This is a review of the LifeBarre workout class at Life Time coming your way. And it’s about darn time I write this post! I know many of you have never taken this class, but I wanted you to know more about why I love it, and if you make it to the end, I’m sharing links so you can try a LifeBarre class for yourself at home or just listen to my playlists. Woohoo!
Here’s what you’ll get out of this review of the LifeBarre workout class:
- Information on the LifeBarre workout class, including why I love it and why it’s different
- Tips for taking a LifeBarre class, which you can apply to other barre classes
- Links to three LifeBarre sample playlists I’ve created you can listen to at home
- Links to two sample classes to try a LifeBarre class for free at home
I’ve been teaching LifeBarre at Life Time Charlotte for a little more than a year, and it’s about time I dig in and really explain what this class is all about. If you live near a Life Time athletic club, I highly recommend giving it a shot and trying out this amazing barre program (yes, you can only find LifeBarre at the more than 150 Life Time locations across North America or online).
Honestly, I think LifeBarre may be my favorite format I’ve ever taught, and that’s saying a lot, because I’ve taught so many formats over the years as a group fitness instructor in three states. And no other program has challenged me creatively to keep coming up with fresh content either.
What’s the biggest thing to know about LifeBarre? It’s a barre-less barre program done in the middle of the group fitness studio, and that makes it a very different “barre” experience. LifeBarre is the hardest, best and most cohesive barre program I’ve ever taken or taught. It’s a performance from beginning to end, with no break. And it’s full body, for sure.
LifeBarre is a signature program at Life Time, so whenever you go to a Life Time to take LifeBarre, the class will have the same order of sections and framework. But LifeBarre is also a freestyle program, so the individual instructor creates the playlist, choreographs the moves and comes up with the overall vibe of the class.
This is not a pre-choreographed class made up by Life Time. This is a format made up by Life Time, and the individual LifeBarre certified instructors create the moves and music to fit into the framework. I love the freedom to create the moves and music, but I also appreciate the framework to help the class stay consistent and effective.
Let’s get into some more details on this great workout class with our official review of the LifeBarre workout class at Life Time …
Review of the LifeBarre workout class at Life Time
Here’s the official class description from Life Time:
LifeBarre is the ultimate barre body challenge without the barre! Come experience a fun, invigorating, athletic-based class that focuses on conditioning and toning the entire body! Designed for fitness enthusiasts, this Signature Life Time workout blends classical ballet exercises, Pilates and traditional conditioning movements designed to develop muscular endurance, dynamic balance, flexibility and of course, core strength. No dance experience necessary!
What makes the LifeBarre workout so special?
I love this workout! It definitely has a dance-like performance vibe, while being a true fitness class. And it’s totally rhythm-based, so you’re always moving to the beat of the music (which is my favorite way to move). You feel like you’re performing, but you’re also sweating, lifting weights, stretching and getting your heart-rate up, in one continuous workout.
Almost anyone I’ve had attend LifeBarre for the first time agrees that they’ve never taken another barre class quite like it. Also, it’s barre-less, so you have more freedom to use your body, without relying on the barre.
Many LifeBarre instructors are trained dancers. While technically I did take a few years of traditional dance classes and I even danced on my high school’s dance team for a season, I wouldn’t consider myself a super technically trained dancer. I know enough to have some grace, but I have to work at it. But I’m definitely a very well-trained group fitness instructor. And I think that’s why I’ve been able to be successful at LifeBarre — because I make sure my goal is to make it a good/sound workout — with some dance elements — but not so much dance that participants lose the structure, lose or the effectiveness or feel like they can’t achieve what I’m asking them to do. It’s a fine balance.
Who is the LifeBarre class good for?
We say this class is for the graceful athlete. But really, it’s for anyone. Yes, you do need some coordination, but you’ll get better and better every time you take the class, so it’s okay if you start out with very little.
LifeBarre is good for all levels, but it’s not easy, and someone with minimal exercise experience will definitely have to work very hard to keep up and choose modifications. LifeBarre is considered a low-impact workout, but at times, depending on the instructor, there could be some jumping involved. There are always options to skip the jumps though.
I find that it’s mostly women who come to my LifeBarre class, and they love barre, but they also love the feeling of a bigger more and functional workout than you get at many barre-only studios. We see a lot of former dancers, barre lovers and people who want to incorporate weights into their workouts, but don’t want to lift heavy or lift alone. Overall, it’s a mixed bag of attendees, and I love that.
How many times a week should you do a LifeBarre workout class?
I think that this class is best done one to three times a week, with something different in between. I teach two LifeBarre classes a week, and I would totally be fine fitting in a third, if I could.
While you’re not using heavy weights in LifeBarre, you are working muscular endurance, so it’s likely ideal to have a day off in between LifeBarre sessions so you don’t develop overuse injuries, and you give your body a break and time to recover. But there are also so many helpful elements to this class, and it’s not just about beating your body down, it’s also about building your body up.
LifeBarre falls into the fusion/mind-body category on the group fitness schedule, if you’re in the industry and know that lingo. That means, it’s not a HIIT or high-intensity class, but dang — you will work!
How long is a LifeBarre class?
These classes are either 45 minutes or 60 minutes. If I teach a 45-minute class, it’s a full 45 minutes. If I teach a 60-minute class, it’s usually just a bit under 60 minutes, depending on the playlist. I happen to love teaching the 60-minute class, and it’s one of my most popular classes that I teach per week too, with a waiting list of attendees every Tuesday.
What equipment do you need for a LifeBarre class?
This depends on the instructor and the workout plan, but you almost always need a set of 3-pound dumbbells, 5-pound dumbbells, a mat, a mobile barre (just a single pole you can use to help hold posture during some movements), two purple gliding discs and a red Pilates ball. Sometimes you’ll need more of this or less of this, depending on the class plan for the day.
What are the benefits of a LifeBarre class?
LifeBarre is a mixture of strength, cardio and flexibility. Each class helps to improve strength endurance, increase flexibility and stability and enhance cardio fitness too. I like to say it’s a mix of ballet, Pilates and athletic conditioning combined into one. So you’ll definitely get all three of these benefits in a single class:
- Cardiovascular endurance
- Muscular endurance
- Active stretching
Based on what I’ve been hearing from participants is that they feel more mobile, they feel stronger, and they just feel more happy after a LifeBarre class. Now that’s awesome.
What type of moves do you see in a LifeBarre class?
A big variety of traditional exercise moves and some more ballet-like moves too. You’ll see plies, releves, squats, lunges, curtsy squats, lateral lunges, planks, bridges, bicep curls, tricep extensions, push-ups, downward dogs, arabesques, attitudes, crunches, leg lifts, Pilates single-leg stretches and more. I love that you can be doing a graceful leg lift in one track, then a squat thrust with dumbbells in another. There is always some pulsing, but there are also some larger moves.
In addition, the gliding discs are a unique aspect, and I love using them in my LifeBarre classes. You can put the gliding discs under your feet or hands, and this adds an element of resistance on the effort and return. A gliding disc lunge is different from a regular lunge, and you’ll feel that instantly.
What’s great about LifeBarre is that although the instructor will teach the class so that someone with no dance experience can be successful, the instructor will also throw in technical dance/ballet terms to heighten the experience. You’ll hear tendu, plie, passe, etc., but you’ll also get a regular description of that move so you can really get it and know, with the technical term and the everyday term.
What is the format of a LifeBarre class?
While the moves and music will be different depending on your individual instructor, you can always count on a 45- or 60-minute LifeBarre class to follow this framework:
- Plank challenge
- Cardio burst
- Standing upper-body strength
- Standing lower-body strength
- Standing full-body strength
- Cardio burst
- Gliding discs
- Mat work or core work
- Cooldown and stretch
When I first started taking LifeBarre as an attendee, I loved the fact that it flowed from section to section so seamlessly (which is something instructors do intentionally, by choreographing transitions and equipment changes, once again, without a break). There is no official break in this workout, as it’s a continuous performance, so that means it’s action packed from start to finish. The class is actually broken up into seven sections, but for your purposes, I’m separating them as they appear above, which is the correct order.
You always know you’ll hit cardio twice, you always know you’ll have a plank in the warm-up, and you always know the mat/core work comes right before stretch. It’s great to know what to expect, even if the music and moves will differ per instructor.
What type of music do you hear in a LifeBarre class?
The music in a LifeBarre class is totally dependent on the instructor. But the framework of the class calls for upbeat continuous music, ranging from 130 to 135 BPMs.
While I think some instructors may used premixed music (from FitRadio, etc.), I know all the currently teaching instructors at my Life Time create our own playlists through Spotify. I prefer it, and it makes it a better experience when every single song has been hand-picked for the workout and choreographed.
It’s fun to choose music! I absolutely love to make my playlists for my LifeBarre classes, and it takes a very long time to create a playlist. Even before I do the moves, I choose the music. I shared more about how I make my playlists in this post and even shared a sample playlist there as well. The music truly drives the workout, and I try to make my playlists a complete story from warm-up to cooldown.
To make my playlists, I use Spotify, and I make sure each playlist has great variety in genre. I use a lot of dance, pop, Latin, and even some country songs remixed with an EDM beat. And I’ve had plenty of people compliment my playlists, so they are a source of pride for me. As is the entire workout, because I also spend a ton of time selecting the moves and choreographing them exactly to the beat of the music and fitting within specific sections. It’s a huge undertaking, and I’ve created about 13 LifeBarre workouts over the last year, usually teaching one for about a month before moving on to a new one. Sometimes I feel like I may run out of ideas, but somehow, the ideas keep coming.
Sample LifeBarre playlists for you
Here are three LifeBarre playlists I’ve created, which you can listen to for free on Spotify, because I wanted to throw something special into this review of the LifeBarre workout class:
What other workouts does a LifeBarre class compare to?
This is a great question, and it’s not easy to answer. And it’s actually what got me hooked on LifeBarre is that it’s so different from other “barre” programs. It’s bigger, it’s more movement, it’s more cardio, it’s more functional, it’s more dance, it’s more everything. And it never stops, because the class continues from the moment the instructor hits play, until the final bow (because yes, every class ends with a final bow).
There is nothing boring about LifeBarre, and a lot of other barre programs can be considered boring. You’re not standing at a barre the whole time, you’re not pulsing in tiny movements the whole time, and you’re not only using your bodyweight.
I’ve had a few members say that LifeBarre most reminds them of Barre3, which is a studio barre class that does include some more flowing yoga-like movements mixed with on-the-barre work. But I think it’s even better than Barre3. Once again, LifeBarre is its own thing.
Tips for taking the LifeBarre workout class
This workout is done in the bare feet, so I definitely recommend taking off your sneakers to truly experience feeling your body from the ground up.
If you have any foot pain, you can try wearing thick/grippy barre socks, or you can leave your sneakers on if you really need to. I always have one or two people who keep their sneakers on. And if you’ve never done a barefoot workout, you may need to work up to it, maybe do just half in sneakers to start?
For new people …
If you’re new to the workout or have minimal coordination/experience with choreography, you can try doing the LifeBarre workout with your hands on your hips, mostly. I always suggest that new people focus on getting the movements in the lower half first, then adding the upper body, once they’re ready. Of course, during the upper-body portions, you can do the arms. But otherwise, get those feet moving properly before throwing in the arms.
For everyone …
Remember that this workout is all about muscular endurance, not heavy strength. I recommend keeping your weights light, and getting full range of motion. Sometimes I see people picking up weights a bit too heavy for the upper-body portion of LifeBarre and trying to muscle through it. It doesn’t need to be heavy. And another thing: If you’re new, even the 3-pound dumbbells can be heavy, so never be afraid to put them down and just do the arms as bodyweight in the upper-body portion.
Range is everything in this class, as is posture and positioning. You really need to listen to the instructor, glance at yourself in the mirror and be sure that you’re focusing on the right position. It’s important to keep the torso lifted, shoulders back and when you bend your knees, they should always bend in the direction your toes are pointing. I would totally suggest grabbing a moment with your instructor before or after class one day to get some help with your positioning, just to make sure you’ve got it right. Also, as you advance, get your hips down lower in the second position plie position, and boy you’ll feel it.
And don’t worry about being perfect in the more dance-like sections. There’s no such thing as perfect. I often tell my class to “make this move your own” when we get to the more flowing parts, so they remember that. Have fun, let loose, make it yours. That’s why you’re there.
I can’t tell you how much I love to look out at a full class of sweaty faces with people just getting into it and feeling the moves in their body in their own way. It’s a beautiful thing. (Of course, in the more structured strength portions, you want to keep it more precise, but in the dance/cardio, you can be more free.)
Finally, build in the breaks as you need. Once again, this class really doesn’t have a break, so you may need to pull back, here and there, towel off, grab a sip and hop back in. That’s totally fine. Also, stay for the cool-down, no matter what. You need that final stretch, and you deserve that final bow.
How to try a Life Barre class for yourself
I couldn’t write a review of the LifeBarre workout class at Life Time without telling you how you can actually try the workout, right?
And here are two sample online classes, both from really skilled instructors. These are not high-quality videos, but the content is good. Give these a try, if you want an example of LifeBarre. But know that taking it in person is way better, for so many reasons.
You can also look into the Life Time digital membership, which I haven’t personally tried, but I’m sure it’s top notch, so you can access this and other Life Time classes at home anytime. You can find the Life Time digital membership here.
Overall thoughts to conclude my review of the LifeBarre workout
Yes, I may be biased, because I’m an instructor of the LifeBarre program. But this is my review of the LifeBarre workout, and it’s my favorite barre workout ever, and I look forward to teaching it twice a week with my people at Life Time Charlotte. If you ever have a chance to visit a Life Time, you’ve got to try this class in person. You will feel the difference, and you’ll be hooked.
This workout brings joy to everyone who attends, and it can make a non-dancer feel like a dancer. Sometimes you can be totally taken away by the movement and music coming together, and you almost forget how hard you’re working.
And for those of you who want to know about calorie burn: I’m the instructor, so I may burn a bit more calories than my participants just due to talking/coaching, but I typically burn about 450 calories for an hour LifeBarre, which is incredibly high for a barre workout.
By the way, if you want to know more about my music and moves, I can get into that one day, just let me know. Otherwise, have a wonderful day and stay moving, friend. And thanks for reading my review of the LifeBarre workout class at Life Time. Be well!
(I’m wearing these leggings in these photos.)
P.S. Come say hi on Instagram!
Other posts you may like …
- Review of POP Pilates workout and class
- How to make your next barre class more effective
- How to create a playlist for a workout class + a barre class playlist
- How to schedule your week of workouts
Questions of the day for you …
Have you ever taken a barre class?
Have you ever been to a Life Time?
What’s your favorite way to work out right now?