Have you always wanted or admired a dancers body? Now you can have one without being a ballet dancer. Although the fundamentals of Barre have been around through ballet dancing, these fundamentals have not been available in a work out class for non dancers before Barre class. Now the lean, flexible and toned body you have always desired is available.
So, what is Barre?
You may just be hearing about Barre class and Barre workouts now, but they have been around since 1959 when an injured ballerina by the name of Lotte Berk opened her first studio in London. The class first appeared in the United States in 1971.
These days Barre is not just for dancers, it is for anyone interested in fitness, lean muscles, flexibility and muscle tone without the bulk. The class claims to lift your butt, tone your abs, arms and thighs, and burn fat—in record time. Particpants of Barre claim to lose inches in just weeks.
The class is a combination of dance, yoga and pilates. The main difference being the use of a ballet bar for targeted muscle toning and core work. The isometric contractions that make up most of the class are the key difference between Barre and other workouts because the muscle tenses without lengthening. These movements help isolate and develop very specific muscles.
A typical class starts on a mat on the floor with a warm up, planks, pushups and maybe some light fre
e weights. Then the class moves onto the bar where you will engage in a series to strengthen your legs and gluten and finally, you will move into your cool down. A typical class lasts one hour and you will be spent by the end!
Most people wear clothing that is comfortable to move in and allows for great range of motion. Leggings are recommended. Remember that you will be a working hard so do not over dress. Footwear varies from class to class so check with your studio before your first class. Some studios recommend barefoot with others recommend a special gripping sock to avoid slipping.
Pure Barre, the most popular studio in the United States shares this on their website about the technique:
“In just 55 minutes you will achieve a full-body workout concentrating on the areas women struggle with the most: hips, thighs, seat, abdominals and arms. The Pure Barre technique is low-impact, protecting your joints by avoiding any bouncing or jumping. Each strength section of the workout is followed by a stretching section in order to create long, lean muscles without bulk. The technique works to defy gravity by tapering everything in and lifting it up!
The concentration involved while taking Pure Barre allows you to block “life” out for the hour, creating the mental benefits similarly obtained by the practice of yoga or meditation. A transformed body and a clear head in just one hour—it doesn’t get much better than this.”