Updated: Feb 14, 2019
Barre class has a buzz about it, in recent years it has featured highly in the media, taken the US by storm and is advocated by celebrities everywhere who attribute their long lean, sculpted bodies to barre. Though it’s a fairly recent phenomenon with participants attending classes up to 4 times per week, with an almost addictive-like loyalty, it has its roots firmly embedded in the historical dance form of ballet. The fact that it fuses the artistic, rhythmic technique of one of the most disciplined dance forms in the world with the functionality of resistance training, the science of safer body alignment/posturing and the fun of small fitness equipment/mat work; makes it an intelligent form of fusion fitness that aims to give more bang for your buck as each class provides an opportunity to improve:
Heart & lung health
These benefits are delivered over a soundtrack of uplifting pumping music, which is a huge bonus as motivation kicks in just when its needed to get your through the infamous muscular burn of those last few isometric contractions.
So what is it about barre that has us all so curious, and eager to try, or indeed already hooked. Well other than the benefits listed above, perhaps it’s the ongoing testimony that Barre studios tend to breed from a loyal following of students who turn up regularly, see results and keep coming back for more.
Perhaps it’s the desire to work hard and challenge yourself whilst still performing graceful, aesthetically pleasing movements.
Or perhaps it is the fact that it provides one sweet hour of pure mindful movement where you are so focused on your technique, coordination or the burn that you forget everything else and just live in the moment.
Whatever it is that makes barre so alluring and addictive one thing is for sure, it is changing women's bodies and their minds about exercise classes and it is providing us with a fun, alternative way to work out.
All of that considered lets just delve a little deeper into how a Barre class provides the benefits that it does.
Though there are many different types of barre format and teachers will differ on how they design and deliver a class; a Barre class typically consist of the following elements:
Arms and upper body resistance training
Barre: plies, battement etc.
Cardio (at or away from the barre)
Small equipment (balls)
Core & mat work
The class structure and content is so beneficial because it focuses on full range of movement to improve functional strength, joint mobility and muscular flexibility as well as the static isometric and small contractions (that barre is well known for) that make you shake, feel the burn and sculpt your body whilst also improving muscular endurance.
Some barre classes will include a cardio segment where your heart rate and breathing rate increases and your cardiovascular and pulmonary systems receive a workout.
This can include both low and high impact options so participants can opt in for a modified version of a movement or a harder progressed version. Options mean that participants can protect joints that are unstable, vulnerable or healing or adapt to protect other conditions wherein high impact movement should be cautioned such as following pelvic organ prolapse or during early postnatal recovery and some pregnancies.
So, the overall benefits include the potential to transform your body and level of fitness as you sculpt your entire core, arms, legs, bottom and feet-providing, a workout from head to toe.
What’s also great is that once you have the basics covered you can fine tune your technique from head to toe for each movement allowing you to continuously progress and see more results.
Oh, and did I mention that though it’s based-on dance technique, no experience of dance is required? Like all other movement-based classes a good instructor will coach your through all of the technique to ensure that you are carrying out movements safely and effectively.
So, if you enjoy graceful movement and want to have fun whilst achieving an effective workout that will realign, rebalance and retrain your body then perhaps a barre class is for you.