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TESTED: The Barre class that burns

Ballet-inspired bar workouts are a lot tougher than they sound, says Alexa Tucker who tested the new BarreBurn at super chic Equinox gym

When I got on board to try Inside Out Barre at Equinox, I walked in expecting a mildly challenging, relaxing workout. I’d done one bar fitness class before, though it was about a year ago, and that’s what I remembered from it.  I went into it expecting it to be like yoga—tough, yes, but interlaced with increasing flexibility and calming the mind.

But the main thing it had in common with yoga was a shared studio. This class was hard.

Inside Out Bar at Bar

Inside Out Barre was held at Equinox, the swanky fitness studio in Kensington (also where Emma did her Whipped class.) When I walked in, the super-fit receptionist told me she’d done the class four days earlier and was still sore—that was my first sign that my Sunday workout wasn’t going to be as lazy as the rest of the day. However, it was a treat just to go in the gym. It’s full of beautiful spaces, beautiful machines, and beautiful people. There was even a fresh smoothie bar and a shop. I love a gym where I can indulge in some retail therapy post-fitness therapy.

Inside Out Barre involved elements of flexibility, but on the whole, it was a strength workout. We used equipment including hand weights, resistance bands, and Pilates balls, but our main tool was, you guessed it, a bar. The ballet bar was attached to the walls of the room, and my fellow ballerinas-for-an-hour and I spent most of our time around the perimeter of the studio. About 20 minutes of the class was on mats.

Inside Out Barre Floor

One thing I really liked about this class was that it actually had elements of ballet. It’s been years since I’ve done ballet classes, so it was a nice reminder of my high school years. The closest some bar workouts get to a dance class is, well, the bar, but this one impressed me. The instructor had us doing grand-pliés, battement glissés, and ronde de jambs mixed in with serious tests of strength. I did feel graceful, though, leaning toward the bar and extending my hand over my head—kinda like Natalie Portman in Black Swan, to be specific.

It felt like every part of my body got worked—calves, abs, obliques, arms, chest, and back, plus the two parts of my body that are killing me today: my inner thighs and my glutes. The stairs up to Healthista towers were especially challenging this morning.

The receptionist may be right—I might still be recovering by the end of the week. But, that’s how you know you got a good workout.

The monthly membership fee at Equinox is £183 (plus a one off initiation fee of £150).

Or, try Barre Burn (it’s the same thing as Inside Out Bar–the bars are just portable rather than fixed to a wall) out for free at Be:Fit London on Saturday 29th March (the expo will continue on Sunday March 30th as well) at the Old Billingsgate, London. Visit for tickets.

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