If you are interested in improving your conditioning for marathon running, cycling, athletics, or even just everyday life, you might want to look into taking a barre classes. But what are barre classes?
To sum it up, barre classes are a mix of Pilates, dance, yoga, and functional training all rolled into one unique and music-inspired session that helps sculpt, slim, and stretch the entire body. The classes offer different sessions with the use of mini-balls, small hand weights, and other items that pump up the energy level and zone in on targeted areas of the body. The main focus of barre is to improve your lower body, and develop strength and flexibility from the ankles through the calves, knees, thighs, and glutes.
Is this the first you are hearing of barre classes? The idea of the exercises dates back to 1959 when ballerina Lotte Berk created it in her London basement after suffering a serious back injury herself. Berk, a German dancer, found a way to pair dance conditioning with rehab therapy, opening up a studio that year. Berk even helped the likes of Hollywood icons Joan Collins and Barbara Streisand improve their conditioning during her training sessions.
A few years later, it was brought to the U.S. by one of her students, Lydia Bach. It took until 2010 for the idea to really take off, which was sparked by the release of the hit movie Black Swan starring Natalie Portman. Barre has also experienced an uptick in users because it can be viewed online and includes the use of minimal equipment for those who prefer to workout at home and not in front of a class of followers.
So, what are the benefits of taking a barre class? Here are 10 reasons the unique exercise class just might be for you.
10. Good for All Levels
With the majority of barre being about increasing flexibility, instructors know every single person taking part is going to be at a different level. This helps break new people in rather quickly because you can take each move and slow it down. Nobody has to be as flexible as a ballerina when they start the program, as each session will help you get to a new level of fitness.
9. You’re Never Too Old
With barre incorporating mostly just the human body, you don’t need some crazy exercise contraption to take part. Also, with lighter weights being selected for certain stretches and exercises, anyone – regardless of their age – can complete the session.
If you are dealing with a physical disability, you can have the exercise plan changed to work around that and towards improving other areas of the body.
8. Keeps the Joints Healthy
One of the biggest issues with full-on workout sessions is the strain and pressure it puts on your joints. Sure, building muscle is wonderful and is usually what you want to do, but it can come at the expense of your ligaments and tendons. Barre helps increase those areas and doesn’t put as much stress on the others. An improvement in your core strength and posture will also help build muscle with other routines.
7. Keeps You Mentally Involved
Sitting on a stationary bike can be extremely boring, as it is just you and the bike for miles upon miles. That’s not what barre is. With a constant beat of music and movement, you are guaranteed to never get bored in a barre class. The ability to mix up the sessions and workouts will also give those that love taking classes every day the chance to see something new.
6. Quick Results
If you are frustrated by working out and not seeing results, barre will change all of that. The improvements might not be all that noticeable to the outside world, but you will see an increase in flexibility, posture, and strength in key areas, such as abs and thighs, after just a handful of sessions. And we all know that by seeing results, you’ll want to keep working out more and more often.
5. Barre Will Help You in Other Areas of Athletics
While you might not become a ballerina, the use of barre will help you in just about every other sport you might compete in, whether it is basketball, baseball, football, wrestling, or an extreme sport such as snowboarding. By becoming more agile and flexible through barre, you will see better results on whichever field you choose to play on.
4. It is a Complete Workout
Lifting weights will give you bigger muscles, but it does little for anything else. Cardio exercises improve conditioning, but don’t help you become a more flexible athlete. Barre does a little of everything to improve your entire body. The classes will leave you exhausted from head-to-toe, working all the key joints, ligaments, and areas in between.
3. Better Back Means Better Life
If you haven’t experienced back discomfort at some time in your life, consider yourself lucky. Most have thrown out their back, turned in an awkward way, or lifted too much at least once. With a better posture and core strength, you can not only improve the condition of your back, but better yourself for more workouts moving forward through both barre and other activities.
2. Exercises Your Body and Brain
Grabbing a hand-weight and doing reps doesn’t take much thought. Same goes for running laps on a track. Those can help you better your body, but they do little for the mind.
Each barre class is made up of many different movements put together in order to exercise more than just one area of your body. It takes a lot of brain power to grove to the beat and keep up with the instructor, all while taking into consideration your limits as you go. Barre not only helps you exercise physically, it’s also a mental workout.
1. The All-Important Weight Loss
Unless you are working out to improve your already great physique, the point of hitting the gym is likely to lose weight and inches. Barre will do that if you combine it with a few other key elements. Pairing the use of barre classes with a healthy and well-balanced diet can help you shed those unwanted pounds. It also moves weight to the correct areas of the body, meaning a loss of inches in the waist and thighs.