Ever on the cusp of innovation, Equinox recently unveiled yet another twist on traditional fitness with the launch of Trilogy Barre. Think you know barre? Think again: This fusion workout blends barre philosophy with pilates and functional movement for a full-body experience unlike anything else on the market.
Nicole DeAnda, Equinox veteran and national barre manager for the company, drew from her past experiences with dance and pilates to develop the new program, which officially launched at the River Oaks studio February 1. By the end of the launch the class will be available in 25 Equinox gyms and currently boasts wait lists for every session. Each class lasts 55 minutes and accommodates 13 to 20 clients depending on the studio.
As the name suggests, the trilogy barre workout utilizes three bars instead of the traditional one or two found in other gyms and boutique studios—but that’s not the only difference. “The bottom bar is really what sets this program and all of our programming in the future apart,” says DeAnda. “It’s opened up a multitude of other options from a movement repertoire standpoint.” Furthermore, it incorporates resistance training thanks to an exclusive band system, which can be anchored to the three bars at different points during the class allowing for correct line of pull and muscle targeting thanks to the customized height accommodations.
Finally, says DeAnda, this class is a lot more functional than a classical barre class due to the range in motion it incorporates. “We’re in all planes of motion: we’ve got back body, front body, side body. So your heart is elevated a little bit [and] even though it’s not cardio you still get that feeling like you’re a little breathless. In a typical barre class, you get that quiver [in the muscles]. In this class we don’t have the quiver we have what we call the smoldering burn. It starts to build and it lasts.”
In other words, instead of holding a position for at least three minutes resulting in constant muscle tension and full failure and fatigue, as is typical in classical formats, trilogy barre moves through exercises at a much quicker pace—no more than 16 counts per repetition—for a burn that doesn't cause your muscles to just tap out.
DeAnda adds that though it is a full body workout, she didn’t want clients to feel like one muscle group was overworked; instead, she hopes they wake up the next morning feeling more supported and aware of their posture thanks to the comprehensive routine. “[It is] definitely a conditioning class,” she says. “The ultimate goal is to look toned, to feel lifted, to feel supported, to have a strong core. You’re definitely going to feel those effects. So just like I would always say with pilates, that long and lean look but still very forming and tight. You can see the lines in the arms, the abs.”
Whether clients are new to barre in general or just new to triology barre, DeAnda encourages coming with an open mind and willingness to try new things. Though terminology may sound familiar, the rest of the class is beyond compare to classical formats. “It’s all new movement to the barre crowd because even though introducing resistance in the barre world isn’t necessarily a new concept the way in which we’re doing it is,” explains DeAnda. That means virtually everyone is new and client makeup is getting more diverse as a result. “I think it really draws a different crowd,” says DeAnda. “The barre people really like it but if you’ve never tried barre before it’s actually a great way to jump in because it is a lot different. We find a lot more men taking this class because it’s a lot more athletic and not as balletic.”
For newcomers, DeAnda stresses that there is no need to feel intimidated regardless of skill level, though ability to be rhythmic does help since movements are set to the beat of music. Body awareness is another plus, though of this can be learned if someone is dedicated to consistency. Listening to form and muscle cues plus accepting tactile feedback from the instructor will reduce the learning curve and help everyone move forward more quickly. And just as with any other fitness class, breaks are encouraged and clients are welcomed to pause at any time to gain balance or drink water and then jump back in. That said, due to the quick bursts of each movement, it is imperative that injuries are reported and discussed prior to class so that the instructor can offer modifications before the class begins Not doing so can lose the client valuable exercise time. “I really wanted to create a class that felt accessible even though the movements might be intricate at times or require a lot of balance at times they’re also simplistic in nature so you can really build your strength, your stamina, your balance in this class.”
DeAnda recommends attending classes three times a week for maximum benefit, with the assurance that steps will feel more familiar and natural with experience. To make things easier, the class remains the same for at least 4 weeks, giving clients time to adjust and improve before components are reconfigured or replaced. The 55 minute classes are broken up into about five blocks, each of which target a specific muscle group such as upper body, chest and back or lower body, quads and hamstrings. As skills progress, instructors can then help clients focus on improving specific elements like perfecting nuances of their form or increasing resistance from the starter level one gray band to the more intense black band; overtime clients can toggle between the levels for various movements for an extra customized experience.
Of course, no workout routine is complete with just one component and DeAnda recommends clients include diversity to ensure a holistic approach to fitness. This means adding in true cardio and strength training along with yoga or pilates to assist with flexibility and balance. Taken all together each branch of the fitness tree will bring unique benefits for a comprehensive workout routine that’s fantastic barre none.