Barre classes and studios have been popping up all over town. Barre3, Pure Barre, The Bar Method, online classes, and each gym has its own rendition of this new way to exercise. Visit any barre studio’s website and you’ll find plenty of appealing promises: “Develop long, lean muscles.” “Sculpt a ballerina’s body.” “Improve balance and enhance flexibility.” “Reshape your body and lose weight.”
While you may not achieve all of the above, here are five benefits to adding a barre class or two to your exercise routine.
1) Anyone can do it: Everyone has different starting points, strengths and challenges, and a good instructor will recognize that. Modifications for any exercise are readily available. If you are worried about not having any ballet or dance training, rest assured that you don’t need it. Plus, each person can be challenged at his or her own level in class without affecting anyone else’s workout.
2) Barre’s tiny movements can help you get stronger: Tiny motions, many reps, intentional squeezes and pulses (otherwise known as isometric contractions) are designed to fatigue muscles to failure. If taught and done correctly, this is a good thing. Embrace the shaking if you can, as it’s totally natural for your muscles to quiver uncontrollably – it means you are exhausting that muscle.
3) You’ll improve your mind-body connection: The smaller movements in a barre class can bring about new levels of awareness to the body that you don’t get in other classes and workouts. As you move through class, pay attention to the muscle(s) you are working.
4) It’s a full-body workout: Each class is designed to work your entire body in an efficient way. You’ll find you are often doing two to four movements at a time — holding, pulsing, stretching, for example —in each move. Every class works with both the upper and lower body, as well as specific focus on the core.
5) Barre is kind on the joints: The small, super-controlled movements that take place in barre classes, with mostly body-weight-only exercises, are kind on your joints, and are a little more difficult on your muscles!
In short, barre classes are a great addition to any workout. If you find them fun and motivational, add a class or two to your weekly mix. These classes, in addition to regular cardio and strength training, do a body good.
Check out Flow’s Barre Schedule here.