By Richie Goff
After suffering a running injury in January, I’ve been more than ready recently to dive back into effective, diverse physical exercise. Keeping the repercussions of my injury in mind, I knew I needed a workout that could deliver high results but with lower impact. After a little hunting, it looked like Barre3 was just the place for me.
I decided to check it out for myself recently, and upon my entering, the staff greeted me warmly in the lobby. After I find the cubby I need to deposit my shoes in, owner Nikki Naseef introduces herself with a wide smile and sets me up with some light hand weights, a towel and a space at the barre. She asks me if I have any injuries (yes) and assures me I can make any necessary adjustments. “This is your class,” she says, which is one of the many mantras she reminds us of over the next hour.
The room fills to capacity by the time the class begins, and each person takes their space at the barre. Nikki dims the lights, turns on the music and we begin our warmup. Breathing deeply, we reach our arms to the ceiling and back down, steadily increasing our pulse. Dropping down into a squat, we place our hands on our thighs and stretch in a Sumo Twist, while Nikki gets us into the zone by reminding us to be present in the moment. After a series of sumo squats to work up a sweat, the real work begins.
First, we concentrate on our legs. Standing with our feet in a V, we squat down and raise up to the balls of our feet and hold. Holding a position is one of the basics of Barre3; it ensures proper alignment and gets the muscles firing. We then start our small range of movements, performing 1-inch dips to cause muscle fatigue and help recruit our core muscles to stabilize us. Shortly in, my quadriceps are shaking, which I am assured is a sign that I am getting a proper workout. From there, we move into the large dynamic movements like side lunges to flush out our system and increase oxygen intake.
After working more on our legs by doing isolations in carousel horse and crescent lunge (yoga poses are used frequently throughout), we work through movements to engage the gluteus maximus. “Grab your butt!” Nikki instructs, “It’s yours!” Though I stop more than the rest of the class to give my shaking legs a break, Nikki’s encouragement keeps me motivated. Starting a set of burpees, I am happy to be moving big.
Finally, we transition into core work on our mats, placing our Barre3 Core Balls under our upper backs, leaning over it and crunching up toward alternating legs. More than three quarters of the class has flown by in a whirlwind of squats and toning arm work with our light hand weights, and it’s a relief to be laying down.
The remainder of the class is spent cooling down and stretching, performing poses like cat-cow and child’s pose. Nikki reminds us again to let go and meditate on our body and the work we’ve done, and though I know I will be sore later, I am utterly relaxed.
Barre3 is a complete workout for all levels of fitness. Nikki’s passion for the Barre3 way of life rubs off on everyone she meets; she pushes you to be the best possible version of yourself. Though my legs were still quivering by the time I walked out to my car, I’m glad I bellied up to that barre. VT
2400 Frankfort Ave.