A combination of ballet and pilates, barre promises a long and lean physique. Here’s our ultimate guide to this full-body workout and the best barre studios in Singapore
This fitness craze hit Singapore a few years ago and it’s holding its spot as one of our favourite workout routines. Named after the rail that ballet dancers hold for stability during practice, barre (pronounced bar), combines dance, yoga postures, pilates matwork and strength training for a dynamic, full-body workout. First up, here are the need to knows before we hit the best barre studios in the city…
Barre is a legit workout
There’s a myth that barre is easy and you don’t sweat. This can’t be further from the truth – even beginner barre classes will get your heart rate pumping. And if you want to take things up a few notches, there are plenty of barre HIIT workouts for you to choose from. Unconvinced? Consider this: Ryan Gosling is famously known to go for barre classes to stay in shape.
But anyone can do it…
On the other end of the spectrum, some people are afraid to start because they think that it’ll be too difficult. Well, it’s doable as long as you select the right class for your fitness level! There are classes for beginners (no dance or advanced fitness background required) and even pregnant ladies (it’s actually a great way for expectant moms to stay in shape). So hey, if a woman who is 9 months pregnant can do it, we’re sure you can too.
That said, there will definitely be some challenges when you’re starting a new fitness class. For barre, you’ll probably have to get used to some ballet lingo that instructors use, including ‘first position’ (there are five basic positions in ballet) – heels together, feet outturned; ‘plié’ – bending the knees outward; and ‘relevé’ – rising up on your toes. But don’t worry, your instructor will explain and demonstrate the poses, especially for a beginner class.
Let’s talk about that ‘barre body’ :
Gym buffs tend to be barre skeptics, thinking that you cannot build muscles with these workouts. Yes, you can, though the muscles that you tone and build with the barre method differ from what you get from pumping iron at the gym. Barre uses small, controlled movements that target and isolate specific muscles with repetitive exercises. This is more tiring (and more effective) than you think – someone who works out with a 10kg barbell at the gym might only use a 1kg weight in a barre class – no kidding.
These isometric exercises are also the reason why many people turn to barre to build long, lean muscles for the widely-coveted ‘dancer’s body’. And we can see why – a dancer’s physique tends to be elegantly and lean, with an impressive posture. Plus, lean muscles are beneficial for everyone, including increased metabolism and flexibility.
Best of all, barre is as fun as our other boot camps (like spinning classes and pole dancing) thanks to the high-tempo soundtracks that often accompany the workout. Ready to start? Check out our guide to gyms and studios in Singapore with the city’s best barre classes.
The new kid on the block, The Barre Lab is the brainchild of founders, Breathe Pilates and Yoga Lab. So expect the best barre classes – three types to be exact – a 101 class that teaches you the basics of barre, a signature session and a stretch class focused on toning and lengthening your major muscle groups. Enter the beautiful pastel-themed studio and transform your body, one barre class at a time.
Barre Lab, 60B Duxton Road, Singapore 089524
With an extensive list of classes to choose from (that’s over 100s of classes for you) it’s safe to say that your workout will not be a snooze fest at Virgin Active. Pick from three barre classes – Bbarre Less, a fusion-style dance workout that combines classic floor barre moves and core conditioning, the dance-inspired Booty Barre Plus that alternates muscle-toning movements with fat-blasting cardio techniques and Les Mills Barre, a 30-minute ballet-inspired programme that combines cardio and strength training with modern music.
Virgin Active, various locations including Raffles Place, Tanjong Pagar and Holland Village
Always wanted the poise of a ballerina? Be a regular at Upside Motion’s Xtend Barre classes – the workout combines ballet and pilates techniques for a fast-paced cardio workout which hones in on smaller muscle groups. Designed to strengthen and lengthen the body from top to bottom, the workout uses an array of props like weights, straps, balls and resistance bands. Don’t sweat it if you can only squeeze in a lunchtime workout; the studio also offers express, 45-minute Xtrend Barre seshes.
Upside Motion, Studios in Cityhall, Shenton and Orchard.
At Singapore’s first boutique barre studio, the Webarre workout is a one-stop shop – it melds ballet techniques, yoga, pilates and strength training. Newbies are recommended to try the Fundamentals class which offers an intimate setting and a slower pace, while avid bootcamp-ers can opt for the Webarre HIIT class which pushes limits and torches calories. Otherwise, the Signature Multi Level is great for the average workout-seeker.
Webarre, studios at Tanjong Pagar, Telok Ayer, Clark Quay and Dhoby Ghaut.
This pilates studio offers Core Barre workouts on top of the selection of pilates classes, which isn’t a stretch considering that barre incorporates elements of the former. With the instructors’ knowledge of deep muscles and mobility, train your balance, posture, flexibility, and most of all your core strength – that’s what gives you abs – at this strengthening barre class.
Options Pilates, multiple locations including Orchard and Dunearn Road
Although focusing on yoga, Jal Yoga, also gathers pilates, ayurveda and barre under one roof. The barre classes hone in on improving your range, precision and grace, all in a stress-free session. Classes are designed for all fitness levels so there’s no need to worry about seasoned practitioners raining on your parade.
Jal Yoga, #01-03A, 991 Alexandra Road Singapore 119964
Called to the Barre
This boutique barre studio at the east coast is all for fun and energetic sessions with small groups to ensure you get the most out of your class. So if you’re planning to jump start that fitness regime or if you’re an expert who’s looking to diversify and challenge yourself, you know where to go.
Called to the Barre, Level 2, 420 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427641
If you’re looking for quick results, the BarredAmped class promises leaner and more chiselled results fast with the combination of small movements and a ton of mental concentration. The Mixed Levels class is recommended for all; newbies will learn to move with good posture and form while regulars have the option of more challenging modifications. For a unique class experience, the Barre+Yoga combines the restorative conditions of the former, and the high-energy tempo of the latter.
Barre2Barre, 42a Hongkong Street, Singapore 059681 (above Vasco Bar)
Como Hotels and Resorts’ spa experience, Como Shambhala was designed to provide a holistic and meaningful healing environment for guests. Part of this experience involves fitness – barre classes at this luxury location on Orchard Rd is one of the best, with a focus on precision and technique to achieve optimum results with a high energy, low impact routine for all levels.
Como Shambhala, 402 Orchard Road #06-01/02, Delfi, 238876
Wings to Wings
Wings to Wings’ location near the CBD scores major points – it’s perfect for lunchtime calorie-burning and energising for tired office workers. Using low-impact strength based exercises involved the barre, matwork and props, the whole-body workout features targeted muscle series to trim and tone. We’re also big on the personalised training here. Enthusiastic instructors make it a point to specifically point out necessary corrections to postures, so you’ll always be doing it right! Take note: if you prefer showering after your lunch-hour workouts, go for a gentle stretch class that won’t make you sweat. No shower on site yet!
Wings to Wings, #03-06/07, OUE Downtown Gallery, 6 Shenton Way, Singapore 068809
This studio may specialise in pilates, but make no mistake: it’s a mean competitor in the field of barre. Founded by professional dancer and classical pilates instructor, Andrea Rogers, Xtend Barre was created as an extension of pilates – Rogers wanted to infuse challenges in coordination and rhythm into the multitude of benefits from the original workout. A stellar exercise combined with the cosy confines of the studio (which, FYI, overlooks Orchard’s lush green trees) can only spell relaxing and rewarding workouts.
Sky Pilates, Forum Office Tower, #09-01, 583 Orchard Road, Singapore 238884.
For a high-energy, low-impact workout, try Lifespark Studios’ Piloxing Barre class. Using a ballet bar and lightweight gloves, the workout involves both strength and cardio exercises to tone muscles, blitz calories and improve joint health. Instructors are regularly raved about for being patient, inspiring and attentive in checking your form and flow.
Lifesparks Studios, 1A Aliwal Street, Singapore 199894
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