The perfect combination of dance and workout, barre has undeniably become the buzzword among health and fitness enthusiasts today. Named after the waist-level horizontal bar used during ballet exercises, barre takes elements of the dance and infuses them with elements of Pilates and yoga to create a holistic and invigorating workout that shapes and strengthens muscles, making them leaner and more flexible. Let’s take a look at what makes barre more challenging than other workouts, and how it can give you greater satisfaction than most other routines.
What barre is
Barre was developed by ballerina Lotte Berk in 1959 as a therapeutic response to her back injury. Because it originated as a form of therapy, barre is a low-impact exercise. Instead of making big movements found in high-intensity interval trainings (HIIT), barre focuses on small yet impactful gestures. It consists of isometric exercises that target even hard-to-reach muscles using various equipment like balls, light dumbbells, resistance bands, and the barre itself.
An effective barre workout challenges your body, but doesn't push you past your breaking point. In our BeatBarre class, we guide participants to do 8-16 repetitions of muscle and muscle group isolations using the co-activation model, where two or more muscle groups are activated simultaneously to avoid strain on the joints. We also challenge you use the barre for making a wide range of motions that you may not usually do, especially if you spend most of your day sitting down.
Essentially, the focus of barre is the body--how it moves, how it reacts to music. We take this principle seriously, so we make workout modifications based on your fitness levels to produce a workout that will keep you focused, challenged, and safe. The music also changes every few weeks, so you can keep discovering how your body syncs with different beats and rhythms.
What it is not
Knowing what barre isn’t for should help you manage your expectations about it. If you’re looking to lose weight quickly, then you will need to take aerobic and cardio exercises alongside your barre workout to see drastic changes. After all, barre is designed for muscle toning, not for weight loss. Also, it may take several sessions before you notice the results, because building and toning muscles take time. The results do wonders to your physique, however, and the more muscles you build, the more your metabolism speeds up, allowing you to better manage your weight.
Another thing to note about barre is that, while the routine itself is accompanied by music, it is not a dance workout and you do not need prior dance background to perform the routine. At NeatBarre, we believe that only rhythm you have to match in the exercise is the rhythm of your own body, because you may interpret the music differently from others.
How do we know that it’s working?
Barre isn’t aimed at making you lose weight, so you can stop worrying about the number on the bathroom scale and look out for other indicators that show you are getting the most out of the workout.
The first thing that you should notice is the “burn.” If you can feel the targeted muscles going taut or getting stretched during the routine, and there’s a fine heat radiating from them, then your body is being shaped the right way.
Some barre exercises may also cause your thighs and calves to shake uncontrollably, a clear indication of muscle fatigue. Barre is relentless on the muscles; it asks you to hold difficult positions for relatively long periods of time. But as your body gets used to the workout, your pain tolerance gets higher, and you may find yourself shaking less or later into the routine.
Barre works slowly but steadily, and your efforts will never betray you. Before you know it, you will feel the difference in the way your body moves: you become stronger, more flexible, and have greater endurance. And since barre is rooted in dance, you may even just develop the toned and sculpted body of a dancer.
C2 Pilates offers beat barre classes that are “hard on muscles, soft on joints.’” Will you dare to keep challenging yourself? Sign up for a barre class today.