Last week Sadie Lincoln, the vivacious, engaging creator of barre3, visited New York City to lead workouts for press and prospective franchisees. (Got $200K to start one?) Lincoln has lately become a media darling as word spread that the Portland, Oregon, fitness dynamo is Madonna’s newly anointed trainer. (She’s not the kind to sweat and tell.)
While in New York, barre3 borrowed the Baryshnikov Arts Center, a stunning rehearsal and performance space. If Lincoln has her way, barre3’s signature cork-floored studios with childcare in the lobby will soon arrive here. “I’d love to have a studio in Tribeca,” says Lincoln, who learned how to operate and franchise businesses at 24 Hour Fitness, the largest chain of health clubs worldwide, and how to create fitness programs at YogaWorks.
At first, I was unclear about how barre3 would differ from the tide of Lotte Berk-inspired barre workouts like the Bar Method, Physique 57, Core Fusion, and the Nalini Method. But Lincoln’s background provides the answer: She’s been doing yoga since age 5 (her mom’s a yogi) and worked at YogaWorks, where she was influenced by Iyengar practitioners Annie Carpenter and Julie Klienman. “In the last seven years I discovered my own personal practice,” says Lincoln, who also created YogaWorks’ popular BarWorks class.
Lincoln’s Iyengar background translates into an obsession with proper alignment—and props. Lincoln makes avid use of a rope, a ball, and a mat in class.
Yogis will recognize the Chaturanga-style pushups at the ballet barre, bridge pose (with a ball between their knees), and boat pose in their Pilates roll. Pilates inspired Lincoln’s approach to core and mat work. “The type of Pilates I love uses a neutral spine, working from the inner body,” she says, because she feels it’s the best way to maintain postural alignment.
“Everything we do in life emphasizes forward flexion—walking, running, sitting, riding a bike. Barre3 works from the heels, so we get into the back of the body and really work the gluts and hamstrings,” she explains. That’s a big point of difference from the tippy-toe and tucked-pelvis posture encouraged at Lotte Berk–inspired workouts.
With yoga being such an obvious inspiration for barre3, will Lincoln borrow from yoga’s more affordable price point—closer to $20 a class? Or charge the going rate for NYC barre classes at about $35 a pop? It’s too soon to tell. But Lincoln wants to make the workout accessible, even in New York. “I always reward clients who commit to a regular practice,” says Lincoln. And I’ll do that in any market.”