It looks effortless, but barre is an intense workout that will test your muscle strength and endurance.
Beata Justkowiak is into her final trimester and is constantly lying on her back. Being eight months pregnant is not the only reason though; she is usually busy flawlessly executing glute bridges and plies.
These exercises are part of her hour-long barre class, a hybrid workout that combines elements of ballet, yoga and pilates.
“I did yoga and pilates after I got pregnant, but they weren’t intense enough for me,” said the 31-year-old psychologist, who used to do high-intensity interval training before pregnancy.
“I was struggling to find a workout that was kicking my ass,” added the Poland native, who is a Singapore permanent resident.
Barre has since upped the fitness ante for Justkowiak, as she could “feel the burn” although the exercises are low-impact.
She attends prenatal barre classes thrice a week at WeBarre, which has studios in Tanjong Pagar and Telok Ayer. A barre class lasts from 40 minutes to an hour.
Participants engage in controlled, isometric movements that build strength, endurance and flexibility. Light hand weights, ballet barres and mini exercise balls are common equipment used during a session, which is often choreographed to upbeat music.
Each exercise has “layering options”, making it suitable for all fitness levels and body types, said Anabel Chew, co-founder of WeBarre.
From marathon runners to septuagenarian retirees, the 30-year old has seen a diverse mix of clients.
“Everyone can do it because the movements are so easily modifiable,” added Chew.
Barre was originally conceived by German dancer Lotte Berk when she suffered a severe spinal injury in the 1950s. She combined her dance exercises with rehabilitative therapy to strengthen her spine.
It has only recently gained traction in Singapore, with boutique barre studios springing up around the island and big-chain gyms like Virgin Active offering classes.
Barre has also made a foray into the heartland, with classes offered at the Singapore Sports Hub and selected community centres.