It may look like ballet, but it's not. Barre fitness classes are simply ballet-inspired, incorporating a ballet barre and maybe some plies and pirouettes here and there into the workout. Essentially, barre classes mix elements of Pilates, dance, yoga and functional training, and the moves are choreographed to motivating music. In each energizing and targeted workout, you’ll use the barre and exercise equipment such as mini-balls and small hand weights to sculpt, slim and stretch your entire body.
Barre-based fitness classes have risen in popularity over the past few years, no doubt influenced by those of us wanting to channel super-fit ballerinas like Misty Copeland. If you have a drawer full of leggings and keep a pair of sticky socks in your purse, know that you're not alone.
So why are these kinds of workouts so addictive? The positive feelings—and results—you get from a good barre class are unmatched. Research has shown that long-term ballerinas are more skilled than novices are at tasks requiring fine motor skills. But you don't need to perform at Lincoln Center to see the benefits of barre extend to other parts of your life.
Here's what you need to know what the barre workout is and how you can benefit from it:
1. Target Multiple Muscles At Once
Often times when people visit a gym with the goal of strengthening their body and toning their muscles, they either lift free weights or pump iron attached to a machine. While there are certainly benefits to this type of workout, you typically only work one muscle at a time. In a barre class, however, each exercise targets multiple muscle groups at once. For example, many moves done at the ballet bar will require an engaged core, firm back, tight glutes, and lots of leg movement. You may be holding, pulsing up and down, and stretching all at the same time!
Along with working the major muscles, barre’s small, isometric movements help target the smaller, minor muscles that are often ignored in other fitness plans.
2. It's The Best Core Workout
You read that right: barre is the best core workout. With each isometric movement, you target the tiny muscles that may get ignored if you're sticking to crunches. Plus, by repeating these small movements over and over again, you build up endurance. That means that the more you go to class, the better you get and the longer you can hold tough positions (looking at you, plank).
3. Promotes Endurance
Each barre class includes different types of movements, but most are known for their use of isometric contractions and small isotonic movements. In an isometric contraction, you tighten or contract the muscle without changing its length. Think plank position or those poses where you hold completely still as your legs start to quiver and shake. These contractions utilize slow-twitch muscle fibers that can increase stamina and improve your endurance.
4. It Improves Your Posture
Barre improves your posture because keeping a straight spine is crucial to so many of the movements in class. As Pure Barre notes, "it’s more important to achieve proper alignment of your hips, spine, shoulders and head than to lift your leg an inch higher." By maintaining an awareness of your posture in class, you'll find yourself aware of each time your shoulders slump forward at your desk or while lounging. A stronger core also helps you to keep your back straight, so with every barre class, you'll be standing a little taller.
5. It Helps Your Muscles Work Correctly
Stretching prevents muscles from remaining tight, which could cause other muscle groups to not work correctly. So, not only does stretching in barre increase your flexibility, it also helps your muscles to work correctly.
6. Lost Weight And Inches
Many of the workouts target the largest muscle groups in the body, like the thighs and glutes. The larger the muscle, the more calories burned! As you continue to attend class, you will build more lean muscle mass and raise your resting metabolic rate, which can help you to produce more energy and expend calories. Perhaps more important than actual weight loss, barre classes will help you drop a size by redistributing inches on your body – making you appear (and feel) longer and leaner. If you pair barre workouts with a healthy diet, you will achieve even better results.
7. Rapid Results
Yes, you will be sore after the first few classes, but you’ll also see some major results in little time – so stick with it! If you perform a barre workout 2-4 times weekly, you will typically notice changes in as little as one month. Changes may include an improved posture, thinner thighs, chiseled arms, a sculpted back, flat abs and a lifted seat. Barre classes are incredibly effective at transforming so-called 'problem' areas, especially for women.
8. Promotes Mind-Body Connection
Barre classes challenge you to not only go through the motions of the workout but to focus your thoughts on every tiny muscle you are working. Feel your mind starting to stray? Your teacher will give you step-by-step instructions on where to position your body while also offering hands-on corrections to adjust your alignment.
There’s a good reason why more and more people are trying out barre workouts, and you should give it a shot as well. Soon enough, your body will reflect all of your hard work. In this post, I shared with you what you need to know what the barre workout is and how you can benefit from it.
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