Benefits of Barre Classes
When you tell a friend you are going to Barre, they might ask which one. Their response is usually a joke about you going to a bar…not a barre fitness class. This is barre with a -re, like a ballet barre. But this isn’t a ballet class either, no dance experience is required and there won’t be any actual dancing in most. So, what is a barre class like? It is a combination of ballet, yoga and Pilates inspired moves put together to create a total body and low impact workout that is appropriate for all fitness levels. The actual barre (a handrail fixed to a wall) is used as a tool for balance for some of the moves during class.
What Are the Classes Like?
Barre fitness uses exercises that focus on isometric strength training (holding your body still while you contract a specific set of muscles- think holding a squat position) combined with high repetitions of small movements along with full range of motion movements. There are different variations on barre classes, but most will use light handheld weights for some exercises, most will use the barre as balance for some moves, and most will also do some exercises on a mat. A traditional barre class will strengthen your arms, abs, glutes, and legs. Each barre class is designed to be a full-body, muscle endurance workout and will start with a warm-up and end with a cool down that consists of stretching. Typically, the class is broken into different sections that each focus on a particular major muscle group including the arms, legs, glutes, and core.
Let’s talk more about those high repetitions of small movements that are the cornerstones of barre workouts. It may look easy when you watch someone else doing very small movements, but when you do these exercises yourself and correctly, you will feel like your muscles are on fire and they will probably shake! If your muscles shake, it’s a good thing! It is one way to show that you are fatiguing your muscles which means they will get stronger. If you get to the point that you feel the shake is uncontrollable, take a moment and stop. Grab a sip of water and stretch out the muscles in question then jump right back in when you are ready. Even people who are barre class regulars deal with shaking. The more regularly you attend class, the less intense it will become.
No need for heavy weights to feel your muscles burn. Barre will strengthen your muscles using just your body weight and light dumbbells. This is how you build strength, muscular endurance, and long and lean muscles. The more you do it, the easier it will feel because you will get stronger!
Who Should Try a Barre Class?
Because barre classes are low impact, at a slower pace and don’t involve heavy lifting, they are a great option for many people. Barre is very beginner friendly and can be adapted to many different ability levels. Don’t get frustrated if you don’t feel like you get it after one class. Classes can move quickly and use muscles you haven’t in a while, but don’t give up. You will get the hang of it after a few more classes. As with any new workout, your body will adapt, and you will learn the basics which will make you feel more comfortable as you stick with it.
No dance experience is necessary. Some feel that traditional barre classes are more like a Pilates class.
Barre is great cross training option to pair with other exercises like running, weight lifting or cycling, because they strengthen the muscles needed for those exercises in a different way.
What Should I Wear to Barre?
Typically, it is suggested that you not wear shoes during a barre workout since you will need to flex and point your feet and come up on your toes at certain points of the workout. Socks or socks with grips on the bottom (to keep your feet from sliding) are helpful to bring and wear during class. Wearing form fitting clothes is helpful for your instructor (and you) to check your form and correct if necessary. If you feel more comfortable in a loose t-shirt and sweats though, wear that! Wear what feels best for you and that you can move in.
What Are the Benefits of Barre Fitness?
By now you’ve learned that barre classes strengthen your muscles. They also improve your balance and posture, boost endurance and increase your flexibility. Many of these things can also promote weight loss or weight management as well if partnered with good nutrition.
Not only does barre strengthen the muscles that are used to maintain good posture, focusing on your posture in class will help bring your attention more toward it in daily life as well which will make you feel and look better. Strong posture is essential for balance and improves your form in class which means you’ll be less prone to injury and be able to perform all kind of exercises more effectively.
Any workout has plenty of mental health benefits along with the physical ones. This is true for barre classes as well. Barre can be a great stress reliever and many of the moves promote lengthening and stretching the body which can feel great after a long day or prep you for the day ahead.
What Should I Expect to Hear in Barre Classes?
Barre classes can have their own lingo. Here are a few of the things you may hear in a barre class:
Tuck, Tuck your Tailbone or Heavy Tailbone - To do this, draw your abs inward and roll your hips under (forward) slightly to create a neutral spine. This position promotes core engagement.
Neutral Spine - A position held with the back perfectly in line from the tailbone to the spine to the neck and head
Pulse – Moving a part of your body up and down in a tiny, repetitive motion.
Down-an-inch-Up-an-inch - A one inch range of movement in a slow, controlled motion. Slightly larger than a pulse, smaller than a full range of motion.
Feet Parallel - This is a stance where the feet look like the number 11. Usually, the feet are placed together or hip-width apart and parallel for a barre position.
First Position – This is a stance with your heels touching and your toes apart. If you gaze down, your feet should make a ‘V’ shape.
Posture - In a standing position, proper posture is ears over shoulders over hips over heels.
What Types of Barre Classes Does LivRite Offer?
LivRite Fitness offers three types of Barre classes; Intro to Barre, Barre and Barre Beats (check your location’s schedule to see its offerings Not all classes available in all locations).
Intro to Barre is perfect for beginners. It starts with a warmup and focuses on basic strengthening and flexibility movements completed in a slow and controlled manner.
Barre Beats is comprised of a warmup, low impact cardio moves and strengthening movements mostly not using the barre but on a yoga mat and choreographed with music.
The Barre class has a warmup and series of movements designed to strengthen and tone your body. Light weights may be used as well as exercising by the barre and on the mat.
Check out the class schedules for each LivRite location.
Barre fitness is great for everyone, whether you are new to working out or are a frequent gym goer. Prepare for a total body workout and to feel your muscles shake!
Topics: LivRite News