Break It Down: The Difference Between Barre, Pilates, & Megaformer

I saw a shirt the other day that said “Addicted to Expensive Workout Classes” and nothing has spoken to my soul like that shirt did. I’ve been going to boutique workout classes for nearly 5 years and trust me when I tell you what I’ve been to all of them. At one point I went to a drummer-inspired cardio class with “weighted drumsticks” and another time I was at a yoga class where the mat was a simulated surfboard. Fitness professionals are so creative! But when it comes to known methods of toning and creating muscle there are three types of workouts that are commonly inflated when they are, in fact, very different: megaformer, barre, and pilates.

Related: What is a Megaformer + What Can it Do For Your Body?

I did an entire breakdown of the Megaformer a previous post, but basically, it is a powerful machine that can give you a killer full body workout with low-impact movements. The machine has adjustable resistance via spring-loads and focuses on slow & controlled movements to activate slow-twitch muscle fibers.

The trick is to go incredibly slow. I mean like glacial. You need to spend 8 seconds in each move and actually feel the burn. That’s 4 seconds in and 4 seconds out. I know that may seem like an easy feat, but trust — it’s not. When things get hard or heavy, instinctually we are designed to push through to complete the task, but not here. You need to simmer in the shaking of your muscles.

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Related: The 50 Minute Workout That Does Wonders For Your Body

I go to Sculpthouse in Atlanta which has the T3 megaformer machines that are state of the art. The class is unique because it’s broken up into 22 minutes of cardio on a curved treadmill (so there is no power) and you are on a human hamster wheel and another 22 minutes on the reformer in deep strength training moves. There’s nothing quite like a class like this and it’s transformed my workout routine. Sculpthouse is currently open in Atlanta, Nashville, and Dallas.

Barre on the other hand is a ballet-inspired fitness method that was actually created by physical therapists and focuses on low impact moves that are core heavy with lots of stretching in the middle. These classes often don’t include a cardio component so you’ll have to that elsewhere but can be great for rest days, core days or whenever you need to stretch into your muscles.

Related: Barre Experts Explain How To Dominate Your First Class

Pilates is a practice that’s over a century old and was started in Germany with a man named Joseph Pilates. (FYI, I know a ton of random trivia about Pilates because I took it as a course in college, you’re welcome.) Pilates was created as a rehabilitation technique for war veterans to help recover from injury. Similar to barre, the exercise focuses on your core and how all of your other body movements come from your core. The three principals focus on breath, whole-body health, and whole-body commitment.

Related: Why You & Your Beau Should Work Out Together

I hope this helps clear up some of the misunderstandings around these three amazing workout methods. In college I went to pilates regularly, a few years ago I was addicted to barre, and now I go to a megaformer class 2-3 times a week at Sculpthouse in Atlanta. I love the added cardio component and that I can get both cardio + strength in the same class. If you are located in Atlanta, Nashville, or Dallas check out a Sculpthouse class near you. Use code “SABRINA10” for a discount on class packs!

A big thank you to Sculpthouse for partnering on this post. As always, I only share what I love and thank you all for supporting the brands that keep Simply Sabrina up and running.

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