Barre, a fitness regimen inspired by ballet, has recently garnered a lot of popularity. It’s an effective full-body workout that focuses on isometric movements and helps to burn fat and tone muscles. Great for anti-aging, barre fitness also combines elements from dance, yoga, pilates and strength training. It centers around high reps of small range movements while incorporating a ballet barre (a prop worn during workouts to stay steady).
A lot of emphasis is put on low-impact,high-intensity movements that are designed to strengthen and tone your body. Occasionally other equipment is used too besides the barre like hand weights, exercise balls, and resistance bands. The workouts are conducted in groups at specialized barre studios.
Barre was created in 1959 in London by Ballerina Lotte Burke. She combined her ballet barre routines with her rehabilitative therapy after she injured her back. Thus a new form of exercise was created. In 1959 at her West End basement, she opened The Lotte Berk Studio. Her student Lydia Bach introduced the class to the United States. In 1971, she opened the Lotte Berk Method studio in New York City.
The studio operated until 2005. The instructors from the studio went on their way to find major barre studio chains like the Bar Method and Physique 57. Barre’s popularity quickly rose. By 2015, Pure Barre alone had more than 300 studios in the United States.
THE DIFFERENT BARRE CLASSES
There are several different barre classes to choose from. Let’s look at some of them.
- Pure Barre: The most popular and successful barre establishment, it originated in Birmingham in 2001. It’s a low impact full-body workout where you can expect to see results very soon. It effectively targets the thighs, hips, butt and abdomen. Pure barre will improve your metabolism so you can expect to lose weight effectively without a diet change.
- The Bar Method: This is the safest barre exercise out there. It is an effective low impact workout. It ensures proper body mechanics and the use of proper modifications courtesy of it being designed with the help of physical therapists. You can modify the moves according to your comfort. The bar method is perfect for you if you have an injury.
- The Dailey Method: Created and founded by Jill Dailey in 2000 in San Francisco. It has several different types of classes like basic barre and interval training. A lot of emphasis is put on the neutral spine so that you can have a better posture and alignment.
- Cardio Barre: It is a full-body high-intensity workout that combines elements from Ballet, Contemporary Dance, Strength Training and Pilates. It is great for toning, sculpting and stretching your muscles. Cardio barre is very challenging, so expect to have sore legs!
- Barre3: Unlike most other classes, Barre3 isn’t closely tied to the Lotte Burk Method. It was created from yoga philosophy and borrows from a lot of other different fitness forms. It combines strength conditioning and cardio. Barre3 utilizes both small and large range movements to completely burn out muscles.
The benefits of Barre
Anyone Can Do It
When you hear that barre fitness is inspired by ballet, you might be immediately thinking about complex moves and intricate choreography. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a professional dancer to do it. It is very beginner-friendly and anyone can do it. The instructors are very helpful and will provide ample modifications to the moves that are best for your fitness level. This means that anyone can try out barre. Whether you’re a little kid, an 80-year-old grandpa or a pregnant lady, Barre classes accept everyone.
Low Impact, Low Risk
Barre workouts are a low impact workout. This means that there will be no pressure on your joints. You’ll be sweating, but not struggling. People who do these workouts tend to have a better commitment compared to people doing high-impact workouts as it’s easier to stick to Barre. We all know the deal and better commitment equals better results. The low impact nature of barre means that you won’t have to worry about injuring yourself. There are no sudden or unnatural moves involved, so if you have back, knee or shoulder problems then barre is a great option for you. The low-risk aspect of barre makes it particularly attractive to pregnant and old people.
Improved core strength
In barre workouts, your core muscles are being constantly used. This makes barre the best core workout. Each isometric movement targets even the tiniest of muscles that may get ignored while doing crunches. As you work on your core, your endurance will increase which will help you to hold tougher positions. A stronger core will lessen the chance of an injury, improve your strength and stability, take the strain off your back and improve your posture.
Improve your flexibility
A very important component of overall fitness is flexibility. Barre workouts will greatly improve your flexibility as classes focus on both flexibility and strength. All barre fitness classes have some form of attentive stretching. Moves can range between a simple twist to a full-blown split! You’ll see a gradual improvement to your flexibility if you stick to your schedule.
Keeping a straight spine is very crucial to barre moves. So, doing barre workouts will improve your posture. Being constantly aware of your posture in class will make you more about your posture in real life. The stronger core that you will achieve through barre classes will also help with your posture. You can finally say goodbye to slouched shoulders. A good posture will make you appear more confident and you’ll be standing a little taller.
Barre workouts will help you achieve toned and sculpted muscles. You can expect to quickly burn fat and sculpt your body thanks to the small micro-movements. The isometric movements in barre also target smaller muscles that often get ignored. You can finally say good-bye to tight muscles. Barre workouts target almost every muscle group in the body. Expect to work on multiple muscle groups at once. Barre targets slow-twitch muscle fibers that are used in endurance activities. Because of this, you will get stronger. Regularly hit barre classes to attain more defined muscles and wear better-fitting clothes.
If your goal is to quickly burn fat and lose weight, then barre is a great option for you. The classes will improve your metabolism and build lean muscles. Lean muscles burn fat while you’re in resting mode.
It’s an amazing rehabilitative exercise
For people who want to introduce themselves to full body workouts after surgery, injury or pregnancy, barre classes are an amazing option. The fitness level is low impact so you can slowly adapt your body by frequently exercising to get yourself ready for harder workouts.
Convenient classes and amazing instructors
The classes typically only last for an hour. You might think that’s not long enough to get great results, but trust us, it is. The time spent at the classes is utilized to their fullest. You’ll always feel accomplished after a class (and also very sore!). You won’t feel like you haven’t had a good enough workout. The time spent at the classes is well spent and doesn’t take up your entire evening.
Barre studios also employ amazing well-trained instructors. A major advantage that the instructors have is that their workout regimes are very similar compared to other different fitness programs where regimes might differ from instructor to instructor. This prevents confusion among the trainees.
The instructors will do a great job motivating you, will adjust your moves depending on injuries as best they can and have a personal connection with you so that you can really bring out the best in you.
It’s Fun and Interesting!
Building muscles and burning fat might be great and all, but the best workout is one where you can have fun! The different barre classes provide a lot of variety so you’ll never get bored. Even classes tend to change things up every few months to keep things fresh. You can go at your own pace and constantly rev up the challenge. The instructors are very helpful and will try their best to make you feel comfortable. In Barre fitness classes you’ll groove to upbeat music while performing endorphin-pumping moves.
However, Barre does have its downsides
It’s very pricey. Gym, yoga or even actual dance classes tend to cost much less. A month of unlimited classes can cost up-to around 200 dollars. You can try to get the most bang for your buck by purchasing an annual pass, but not everyone has that amount of money to drop at once. It can be a pretty risky investment. Their stores are very attractive (and expensive!) and will definitely make you want to buy expensive clothing. Be mentally prepared to pay steep prices for workout clothes.
You may get bored
Even though different classes provide variety and they tend to change their move sets, things can get pretty boring for you as the sessions are structured the same way. you might also feel like you aren’t challenged enough. Despite the instructors motivating words, you may feel like you’re not pushing yourself to the limit anymore.
Schedule and Waitlists
It can be pretty difficult to find a studio near your location that has class times that are convenient for you. There is a very good chance you’ll be put on a waitlist when signing up as classes are usually jam-packed.
It’s hard to do at home
A lot of people love working out at home or when on trips. Unfortunately, these types of workouts are very difficult to do at home. The workout equipment is very specialized and it can be pretty difficult to practice without the right tools. An instructors guidance is very important as barre workouts are very unique. there are online courses and DVD’s that you can buy, but they’re very expensive and you’ll miss out on personalized modifications.
Overlooking the cons, Barre workouts are really fun and effective that will help you become lean and toned
Who is the author?
Stephaine Ferland is an ex gym trainer whose main goal is to help people achieve their desired fitness level by doing effective exercises. Recently she started a small blog, where she writes about different exercises and shares fitness tips.