" in the "Get-Fit Tricks” section of Women's Health Philippines' September 2010 issue. Photo by Kai Huang. Adapted for use in Female Network.)

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