Say the name Barre Bee Fit aloud and it sounds a lot like the too-skinny doll with a pink convertible and permanently pointed toes. But that couldn’t be further from what this rapidly expanding Chicago-based brand is about.
“We’re re-appropriating the word, creating a new generation of bad-ass barbies,” says Jillian Lorenz, who created the company with partner Ariana Chernin in 2010.
How? They pair small-muscle barre exercises with cardio and big-muscle moves from other workout genres—like cardio kickboxing or Tabata intervals—creating more intense, dynamic classes that build strong bodies. (i.e. Have you ever seen kettlebells at a barre studio before?)
There’s also a semi spiritual edge that’s SoulCycle-esque, with dark classrooms and a pre-set lighting system that changes in sync with the playlist. So far, the brand has 12 locations in seven cities, but they expect to have a total of 30 studios by the end of 2014.
In case they haven’t made it to your town yet, we asked them to create a workout you can do at home that will give you a taste of their style. Try this Interval Barre workout—which combines barre toning and HIIT. Mood lighting is on you. —Lisa Elaine Held
(All Photos: Barre Bee Fit)
1. Plank to Frogger Squat
Start in a full arm plank, gaze 6–8 inches in front of fingertips, shoulders pulled back and down, hands directly under shoulders, navel pulled toward the spine, hips slightly tucked. Step or jump forward with feet on the outside of the hands and come into a squat. Seat is low, back is flat, gaze straight ahead. Repeat for 30 seconds, as fast as you can while maintaining good form.
Start in a full arm plank. Drive right knee to the outside of the right elbow and replace, then drive left knee to the outside of the left elbow and replace. Repeat for 30 seconds, as fast as you can while maintaining form. Engage obliques to drive the knees out to elbows.
You’re going to hold it for 30 seconds. Here’s how: Hips slightly lifted, hands directly underneath shoulders, energy shooting out through the heels. Gaze and neck are long. Drop to the fleshy part of the knee for a modified version, pointing the toes and pulling the heels into the seat.
Wide Second Plie
Start with the feet out wider than the hips. Sink down low, until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Your knees should be directly over your feet in this position. From here:
1. Pulse down for 30 seconds. This should be a tiny movement. Keep the hips slightly tucked, tailbone pointing toward the floor. Draw the shoulders back and down and pull the navel to the spine.
2. Wrap the knees back for 30 seconds. This movement is coming from the glutes and inner thighs, not the knees. Stay low and keep the gaze long; don’t let the head drop.
3. Pop and drop for 30 seconds. Staying low in the wide second position, pop onto your highest heels and then drop to a flat foot.
1. High-Low Punches
Stand with feet wider than hips. Releve onto toes as you punch up to the corner of the room (keep other hand in guard at your face). Squat down low and punch to the bottom corner of the room. Do this for 30 seconds, as fast as you can. Option to add a jump at the top as you releve. (Switch sides after 15 seconds).
Stand with feet wider than the hips, right foot in front and come into a slight lunge. Reach both hands overhead. Drive the left knee up and bring hands down to meet the knee at its highest point. Repeat for 30 seconds, switching sides halfway through, as fast as you can. Option to add a hop.
Stand with feet directly under the hips, knees slightly bent. Hinge forward at the waist, keeping your back flat and chest open. Send the arms straight behind you, palms facing up. Keep arms as straight as possible and pulse them up, getting higher each time. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Start with feet together, legs together. Come up onto your highest releve and then slowly bend the knees and sink down until your thighs catch. Keep the heels high. Back is flat as if you are against an imaginary wall. Shoulders back and down, navel drawn in, slight tuck in the hips.
1. Pulse down for 30 seconds.
2. Squeeze the inner thighs for 30 seconds. This is a tiny motion. Squeeze the inner thighs together, imagining you have a piece of paper between the thighs that you cannot let drop.
3. Tuck for 30 seconds. Engage the lower abdominals and tuck the hips up, and then bring them back to your starting position. Stay high on the heels, gaze in front of you, shoulders back and down.
1. Speed Skaters
Start in a lunge position with the right leg forward. Bring the left hand down to touch by the right foot. Then switch, moving as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Bring the back knee low to the ground each time. Keep the back flat and chest open.
Start seated with your knees bent, feet close to the seat. Bring your hands down behind you with the fingers pointing toward your feet. Raise up, engaging the seat and core. Straighten the right leg and reach the left fingers to the right toes. Switch. Repeat as fast as you can for 30 seconds.
Come to a seated position, legs together, knees bent. Engage your core and roll back so that your spine forms a C shape. Bring the hands into prayer and slowly twist to the right, return to center, and twist to the left. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Bring the heels together, toes about 6 inches apart. Rise up to your highest releve and then drive the heels back together. Really push the heels together in this position to engage the inner thigh.
1. Pulse for 30 seconds.
2. Wrap the knees back for 30 seconds.
3. Tuck for 30 seconds.