6 Reasons You Need to Try BarreArticle posted in: Fitness
There’s a reason ballerinas have beautiful figures and it all starts with the moves learned at the barre! Combining basic positions from pilates, yoga and ballet, the barre workout is a fun and invigorating fitness craze available at many studios and gyms. At the ballet barre you’ll lengthen your arms and legs while moving your body in precise isometric movements to strengthen everything from head to toe.
While many studios might claim to be true barre, the lines tend to blur between what is and isn’t authentic barre. Some workouts may incorporate choreography, music and even cardio, but not all barre is created equal. Many classes also tend to utilize different floor exercises, free weights and, of course, balancing at the barre. While you should choose any class you feel comfortable with, know that true barre does not have any type of prolonged cardio or dance involved.
In a barre setting, you will focus on strength training, endurance and flexibility through small, incremental movements. Barre is appealing because the pace tends to be slow and mild, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be feeling the burn afterward! These dynamic and diverse workouts might just be the best way to complement your current fitness routine, so find out why there’s no reason not to give barre a try!
Here are six reasons why you should incorporate barre into your life:
1. You’ll strengthen and tone your entire body.
The uniquely concentrated movements involved in a barre routine are going to stretch and strengthen muscles you didn’t even know you had. Each muscle group will be put to the test at different intervals including the arms, abs, thighs, glutes and back. In Fitness Magazine, Senior Master Trainer of Pure Barre, Shalisa Pouw, explains that “by strengthening each muscle group thoroughly, you are not only creating amazing definition, you are also strengthening muscles that are often underused and underdeveloped.” Continuing regular barre workouts will help you develop that a lean, sleek dancer’s body!
2. You’ll have better posture and reduced back pain.
Instructor Pouw goes on to explain that while every part of your body gets thoroughly worked during barre, your core is the real superstar for the duration of the class. While you’re at the barre lengthening your legs, elevating your butt and extending your arms, your core is working hard to keep your body stable and balanced through it all. A weak core is often the culprit of your body’s slouchy stature and subsequent back pain. After you are done your balancing act at the barre, you’ll notice the benefits of being able to sit straighter and stand taller–which takes pressure off your lower back.
3. You’ll increase your stamina to benefit weight loss.
The focus on strength training can make your other workouts and time spent away from the barre more effective. That shaking feeling you experience while holding each position and stretch means you’re increasing stamina and endurance. This will enhance your performance during other everyday activities and workouts, allowing you to work harder for longer without feeling fatigued. The strength training that occurs during barre will also help you burn more calories while you’re inactively restoring muscle. Founder of Barre & Soul, Andrea Isabelle Lucas, asserts in The Huffington Post that “a well-led barre class can burn hundreds of calories both during the workout and at rest due to increased muscle density.”
4. You’ll engage in mindfulness.
The subtle, small and sweeping movements you perform throughout a barre routine will help you tune in to what your body is doing. Mindfulness has been said to play a role in helping people succeed at their fitness goals due to the acute sense of awareness and concentration it creates. It’s a no-brainer that focus enhances performance, so when you really pay attention to each movement, you’ll know how to improve and challenge yourself as you go. This increased mind-body connection you get from the languid barre exercises can be a nice change from cardio and other fast-paced activities, according to a study conducted by Dutch scientists at Utrecht University.
5. You can do barre your way.
The great thing about barre is there are many options out there, so if you aren’t ready to put on your metaphorical pink tutu just yet, you can start by trying barre at home. Barre classes are generally mildly-paced and great for beginners or anyone who wants to get back into the swing of working out (summer is coming). You can keep it simple and wear yoga pants and a tank top or any type of form-fitting workout gear. Don’t worry if you don’t master the moves right away, or you feel your body shaking; you’ll need to build up strength and teach your muscles the moves before you start balancing like a full-blown ballerina. Whether you want to do it alone at home—and get lost in that mind-body connection—or grab your girls and hit up a studio, barre can be what you make of it!
6. You’ll gain confidence and grace!
While you might not be pirouetting out of the studio right away, you will leave barre class with an emboldened sense of your body—which can be empowering and even sexy. Once you’ve mastered every tuck and plié, you might notice you have a more intimate appreciation for your body and what it can do. With your lengthened limbs and strengthened core, you’ll be sure to leave barre walking tall with your head held high. Defining your body and improving your flexibility will give you the confidence to move with elegance and glide with grace—like a true ballerina!