Have you seen all the Barre studios popping up around town? Unfortunately they don’t serve alcohol but they do serve up a full body workout that has taken the exercise world by storm. Wondering if Barre classes are for you? Let me help. This post explains everything you need to know about the latest ballet inspired exercise trend.
Barre classes will tone your entire body giving you longer and leaner muscles. So basically you can look like a ballerina without ever donning a tutu.
How does it work?
During a barre class you will be taken through a series of ballet inspired exercises set to music that work all parts of your body. After a warm up, you move into upper body exercises, before doing a series of leg and glute exercises at the barre, and then core and abdominal work before finishing with some light stretches to cool down.
The trick to barre is small movements and repetitions …lots of them. Using
instruments of torture the barre, small weights, yoga bands and balls you squat, lunge, kick, and crunch until your muscles scream for mercy! The exercises target multiple muscles at the same time so you get a whole body workout without needing to spend hours in the gym.
Tell me more about Barre classes?
The classes I take run for about 50 minutes and are held in a small-mirrored studio with a ballet barre running along either side of the room.
Intimidated by group exercise classes? Well you don’t need to worry about that with Barre. The classes are small and welcoming – a maximum of 10 at my studio. The small class size also means that your instructor has plenty of time to help you one on one, so you get the most out of every workout.
What do I wear?
Every girls favourite question. Normal work out gear is all you need. But get a manicure and leave your shoes a the door. Barre is done in bare feet or socks.
Is it hard…
Ummmm, yes and no.
The good news…there is no complicated choreography. If you can squat and lift your hands over your head at the same time, you are practically a barre expert. Barre also caters for all fitness levels. My studio runs beginner and intermediate classes, and offers exercise variations so that you can work at your own pace.
But be warned, the moves may be simple, but it is still a workout. I was under the illusion that Barre would be easy…ballerina’s just glide across the stage looking beautiful don’t they? Well oh my quads…no! This class works the muscles you knew you had as well as the ones you didn’t. Not to mention, I rocked up to my first class with freshly washed hair…rookie mistake! I was sweating before the end of the warm up…so be warned guys your legs will turn to jelly and your hair will be a hot mess- schedule social activities after class at your own peril.
Is there anything else I should know?
While barre will elevate your heart rate and leave you sweating, it is strength focussed, rather than a high intensity cardio workout. So unless your studio offers specific cardio barre classes you will need to find time to combine barre with other forms of cardio exercise to keep your heart healthy.
Is it a keeper?
Let loose you inner ballerina, and give Barre a go. I’ve been doing barre classes for nearly 12 months and it has helped improve my posture and alignment, strengthened my core and increased my flexibility. And most of all its fun! I’m not quite pirouetting out of the studio yet, but I always leave with a smile on my face.
I do classes at KX Pilates in Melbourne, but there are studios offering barre classes in major cities all over Australia and around the world. Check it out!
Have you taken a barre class, let me know what you think!