What is it? Barre3 is a low-impact, group exercise class that draws from yoga, Pilates and ballet for an hour of all-in-one cardio, strength and mindfulness. This variant of barre was founded by nationally known fitness guru Sadie Lincoln, who later franchised the workout. Lincoln created it after suffering injuries and burnout due to overexercising, so there’s a focus on listening to your body and on proper form. Barre3 in Edina is the only Minnesota franchise.
What it’s like: Co-owners Lucy Gardiner and Morgan Wolfe like to mix up the moves in the classes they teach, so no two are exactly the same. The class I tried, taught by Wolfe, had a 10-minute warmup to build heat and raise the heart rate a bit, followed by a series of moves targeting quads, glutes and hamstrings.
Each exercise starts with an alignment check-in and a hold to fire the muscle, then builds in repetition. We plied, squeezed a squishy ball with our inner thighs and did something called a split sumo, a squat that gets the entire leg burning. Next we focused on the upper body, using weights for bicep curls with lunges, tricep presses with squats and lifts targeting our lats. That was followed by a cardio burst in the form of burpees (minus the jumping) to get the blood pumping and balance our previous smaller, slow movements with bigger, faster ones.
Then, we turned to the barre to do pushups and used round sliders on the floor to work our glutes and legs again before moving to mats for bridges and the yoga boat pose to strengthen the core and build spinal stability. “Welcome those shakes and quakes,” Wolfe called out as we finally collapsed on our backs for the end-of-class “stretch and breath,” which lasted a full 10 minutes.
The back story: Gardiner, 28 and Wolfe, 29, grew up in Edina and have been friends since childhood. As a kid, Gardiner wore a back brace for five years for scoliosis, ultimately getting surgery at age 15 to fuse 10 vertebrae to stabilize her back. Through high school, she continued as a runner and hockey player, but after college began to have knee and joint pain from those activities. When she discovered Barre3 a few years ago, she found that it mirrored lessons from her years in physical therapy. “My passion is spinal stability,” she said.
Wolfe competed in dance line and later taught fitness classes. In her early 20s, she said, after years of pounding workouts, “my feet and knees were destroyed.” She needed a low-impact, effective exercise that she could adapt for her own body. So when her longtime friend Gardiner introduced her to Barre3, she got hooked. At first, she did the workouts at home. Eventually, the two trained extensively in Portland, Ore., the home base for Barre3. They opened their studio about a year ago.
Who it’s for: The age range in the class I took was from 20s to 70s. All the students were women, although Gardiner said several men, including her husband, Jake, a defenseman for the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team, also take classes there. I’m moderately fit and found the workout challenging, but manageable. (I took easier modifications a couple of times.) Students are encouraged to find what works for them and adapt the class for what they need.
Who it’s not for: People who don’t like group, dance, Pilates or yoga classes.
Would I go again? Yes. The moves were accessible, the instruction clear and the exercises effective. I got plenty of “shakes and quakes.”
Cost: An introductory offer gives you two weeks of unlimited classes for $49. Drop-in classes are $24 each, and package deals can drop the price to $18 per class. The studio includes a babysitting lounge for $5 per child. Registration is recommended for the lounge — and class — to ensure a spot.
Info: 2952 W. 66th St., Edina; 612-353-4535; barre3.com/edina