- 7 Things I Wish I Had Known Before My First Barre Class
- The Beginner’s Guide to Barre Class
- 5 Things to Expect from Your First Barre Class
- #Fitgoals: 5 Reasons We Could Spend All Day at Life Time Athletic
- They’re overachievers in the best way possible.
- They hit the road with you.
- You never fly solo.
- You can find your zen no matter what mood you’re in.
- Unwinding is just a few steps away.
- Want more Pure Barre posts? Check out these posts!
- What to Wear to Barre Class Broken Down from Head to Toe:
- Shop What to Wear to Barre Class Here:
- Barre 101: 5 Things to Know Before Your First Barre Class
- 1. What to Wear to Barre Class
- 3. Don’t Be Afraid to Shake
- 4. Realize You’re Working New Muscles
- 5. Head Back to Barre Class Within 48 Hours
- Barre vs Yoga vs Pilates: Which Is Right for You?
7 Things I Wish I Had Known Before My First Barre Class
By Ariana Marini, Special to Everyday Health
If you follow fitness trends, you’ve probably heard about barre, a ballet-inspired workout that sculpts your muscles (even if you’re far from a ballerina). The workout focuses on very small, isometric movements combined with stretches to lengthen muscles. During a barre class, you’ll often be switching from moves done at the barre to Pilates exercises, and sometimes to yoga poses.
If you try it, you’ll have a newfound respect for ballerinas everywhere — it’s tough. I went into my very first class knowing very little about barre other than that it’s a hot trend in fitness right now. Here are seven things I wish I knew before walking into my first barre class:
- Think small. In barre, you have to focus on very small movements. Your instructor may ask you to move just an inch. “Small movements and isometric movements allow you to directly target the muscle and area that you are toning,” says Hollis Morris, an instructor and studio manager at Pure Barre (at its location in Bronxville, New York). If you’re more used to intense cardio, you may feel compelled to make bigger movements during barre exercises, but try to resist. “No unnecessary movement or large range of motion is needed and, in fact, is often why other forms of exercise cause injuries,” Morris says. Try to get in the mindset to “think small” before you enter the studio; you’ll be surprised at how much of a workout you’ll get from moving just an inch.
- You’ll be confused in the beginning. Don’t expect to know all of the moves right away. During your first few classes, you’ll probably have trouble keeping up. “It depends on the person and their background, but after three classes, most of the movements that may feel strange at first start to really click and make sense,” says Morris. Barre can be so fast-paced that the second you think you’ve finally mastered a pose, it’s time to switch to a new one. Don’t get discouraged. (But do expect to feel sore for a few days.)
- Know what it means to “tuck.” The “tuck” is one of the key concepts of barre. “The best way to explain the tuck is a pelvic tilt,” says Morris. “Your pelvis tilts forward, your abdominals draw in, and your lower back tucks under. You’re shortening the distance between your two hip bones and your rib cage.” One tip: Place your thumb on your rib cage and your pointer finger on your hip bone. If you’re tucking correctly, you should feel the distance between the two shorten. “The tuck is important because it’s what protects our lower back throughout the exercises,” she says.
- Shaking is good. Halfway through the class, I found my legs shaking uncontrollably. Perhaps my embarrassment was written all over my face, because my instructor assured me that shaking was a good sign. “We joke ’embrace the shake’ – but we also mean it as the shake is a sign that you have correctly targeted the leg muscles we are working, and you are working hard,” Morris says. “You have fatigued the large muscle group to the point that they start to shake.”
- Ask questions. Arrive to your first class early. Introduce yourself to the staff and let your instructor know you’re new to barre. After class, if you have a question about a particular move or want to know how to adjust it, stick around and ask your instructor. “While the first class will be challenging and there will be unfamiliar terminology and movements, if you stick with it, the results will be fast,” Morris says.
- Dress appropriately. Make sure to wear leggings or yoga pants and a tight tank top. This will keep heat from escaping your body, allowing you to sweat more — and it’ll help you and your instructor see your form. You won’t be wearing sneakers in the studio, so you’ll need socks. Some barre studios sell socks with special grips on the soles that help your balance, create traction, and promote circulation throughout your workout. (Many studios will also allow you to wear regular socks — though most discourage it because it’s so easy to slip — while others allow you to take class in bare feet. Be sure to check your studio’s policy ahead of time so you arrive prepared.)
- You can practice barre at home. Various studios use slightly different styles of barre, but remember that you can also practice at home. While not all the moves can be done without a ballet barre, you can try using a countertop, tall table, or chair instead. Look for instructional barre workout DVDs to purchase, and work out on your own time.
The Beginner’s Guide to Barre Class
Looking to try a barre workout class for the first time, but don’t really know what the heck to expect? Here’s the basic 101 rundown: “Most barre-based classes use a combination of postures inspired by ballet and other disciplines like yoga and Pilates,” says Sadie Lincoln, founder of barre3 fitness. “The barre is used as a prop to balance while doing exercises that focus on isometric strength training (holding your body still while you contract a specific set of muscles) combined with high reps of small range-of-motion movements.” Also, don’t be surprised if your barre class incorporates light handheld weights to bring the burn during all those reps, as well as mats for targeted core work.
Ahead, more on the barre workout trend, the benefits, and what to actually expect before your barre class.
When Did Barre Workouts Get So Trendy?
Wondering why these boutique studios and specialty classes are popping up all over the place? Lincoln, who opened her first studio in 2008, points to the trend toward community. “Many of us discovered during hard times that we craved smaller and more connected classes. We needed a place where we could balance our bodies and get prepared for our busy and stressful days.”
Tanya Becker, co-founder of Physique 57 thinks the results are the reason for the craze (which is inspired by the retro fitness movement launched with the Lotte Berk Method). “Women see results quickly with barre class, it’s a one-stop shop that includes all the essentials of a well-rounded exercise program, plus it’s perfect for women who are short on time. That’s a workout women will always need!”
The Benefits of Barre Workouts
Still not sold on barre class? If you’re sitting slumped in your chair reading this, then you may want to think again. According to Lincoln, the major benefits of barre class are improved posture, muscle definition, weight loss, increased flexibility, and reduced stress. Plus, women at just about any fitness level can sign up for a barre class: Both Lincoln and Becker say that barre classes are perfectly fine for pregnant women because they’re not high impact. They may even help with imbalance—a common issue during pregnancy due to that growing belly—and stability. (Try at-home barre workout with our starter pack of 4 tiny—yet-crazy-effective—barre-inspired core moves.)
What to Expect from a Barre Class
You’ve taken the plunge and signed up for a barre class. Now what? While the experience will differ studio to studio, Becker says that the typical class (such as a Physique 57 beginner session) will take you through a dynamic and invigorating workout. You’ll start with a warm up and sequence of upper-body exercises, which include free weights, push-ups, planks and other moves to target the biceps, triceps, chest, and back muscles.
Next, you’ll use the ballet barre and your own body weight for resistance to focus on the thigh and seat muscles. Your core will be engaged the entire class and then targeted at the end.
For the cool down, you’ll go through a series of stretches to increase flexibility and allow your muscles to recover. Most classes are 60 minutes, says Lincoln, and some studios (like most barre3 locations) may even offer childcare during class. (Related: This Barre Studio Abs Workout Sculpts a Strong Core with No Equipment)
What to Wear to Barre Class
When choosing your workout attire, think yoga wear, suggests Lincoln. Leggings (we adore these more affordable Lululemon look-alikes), a sports bra, and tank will do the trick. As for footwear, you won’t need it! Go barefoot or do the class in grippy socks to prevent slipping. (Related: Workout Gear That Will Make You Look and Feel Like a Ballerina)
How a Barre Workout Stacks Up Against Cardio
One of the best parts about barre classes is that they combine strength training and cardio, says Becker, so you’re burning fat and building muscle at the same time. (This intense barre class at home doubles as cardio!) “Our technique focuses on strengthening the muscles, and muscle tissue burns 15 times as many calories as fat. The stronger you get, the more calories you’ll burn ’round the clock.”
But it’s not all about the competition: Barre is actually one of the best complements to running and other high-impact activities (here’s why). Time to pump up those plies!
- By Colleen Travers
5 Things to Expect from Your First Barre Class
So you’re thinking about trying a Barre class. Barre is a workout derivative of ballet barre. Using ballet barre techniques throughout your Barre class will provide you with incredible results. Barre is a cardio workout that is upbeat and high-energy. Convinced to give Barre class a try? Here are 5 things you can expect from your first Barre class at Everbalance:
1. A Core warm up– Each Barre class begins with a core warm up on the mat before heading to the barre. Expect to seriously work those core muscles!
2. A little weight lifting– Expect to use 2, 3, 5 and 6 pound weights for upper body and some core exercises. Barre workouts are always a full-body workout as well as focusing on specific muscle groups.
3. Expect to feel the burn– We like to call this the challenge zone! Once you start to get a burning sensation your Barre instructor will encourage you to stay in it as long as you can – all in good form of course! Feeling the burn is just one of the ways to maximize muscle exertion so eventually you will see results in muscle tone as well as burning a lot of calories.
4. An upbeat and high-energy workout– Barre class is choreographed to upbeat music which is motivating throughout your workout – a fun and entertaining way to get fit. Our instructors also use headsets to instruct class so you have the extra motivation and you will always be able to hear the instructions!
5. Soreness– After your first Barre class you will be sore! Expect it and prepare to counter it. Epsom salt baths are your best friend when tackling soreness. After a while it does go away slightly as you get stronger. We stretch all through out the class to help ease the tension and elongate the muscles.
What do I wear?
For your first Barre class you’ll want to wear comfortable athletic clothes that are not too baggy (especially top to avoid it riding up). Yoga pants and a tank top/fitted t-shirt will work great. Just keep in mind that your clothes should be easy to move around in and stretchy.
What do I need to bring to class?
For your first Barre class you will want to bring a yoga/pilates mat with you. Forgot your mat? The studio has plenty to borrow from. It is also suggested that you wear grippy socks for your safety. Don’t own a pair? The studio has them available for purchase. You may also want to bring a bottle of water. We sell bottled water in the lobby for $1 in case you forget as well as a water cooler to fill up your own cup!
What kind of Barre classes does Everbalance offer?
We offer a variety of Barre classes for all levels. If you’re a beginner to Barre try Barre Basics class. This class is perfect for beginners and is slower paced but still a challenging workout. You’ll learn the basics of Barre and work each muscle group through class. Feeling up for a challenge? Try Barre Cardio Fusion with Tetyana. This class offers a more cardio based workout and is choreographed to music perfect for someone looking to burn more calories. If you’re a yogi and you want to give Barre a go – try Yoga Barre Fusion. This class starts with power yoga flow for upper body and core, then continues with 20 min Barre choreography for lower body and ends with rewarding shavashana (mediation). Whether you are a complete beginner or very experienced in Barre, Everbalance has a class for you! Check out our class schedule here for more information.
#Fitgoals: 5 Reasons We Could Spend All Day at Life Time Athletic
Presented by: Life Time Athletic
Photo credit: Life Time Athletic
Finding the motivation to drudge across town with your duffle bag for a morning workout and fighting off crowds for a spot in your post-work Bikram class can make living the healthy life your Instagram feed is filled with feel like a distant dream. Luckily, thanks to Life Time Athletic, the health club chain known for its spacious workout spaces and 115 different class formats (including 11 exclusive Signature Formats that kick major peach emoji), you can get one step closer to your #fitgoals.
In fact, Life Time is so double-tap-worthy you might be tempted to spend more time here just to ‘gram and say you tried everything the health club had to offer. But, since there are more than 85 group fitness classes each week at each location, it might be better to space things out a bit. Here are a few more reasons Life Time is a top spot for endorphin-filled bliss.
They’re overachievers in the best way possible.
Most of Life Time’s group instructors and personal trainers go above the national certification to be Five Star certified, meaning they’re able to give you the extra attention you need to meet your specific fitness goals. Plus, each club has an average of 35 instructors on staff, ensuring each class you take is taught by a highly-skilled trainer in that specific workout.
They hit the road with you.
When it comes to finding a cycling class, the variety of spin styles proves biking is not a ‘one size fits all’ workout. Instead of wasting time trying to find the perfect ride at three different boutiques, Life Time offers three styles of cycling classes to fit your mood. Try AMP to get your heart pumping, EDG to jam out while testing your limits, and PWR if you’re a skilled cyclist training to take on your first race.
You never fly solo.
These aren’t your average group fitness classes. Life Time’s group fitness classes combine the latest trends with tried-and-true fitness techniques to give you the ultimate burn in a fun, time-efficient workout.
If you like hot yoga but want more cardio:
Try Warrior Sculpt, a combo of yoga, strength and cardio in a heated room.
For Barre enthusiasts who crave more core work:
Life Barre takes classical ballet moves and combines them with pilates and traditional strength routines.
For kickboxers who want to dabble in more martial arts:
Strike! Kickboxing builds cardio and muscular endurance using martial arts stick fighting techniques.
When you’re looking for a quick total body burn:
Try Total Conditioning Xtreme (TCX), a total-body resistance routine that challenges every muscle from head to toe.
If you’re a lifter who wants to raise the bar on your routine:
Barbell Strength uses Iron Grip Strength Equipment to improve your strength and muscular endurance.
You can find your zen no matter what mood you’re in.
Some days you want a good stretch, others you need to find stillness. With Vinyasa, Roots and Yin practices, Life Time offers yoga classes for every style yogi. Build your foundation in Roots, turn up the heat (and the intensity) in Vinyasa, or find your breath while mastering posture in Yin practice.
Unwinding is just a few steps away.
After a tough workout, take the time to work out the kinks in Life Time’s full-service salon and spa, eucalyptus steam rooms, or private saunas. And, for days you forget to bring breakfast with you, the healthy LifeCafe has you covered with a full menu of freshly prepared Meals to Go, snacks and custom smoothies that power your million-dollar bod’ well after your workout is over.
You work out like a VIP why not treat yourself like one? Join Life Time at their newest, soon-to-open locations in Ardmore, Fort Washington and King of Prussia.
This is a paid partnership between Life Time Athletic and Philadelphia Magazine’s City/Studio
Barre-style workouts have become super trendy and a firm fave of Victoria’s Secret Models and A-listers of late.
Promising to tone your body and burn fat, all while improving your range of motion and flexibility, barre classes involve performing small, isometric movements, using your bodyweight and small dumbbells as well as resistance bands and holding your body in positions to ‘feel the burn’.
Devotees say that barre helps you tone up fast and will result in the lean physique of a dancer. But do these bold claims actually work?
A self-confessed exercise junkie, I was pretty sceptical of these kinds of classes – preferring weight training and HIIT to low-intensity exercise that I thought would have no impact on my body.
But then, *plot twist* – at the end of last year, I had to give up my intense workouts, after a gruelling round of fertility treatment left me unable to exercise. For some people, being told by a doctor to stop working out would be a dream, but I lost all my energy and felt really sluggish and bloated.
After three months off exercise and injecting myself with a load of hormones, I wasn’t overweight, but my body had completely changed and none of my clothes fit. And although I was told by my fertility doctor I could exercise again, I had to take it easy.
So I decided to ease myself back into working out with barre – and signed up to do six weeks of classes with Barrecore, who have studios all over London (and in various locations nationwide). Here’s what happened to my body in just six weeks:
1. I needed quite a few classes per week to see results.
My first session at Barrecore was a private session with Emily, the instructor trainer at Barrecore’s Mayfair branch (aka the master of barre classes!). She told me that with barre, it was a case of “the more the better”.
I didn’t want to commit to a class every day, because I was still recovering a little bit, so we plumped for 3-4 classes a week. I would be doing Barrecore Signature – the studio’s combination class of ballet barre moves using your own body weight, lightweight props and high reps to exhaust all my muscles.
2. I learnt how to REALLY switch my glutes on
In my first session, Emily checked my form, because it really is crucial to seeing results with barre workouts. You’ve got to learn how to “tuck under” your core and keep your body still while doing small movements, so you’re truly targeting the muscles you’re working.
It’s really easy to get lazy in class and look like you’re doing the moves when actually you’re not really doing anything (trust me, that was me when I was tired/hungover)!
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A post shared by Emily King (@emilykingfitness) on Dec 6, 2017 at 6:50am PST
While I had OK posture because I’d done ballet as a kid, for me it was about learning to REALLY switch my glutes on. I thought because I had done squats and deadlifts in the gym, I was a pro, but it turns out there are LOADS of tiny muscles I was ignoring.
It was worth it though, because for the first time I actually felt the ‘booty burn’ people talk about, and any back pain I’d previously had during exercise melted away.
3. And to REALLY use my core
Despite having had actual visible abs at one point in my ‘fitness journey’ (don’t cringe), turns out my core wasn’t all that strong! When I first strolled into class, I couldn’t hold a plank for longer than 20 seconds, and doing side plank dips to tone my obliques were hell on a plate. But by the end of the six weeks, I could hold a plank for a minute, crunches no longer hurt my lower back, and those dips were easy as pie!
4. My thighs hated me, every single class
There is a lot of focus on ‘seat’ (bum) and thigh work in barre classes, and because I have relatively hefty and muscly thighs, I thought I’d find the leg workouts the easiest. In my former life, I LOVED the leg press in the gym! But give me an exercise where you have to hold your thighs in one position, without moving anything else and doing tiny pulses with your legs, and pretty soon the ‘burn’ got to me and I wanted to scream as my legs shook like they were possessed.
I soon learned that Epsom salts were my best friend after a particularly tough class – I would take a bath in them once a week to ease my sore muscles.
5. But they got really strong
You do a lot of small movements in barre, so I thought my legs wouldn’t change. But these tiny, but effective movements really did make my legs feel a lot stronger, and it took me much longer to ‘burnout’ (collapse mid exercise because it hurts too much) as the weeks progressed. By week six, I didn’t even swear when we did what I called the ‘move of hell’ (when you bend your knees and try to slide them under the barre – trust me, it kills).
6. My arms changed too
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A post shared by Emily King (@emilykingfitness) on Nov 3, 2017 at 3:23am PDT
I was worried with such a focus on legs that my arms would just kind of, sit there while my bottom half did all the work. But at the beginning of all the classes we did lots of push ups, bicep curls, tricep dips and shoulder work with tiny weights, which definitely burned more than anything else! I went from just about managing bent-knee pushups to doing full ones by the end. The tricep dips never got easy – but they definitely made my arms look more defined.
7. My pain threshold got so much better
Because there’s so much holding your body into positions until you ‘feel the burn’ in barre, you have to get used to feeling kind of uncomfortable for a little bit. At first, I HATED that moment when my legs would shake and my muscles would feel like someone had literally struck a match on my thighs, but I kind of started to like it by the end and learned to tough it out.
8. And I had to adapt to keep progressing
I started off doing 3 classes a week, but quickly progressed to doing 4 Signature classes a week – then, when I felt like I was getting a bit too used to the intensity, I swapped in a few of Barrecore’s HIIT classes (which combined barre moves with HIIT training) and Sculpt classes (which use resistance bands for a deeper burn). Believe me when I say that resistance bands are the best thing EVER for building a booty – I never felt a burn like that before.
9. I didn’t lose much weight
I didn’t do barre to lose weight – it was to ease myself back into exercise, and I know the numbers on the scale rarely reflect how fit you are. But I wouldn’t say barre classes are the one for dropping a load of weight or burning lots of fat really quickly – unless you did loads of barre x HIIT classes which would definitely speed up your results.
Also I definitely didn’t eat like a ballerina – I did my six weeks just before Christmas and let’s just say I had a lot of cheese and wine and boozy truffles.
9. But I toned up
What barre classes are really good at is strengthening your muscles and toning your body in a more long-term way (more muscle = a faster metabolism!). My before and after pics weren’t hugely dramatic in difference, but I felt a bit more ‘cinched in’ and less bloated than before, and my legs definitely felt more muscular.
I’m wearing the same pants and sports bra in both pics, for reference.
What’s more, after stopping barre over Christmas, my body didn’t change dramatically – these were long lasting results.
10. And I finally got a bum!
Even when I did weight training at the gym, my bum was hardly what you’d call a ‘booty’, and after stopping exercise I’d lost a lot of muscle there. But after six weeks of barre and eating all the food in the lead up to Christmas, I finally had a bum of a girl who squats.
According to my husband it was higher, firmer and rounder – although I had to laugh when my normal knickers became wedgie tastic 24/7 and I nearly split my gym leggings. But take my word for it – the ‘seat exercises’ at Barrecore really work their magic.
11. I stopped dismissing ‘low impact’ classes – because I was pretty impressed with the results
Sometimes I didn’t even break a sweat in Barrecore (ideal if you run out of time to shower before work lol), but make no mistake, the classes weren’t easy. My Fitbit wasn’t off the chain with a high heart rate or the calories burned (unless I did a HIIT class), but this was deceptive – I could FEEL every movement, and knew it was making a difference to my body.
If you’re looking for a low impact fitness class that still packs a punch, I would definitely recommend barre. You don’t have to be a prima ballerina to take part; while my brother was an actual real life Billy Elliot who went to the Royal Ballet School, I was always the dunce of my ballet class – but I still picked everything up relatively quickly, and the vibe of the classes is super fun so it doesn’t matter if you aren’t the most graceful person at the barre.
The classes aren’t cheap – but the level of teaching in the classes is high and I felt like I was always being checked on to make sure my form was OK.
While I didn’t end up with the physique of a dancer, I was pretty pleased with the change to my body in just six weeks, with no nutrition plan or attention paid to what I ate. Plus barre allowed me to fall back in love with exercise, learn how to actually work my glutes properly – and appreciate that sometimes, small moves can be SUPER effective. And while the burn is hell at first – after a few classes, you’ll be begging for more.
Barrecore have studios across London, plus Alderly Edge, Bristol and Harrogate.
Try a sample Barrecore class yourself below.
Lauren Smith Head of Social Lauren Smith is Cosmopolitan UK’s Head of Social, and looks after the site’s social media accounts, as well as occasionally covering fitness, health, lifestyle, and travel on the site.
If you think you’d like to try a barre fitness class, be ready for a workout that will push your muscles to their limit. “Barre classes include components of pilates, yoga, and ballet,” explains Kate Albarelli, the creator of the Figure 4 barre class at Pure Yoga. “The moves are considered ballet-based but only because they’re derived from the Lotte Berk Method. Lotte was a ballet dancer, so she used some of her dance moves when creating the workout, but what we see as today’s barre classes have gone through so many tweaks over the years.”
One of the most important things to know is that the free weights you see in many bootcamp-style classes are only a tiny part of the overall workout. “It’s all weight-bearing work, which means we use all our own body weight to achieve long, lean muscles,” says Albarelli. “We utilize small, medium, and large ranges of motion, targeting all the different muscle fibers. It’ll keep you healthy and your bones strong!”
These weight-bearing ercises Albarelli is referring to force your muscles to support another part of your body. For example, get into a grand plié, but then squat down and hold it. You’ll be shaking from the sheer force of staying in that position! So before you head to your local barre studio to tone everything from your back to your backside, find out what to expect when you get to your first class.
Come early so you can introduce yourself to the instructor.
“You’ll learn the setup and can describe any injuries,” suggests Albarelli. “Instructors can give you modifications and also pay you a little bit more attention. People who come all the time might not need as many hands-on corrections as someone who is brand new.”
Be familiar with the equipment you’ll see.
“You’ll see a barre! There might be a soft ball to squeeze between your inner thighs. There’s most likely going to be a strap for stretching, and you may have hand weights. Arms are the only muscles groups that we’ll work out using hand weights instead of our body weight. Also, set yourself up at a mirror. This way, you can get an understanding of the class by watching yourself and others.”
Wear body conscious clothing.
“Leggings and a tighter top are best in order for the teacher to see your form.”
Shoes are never allowed.
“Most barre studios have carpeting and they’ll say you need to wear socks for sanitary reasons. For your first time, it’s okay to wear ankle socks that you’d wear with running shoes. If you like the class, invest in a pair of socks with grips on the bottoms. They’re usually sold at the studio where you’re taking a class. At Pure Yoga, we allow students to go barefoot during the Figure 4 class because we have hardwood floors, but that’s rare.”
Fuel yourself properly for a class.
“Bring water to class! Afterwards, drink more water and eat a banana for potassium.”
Don’t be intimidated by the exercises.
“It’s very easy to pick up. I’ve seen the most uncoordinated people become coordinated from these types of classes.”
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Lift. Tone. Burn. is the Pure Barre mantra. I’ve written many a post about Pure Barre whether it be about our new cardiocentric version of barre – Empower, 10 Tips for Your First Pure Barre Class, and Pure Barre Pregnancy Modifications. What I haven’t covered in depth yet is what to wear to barre class.
If you’re new around here, I’ve been teaching Pure Barre for 8 years now and still love it. I usually take 3 days a week and do cross training 2 other days during the week. As you may imagine, I have developed quite the love for athleisure clothes. You can see some of my favorite fitness brands broken down in this post.
Although, if you follow me on Instagram stories, you basically see it every day because it’s pretty much all I wear…I thought I’d elaborate on it for you guys because it’s always one of the first questions I get asked by barre newbies. 🙂
A lot of you have mentioned trying out Pure Barre for the first time or coming back to barre after taking a fitness hiatus during the holidays so I’m here to be your what to wear to barre class guru. Ha! Is that even a thing? Well, we’ll make it one.
Let’s start from the top, shall we?
Want more Pure Barre posts? Check out these posts!
- What is Pure Barre?
- Pure Barre Pregnancy Modifications
- Pure Barre Velcro Tubes
- Pure Barre Fitness Technique Video
- 10 Tips For Your First Pure Barre Class
- Empower: The New Kick-Seat Pure Barre Workout
- Empower Modifications for Pregnancy
What to Wear to Barre Class Broken Down from Head to Toe:
- Ponytail holders are of course a necessity. Some women come to regular Pure Barre with their hair down, and more power to them but I’m annoyed by pushups in our warmup that my hair is now flopping in my eyes. I’d highly recommend at least some bobby pins to pull your hair back out of your eyes and if you take Empower or cardio barre, you’ll definitely want a hair tie. Teleties are really popular in our studio currently because they help avoid hair creases and stay more sanitary than cotton ones that soak up your sweat. I just got some and have really liked them since usually I do get a crease no matter what ponytail holder I use but not with this one! Invisibobbles are a good dupe for a lower price point as well!
- Tank Top or athletic shirt of some kind. Here’s where the what to wear to barre class can start to get a little more interesting. Most barre studios are a little more fashion forward with our athletic apparel. Whether it be keyhole backs, tied up tanks, open back shirts, mesh, or funky straps, the details make your barre wear pop. I love to find low scoop back or open back tanks to allow my strappy sports bras to show. It’s a fun way to get creative with the way you dress. But no worries if that feels outside your comfort zone, you can always wear a plain old t-shirt and no one is judging. 🙂
- Low to Medium Impact Sports Bra. I get asked about sports bras a decent amount which cracks me up because hello, flat chested club over here. 😉 Note that if you are doing a cardio barre or pure barre empower class that you should wear a higher impact sports bra if you are more gifted up top. Barre is a great place to wear your fun, strappy and colorful sports bras to peek out in the back of your cut out tanks as mentioned earlier.
- Capris or Pants but NO shorts. We wear tight fitting pants or capris to keep muscles warm and help you get the most out of your workout. Shorts just aren’t feasible in a barre class setting. There’s mirrors everywhere and you end up doing positions that could possibly make you and your neighbor feel uncomfortable if you are in shorts that could expose…a bit too much. Wear the pants or capris that make you feel most confident, and then start to play around with cut outs, mesh panels and bright colors. Some of the pants I get the most compliments on are these crazy and fun K Deer Leggings pictured below. While I was looking at workout leggings, I was excited to find these moto and mesh leggings on sale 40% off at Nordstrom!
- Sticky Socks. We don’t wear shoes in barre classes, so you’ll want to wear a pair of sticky socks for the best experience. You’ll be lifting and lowering your heels a lot and holding in difficult positions on your tip toes so having that grip is KEY to not slip sliding all over the room. Most studios sell them at the front retail area, but you can also pick some up ahead of time, typically for a better cost. I’ve only ever worn the Pure Barre brand socks but some of our clients swear by the Zella sticky socks that Nordstrom sells.
- Water Bottle. Last but not least don’t forget your water bottle! It will be one of your best accessories, because not only will you use it for your barre class but you can keep it with you all day to get enough water. I love to use a water bottle with a straw or a large Yeti to help me get in enough water for the day.
Shop What to Wear to Barre Class Here:
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Barre 101: 5 Things to Know Before Your First Barre Class
Barre class is a rigorous workout that blends elements from different exercise styles including ballet, pilates, and yoga. Combining so many different challenging workouts can seem intimidating. How will you know what to do with your body? What are the different pieces of equipment? Take a deep breath. Most barre classes welcome first-timers, and your instructor will use hands-on guidance to help you get used to moving your body in new ways.
Barre class is named for the primary piece of equipment: the bar. If you’ve ever been in a ballet studio, this piece of equipment will be familiar. You’ll also use other equipment, like a mat — which you’re familiar with if you’ve ever tried yoga — or free weights, exercise bands and exercise balls. You can pick how heavy you want your weights to be, and your instructor will walk you through the proper use of each piece of equipment. They’ll explain how you can integrate the equipment into the class to get the best workout possible.
Getting the best workout possible means you’re going to be working a lot of different muscle groups. You can expect barre class to address multiple areas of your body, including your:
The exercises are set at a slow pace that aims to build strength and flexibility — you won’t have to worry about high impact moves, like jumping.
First Barre Class: What to Expect
Barre class might push you to your limits, but you can expect to gain a lot from dedicating yourself to the class. When you regularly challenge your body in barre class, you’ll notice benefits like improved muscle definition, greater flexibility and better posture. Like other types of regular exercise, barre can also help you manage and reduce your stress levels.
Now that you know the basics how of a barre class works here are five things to know before you dive in and take your first barre class:
1. What to Wear to Barre Class
What to wear to barre class depends a lot on your personal taste. It’s important to be comfortable during an exercise, so you shouldn’t feel the need to impress anyone with your barre outfit. Choose clothes that will allow you to focus on the exercise. Here are our suggestions for what to wear to your first barre class, in addition to what to bring along:
- Grippy Socks: Our studios are carpeted. If you try to take a barre class barefoot, you might find yourself slipping and sliding. Instead of worrying about taking a tumble, invest in a pair of grippy socks. These socks will help keep your feet firmly planted on the floor. You might also notice they boost your overall stability and balance during the workout.
- Snug Clothing: You don’t have to wear skintight clothing to a barre class, but an outfit with a snugger fit is a smart choice. Looser clothing can restrict your movement and make it harder for your instructor to see your form to give suggestions on how to adjust your body for each exercise. Grab your favorite pair of yoga pants or capris — leave the shorts at home for this one. You can pair your comfy bottoms with a tank top or a fitted t-shirt.
- Sports Bra (Optional): Some women feel more comfortable during a workout in a sports bra, but we leave this up to you. Barre class isn’t too high impact, like running, but it does require you to move around a lot. Feel free to wear a sports bra with moderate support, or skip wearing one altogether. Remember, exercise clothes are about your comfort.
- Pulled-Back Hair: Barre class isn’t extremely fast-paced, but you do have to move your body in a lot of unusual ways. If you have longer hair, bring a headband or a hair tie to keep your hair out of your face.
- A Water Bottle: Just because barre class isn’t high-impact doesn’t mean you won’t work up a sweat. An important part of any workout is staying hydrated. Allow yourself a water break whenever you need one during class.
Don’t worry about bringing any equipment with you. Everything you need to participate in the class, including yoga mats, will be waiting for you in the studio. Come ready to work hard!
2. Stay Mentally Engaged
Physical exercise is good for your body and your mind, according to these statistics:
- After exercising, 53 percent of people report feeling good about themselves.
- A total of 35 percent of people say they are in a good mood after exercising.
- Thirty percent of people say they are less stressed after exercising.
Exercise can be challenging, but staying engaged is the best way to get the benefits from that challenge. Try to keep your mind focused on what your body is doing. If you let your mind wander during barre class, you might miss out on some of the benefits.
Barre class is inspired by ballet, but you don’t need to be a dancer to come to class. While you can learn how to do each exercise in barre class, you might not be familiar with the terms your instructor uses. Be sure to stay tuned in to everything the class leader says so you don’t miss the names of the exercises and the accompanying instructions. If you stay mentally engaged, you’ll learn what “relevé” — standing on your toes — and “tuck” — tilting your pelvis — means in no time.
If at first you feel confused and out of step with the rest of the class, don’t get discouraged. Any new form of exercise has a learning curve. Keep an open mind and focus on what your instructor is saying.
Going through the movements in barre class isn’t enough. Barre class focuses on working specific groups of muscles you probably don’t use on a regular basis. This means you need to position your body in a specific way and move it in a precise way. You might think you’re moving just like everyone else in the class, but if you aren’t listening closely to your instructor’s cues, you could be cheating yourself out of the full intensity of the exercise. Making even small adjustments to your form can make a big difference.
Another key part of mental engagement is being attuned to the way your body feels and pushing yourself to embrace the challenge. Barre class helps you improve your strength, flexibility and balance while working your core and giving you a cardio workout. That’s a lot going on with your body at once — and you’re going to feel it.
Don’t be scared to push your muscles to the point of burning, but listen to your body. If you need a brief break during your first class — or any subsequent classes — that’s perfectly fine. Grab a sip of water and prepare your mind and body to jump back in.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Shake
Barre class is designed to work muscles more than we normally do. You’re going to be using your arms, legs, glutes and core throughout the class. As the class goes on, you might notice your arms or legs starting to shake. Your first reaction might be embarrassment. Are you that out of shape? Why is this happening?
Forget about being embarrassed. Any barre instructor will tell you shaking is a great sign. This means you’re following their guidance, working the right groups of muscles and reaching the right level of intensity. Muscles we don’t use all time aren’t used to this type of focused, intense exercise. If you’re doing barre class right, the muscles are going to work to the point that they start to burn and shake.
Barre class has a slower pace, which focuses on holding positions for longer periods of time. Don’t let the slower pace trick you — your muscles are still being challenged. While workouts at a faster pace sometimes give your muscles a break between movements, this isn’t the case with barre. You’re giving your muscles some serious endurance training.
If you get to the point that you feel the shake is uncontrollable, take a moment and stop. Grab a sip of water and stretch out the muscles in question. Even people who are barre class regulars deal with shaking. The more regularly you attend class, the less intense it will become.
If your legs don’t shake, but your instructor tells you your form is great, don’t worry. Everyone’s body is different. Focus on yours and how it reacts to the exercises.
4. Realize You’re Working New Muscles
You’ve probably heard people love barre class because it helps you achieve a lean dancer’s physique. Everyone’s body type is different, but you hear this because the movements in barre class help you achieve strong, lean muscles.
When you watch someone else go through the various poses in barre class, it will probably look like they are not doing a whole lot of moving — that’s because barre class relies on isometric movement. During an isometric exercise, you use your muscles to hold a single position without moving. It might sound easy, but it actually challenges your muscles. Holding them in one position for an extended period of time can lead to that shaking many people experience in barre class.
Holding a plank is a great example of an isometric exercise. You work your arms, legs and your core, but your body is completely still.
A dancer’s physique radiates strength, and one of the most obvious benefits of barre class is improved strength. The exercises focus on muscles that often get ignored during other workouts. Expect to feel the burn in places like your glutes and hamstrings. Exercises that incorporate weights are also great strength building tools.
When we imagine someone with a lean and lithe dancer’s body, we often think about how flexible that person is. Barre class is a great way to improve your flexibility. The exercises in barre class involve a good amount of stretching that will help you gain a greater range of motion over time. Greater flexibility helps relieve muscle tension and improve your overall balance and coordination.
Dancers are noted for their excellent posture. About 50 percent of working-age people experience back pain at some point each year, and 80 percent of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. One of the leading causes of back pain is poor posture, and barre class has many exercises that will help improve your posture. Most poses require you properly align your spine and shoulders, and then you have to hold that position.
Barre class is going to work muscles you hardly ever think about. Prepare to feel tired and sore from head to toe. Remember that is a good sign!
5. Head Back to Barre Class Within 48 Hours
You might want to give those sore muscles a break after your first class, but it’s important to get back to barre within two days. You’re probably going to have a lot of lactic acid, which is causing those sore muscles. If you commit to a regular exercise routine instead of working out occasionally, you’ll notice that sore feeling less and less. Push yourself to return and build a healthy exercise schedule.
It can be easy to talk ourselves out of exercising. Maybe we tell ourselves the work day was too long and stressful, or that we’d rather sleep in than get up for an early-morning barre class. To avoid falling into that trap, sign up for your second barre class ahead of time. You’ve set aside the time and paid for the class. It is going to be a lot harder to talk yourself out of going after that.
Once you’re onto your second class, you can feel a little more relaxed. You know what to expect. The names of the exercises, what the equipment looks like and what’s expected of you aren’t completely new anymore. You’ll still have plenty to learn, but you have a great starting point.
For your second barre session, you can take the same class or try something new. Play around with the available classes and the different instructors to find the right fit for you. Once you’ve found your ideal class and instructor, you can create a schedule and stick to it. Eventually, your instructor will become familiar with you and push you to challenge yourself even more. You’ll start to feel the benefits of barre class in no time!
Barre Before and After
Become the star of your own barre workout before and after photos and schedule a class with PHYSIQUE57 online. We have studios in Bangkok, Beverly Hills, Dubai, the Hamptons and New York City. If you don’t live near a studio, you’re welcome to work out with us virtually. Sign up for a free trial of our online classes.
It’s no secret that barre classes have become very popular in the world of fitness.
A very popular question I receive from friends and readers is how to achieve a lean dancer’s body (i.e. how to “tone up” without “bulking up”). While I do recommend starting with a routine of strength training, cardio, and nutritious eating, I always suggest getting into barre and/or Pilates for serious kick-you-in-the-core workouts.
I took my first class (<- holy throwback!) back in October 2011, and I became hooked that very day. While living in Orlando, I eventually started teaching barre classes at two studios, six days a week!
As a former instructor and general lover and advocate of the workout, I often hear a series of questions when I talk to someone who has never tried a class before.
I hope this list of tips helps those hesitant to try!
• you don’t have to be a dancer to enjoy or “be good at” barre classes
I have heard “I would love to try barre, but I’m not a dancer” so many times! Having a dance background does help with musicality and understanding how the body moves in certain ways, but it’s definitely not a requirement.
From my observations and experience, barre workouts seem to come easier for dancers, but there have been plenty of students and members who rock the workout without a day of previously stepping into a ballet studio.
• you don’t have to be super flexible
I have also heard “I’m just not flexible enough for barre classes” many times!
Truth is, even after years and years of dancing, my flexibility was as its peak when I was teaching barre classes several times a week. My studio was big on stretching (we incorporated three long stretching sequences during each class), and I could feel my body moving deeper into stretches as time went by. I watched so many clients go from nervous to full on splits over time, too.
It just takes time, patience, and practice to loosen those tight and anxious bodies!
• you should probably sign-up online
If you are planning on attending a well-known studio (especially at a popular time like early morning, lunch, or after work), I would recommend signing up for at least a single class online. Most studios use MindBodyOnline, and it’s easy to find a link to register for an account and find a class to sign up for when you access the studio’s website.
Also, it wouldn’t hurt to aim to arrive at least 15 minutes early. This will allow time to fill out waivers, use the restroom, and get a general run down of the class from the instructor.
• you might want to invest in a pair of barre/yoga socks
We didn’t require barre socks at the studio I taught at, but a lot of them do. Every barre studio I’ve been to sells their own brand of “sticky socks” and they come in a variety of colors and materials.
Beyond studio branded socks, my favorites have been Shashi mesh barre socks (similar). I also have my eyes on Bella ‘Full Toe” Gripper Socks. I wouldn’t necessarily go for the ‘open toe’ versions, as most studios won’t let you wear them. There are so many cute options out there!
• wear whatever you feel comfortable in
… but most people sport a tight tank, leggings, and barre socks.
There’s no need to break out the leotard and tights here. Think of similar attire to what you would wear to a yoga class! The majority of students wear tight fitting activewear like leggings, fitness tights, and form-fitting tanks. While it’s cute to wear workout gear like this, it’s also a great way to be able to see your form in the mirrors during exercises.
• bring a bottle of water with you, and take sips when you need it
The more studios I venture out to, the more I realize that a lot of classes don’t necessarily give you breaks to grab water. Almost all classes go right from one exercise to the next – without breaks – for the full 50 minutes to 1 hour. This is the design behind the workout, so never feel bad for taking a few seconds away from what you’re doing to re-hydrate.
For this reason, I always have water ready and available with me in the room!
• the rule of three classes
Barre isn’t for everyone. I do, however, recommend anyone wanting to get into the style of workout to try it at least three times before settling on an official “I hate this” verdict.
I often joke with friends that you probably won’t understand anything that’s going on during the first class. It will seem a lot longer than an hour, you’ll be angry at your friend for bringing you when you finally feel the “barre burn” everyone talks about, and you will finally understand an exercise when it’s time to move onto the next one. That’s normal.
By your second class, you’ll have an idea of what to expect, and you’ll feel slightly more comfortable. By your third class, you’ll start to learn the flow, and your body will feel more natural with movements and holds, and you will start picking up cues on form. You’ll probably feel a huge improvement, and you might even feel a stronger core when you leave.
The studio and instructor can make a huge difference in your experience, too. If you have a bad experience, try out a different studio!
I could keep going with tips I’ve picked up throughout the years, but I need to get going.
If you enjoyed reading this post, let me know. I might pick it back up down the road! Also, if you have any additional questions about taking classes or the style of workout, feel free to ask away in the comments section.
Best of luck to you and your barre endeavors!
Questions of the Day
• Have you ever been hesitant to take a barre class?
• What is really holding you back?
As fashion girls, we find ourselves putting in as much effort when getting dressed for a workout class as we do when getting dressed for everything else in life. Just like the explosion of the sneaker market—which, in a few short years, developed into the massively trend-driven scene it is today—activewear is taking its place in the fashion spotlight. With cool new brands emerging one after the other, the question of what to wear to work out is increasingly being answered by a slew of stylish options. Whether you’re headed off to yoga, Spin, or barre class, there’s a plethora of stylish leggings and tops to choose from, each tailored to a specific activity.
So what exactly is the distinction between barre and yoga attire? To find out, we went straight to the source and spoke with Jennifer Williams, the founder of cult barre studio Pop Physique. Whether you’re devoted to cultivating your barre physique or you’re considered a “Pop virgin,” you have to admit that the millennial-targeted, candy-colored studios have come to define this era where the cult workout classes you attend are as much a part of your personal brand as your Instagram feed.
Go on to see what Pop Physique’s founder, Jennifer Williams, has to say about getting dressed for class.
WHO WHAT WEAR: What should first-timers expect in a barre class?
Jennifer Williams: A fast-paced but safe workout, with the principals of ballet technique without the requirement of prior dance training. We focus on posture, active stretching, and muscle toning and elongating.
WWW: Which is better: leggings or shorts?
JW: Definitely leggings! There are parts of the class where you are seated, and you’ll be more comfortable in leggings.
WWW: What should you never wear to a barre class?
JW: Don’t wear shorts or bare feet. You’ll want the coverage of leggings and socks for safety and cleanliness.
WWW: Is a leotard required?
JW: Definitely not. Leggings and a somewhat form-fitting top are ideal (think tank or T-shirt).
WWW: What shoes or type of footwear is recommended?
JW: We do the class in socks. Pop makes two types of custom socks. Our traditional full sock and a more breathable and thinner ballet sock. They come in lots of fun colors and styles.
WWW: What’s your favorite ensemble to wear to a barre class?
JW: High-waisted leggings, a tank, and a light sweatshirt that I can take on and off as needed. I love the cut of our custom J’Adore Barre tank.
WWW: What other pieces of advice would you give to potential barre class goers?
JW: Bring a water—you may want to sip during class. And always eat some protein before! A French- or Greek-style yogurt with some fruit is perfect.
Now shop the must-have activewear pieces for barre classes.
Barre vs Yoga vs Pilates: Which Is Right for You?
Congratulations on your decision to make yourself a priority and commit to a regular workout routine. The addition of physical fitness into your life requires hard work, but yields great rewards. Now, which method should you choose? With the vast choice of fitness workout options available today, it can be overwhelming to know which one is right for you.
Pilates vs. Yoga vs. Barre
Pilates, yoga and barre all provide an effective workout from which you will see positive physical results. All will help to sculpt and tone your muscles and improve your overall health. Maybe you want to increase your flexibility or cardiovascular endurance, or perhaps you want to tone your muscles without bulking up or you’re favoring a past or present injury. Maybe you want to improve your core strength and posture. An awareness of your present fitness levels and future goals can help you decide which workout method will benefit you the most.
All three workout methods provide physical and mental benefits. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports that engaging in aerobic and/or muscle-strengthening activities 3 to 5 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes improves your physical health, mental health and mood. It serves to improve sleep, reduce stress and improve your overall sense of well-being. Exercising regularly can help you live a healthier, happier life.
All workout programs require a fair amount of commitment in order to achieve maximum results, so factors such as the duration, frequency, location and types of classes available may help you decide which one is a good fit for you. Your level of commitment to any fitness program hinges greatly upon your level of enjoyment with the exercise methods employed. Although any amount of physical activity is positive, the more you exercise the better the results you will see.
With today’s demanding lifestyles, many individuals find it difficult to stick with a regular exercise program. The most common barriers to regular physical activity include lack of time and motivation. Other reported challenges include fear of injury, feelings of self-consciousness or not being athletic enough, and memories of perceived failure with prior exercise programs. Fortunately, many fitness studios offer free trials, flexible class times and even downloadable or streamed classes, so it’s easier than ever to commit.
The fitness program you ultimately choose is a personal choice and depends upon many factors. Whether it’s yoga, Pilates or barre, knowing the basic methodology of each workout option along with benefits, similarities and differences can help you to decide which one is a good fit for you.
Yoga, which when translated from Sanskrit means “to control” or “to unite,” is said to have originated in India thousands of years ago. While its origins are based upon religion, many yoga classes today focus more on the connection between mind, body and spirit and achieving a balance within the body. Yoga concentrates heavily on body awareness, breathing and stretching.
A typical yoga class involves different types of breathing and stretching exercises. You will need a yoga mat on which you will spend the majority of your workout. A series of warm up exercises involving breathing and stretching usually begins the class. From there, you will engage in a variety of yoga positions designed to stretch and work your muscles. This involves holding your body in challenging poses designed to work a variety of muscle groups at the same time. A cool-down period with breathing exercises will end your session.
Most studios offer yoga mats for your use, but you should purchase a fitness mat if working out at home. You’ll also need comfortable clothing, as you will flex your body into a variety of positions. You will most likely be barefoot, so purchasing specific footwear is not usually necessary. Other items such as straps and balls can accompany yoga routines, but they may not be necessary right away or even at all. A water bottle and towel will help you to stay hydrated and comfortable during your class. You will be bending and stretching, so it’s best to avoid heavy meals a few hours before your class.
Flexibility is a factor in yoga, but it is not a necessary for beginner classes. Continued practice over time will increase your agility and flexibility. You can see positive results over time even if you only attend an hour a week, but attending classes around 2-3 times per week will help you experience the most benefits. Yoga classes usually last around an hour from warm-up to cool down.
Yoga offers numerous benefits. Physical benefits include increased flexibility and muscle strength and tone. Regular yoga practice can decrease stiffness and joint pain and improve posture and coordination. It can also prevent you from suffering future muscle injuries. While not a high-impact method of working out, yoga is physically intense.
Yoga also offers many mental benefits, such as a reduction in stress level. Greater relaxation and reduced stress leads to a host of other positive body changes including an improvement in circulation, sleep and self-confidence. A positive mental outlook also helps to maintain a healthy immune system, which in turn can ward off other serious ailments such as high cholesterol, heart disease and stroke.
Who May Benefit Most From Yoga?
Yoga is appropriate for individuals of all ages and fitness levels. Those who are seeking a workout that increases their mind, body and spiritual awareness will find yoga to be a good fit for them. Those who wish to increase their fitness level at a slower pace may find that yoga is perfect for them, although the physical intensity is just as high as in many other exercise methods. Yoga exercises utilize a variety of muscle groups at the same time, so an entire body workout is often achieved during each class. Yoga is effective in toning muscles without creating a bulky look.
Pregnant women may find yoga to be a beneficial workout, but you should always consult your physician before engaging in any exercise program, especially during pregnancy. Individuals who want a more relaxing form of exercise while improving upon their current level of fitness will find yoga to be enjoyable. Many people benefit from the clear-headedness that comes with the deep breathing and mind-calming exercises that take place with yoga.
Pilates is a fitness method that was developed by Joseph Pilates in Germany during World War I. Originally intended to help rehabilitate injured soldiers, Pilates broadened his method to help people of all walks of life, including police officers and dancers, to strengthen their bodies. His method stressed the use of the mind to control the muscles and was often used to help heal and build strength in individuals who were recovering from injuries.
A typical Pilates class usually lasts around 45 minutes to an hour. You need a fitness mat, water bottle and towel and comfortable clothing. Sometimes other gear such as balls, straps and Pilates-specific equipment is used. While available in most studios offering Pilates classes, these items may also be purchased if desired for home use. Like yoga, you will most likely be barefoot during workouts.
Pilates classes involve a series of positions and body movements, all with different names. Deep concentration is required to place your body into the various positions and hold it there. Modifications on these positions can be made to accommodate people of all abilities and fitness levels.
Pilates uses your body weight for resistance and focuses on working both small and large groups of muscles. Over time, core strength, flexibility and muscle tone will begin to increase. Maximum results are achieved by working out at least 3 days a week. Pilates is not an aerobic exercise method, so it’s best to combine it with a few days of cardiovascular exercise. Although the movements are small and slow, Pilates provides an intense full-body workout.
The physical benefits of Pilates include an increase in muscle strength and tone without creating bulk. The increase in deep core muscle strength helps to make your abdominal muscles look tight and toned. It also improves your flexibility and posture, which can decrease your chances of injuring yourself. Pilates is also effective in easing chronic lower back pain and preventing future back pain and injuries.
The mental benefits of Pilates include an increase in the ability to focus. It takes a great deal of concentration to coordinate your breath and body position during workouts. In fact, Joseph Pilates often referred to his method as “the thinking man’s exercise” due to the improvement in memory and other cognitive functions that results from doing it. A clear mind also reduces stress levels, which translates to an improvement in your overall health.
Who May Benefit Most From Pilates?
Pilates is great for individuals of all fitness levels. People who are just beginning a fitness program will find it’s a great way to ease into more intense methods of exercise. It’s also beneficial for pregnant and postpartum women and people wishing to strengthen their muscles after an injury. A physician’s approval should be sought before beginning any exercise program.
People who enjoy yoga but may be looking for a more vigorous core workout can benefit from Pilates, as they both incorporate similar mind-clearing techniques. Pilates is great for people who desire a full-body workout during each class. Though an intense fitness method, Pilates provides an effective workout with minimal impact on the joints.
A popular workout program that is rapidly gaining recognition and followers is the barre method. This fitness program is essentially a mixture of ballet-inspired exercises, yoga and Pilates. Barre derives from the Lotte Berk Method founded in 1959 in London by its namesake, a German dancer looking to stay fit while nursing a back injury.
In the barre fitness method, a dancer’s bar and a mat are used. While an intense and effective workout method, no previous dance experience is required. The barre method is accepting of all fitness and ability levels.
The barre method uses your own body weight for resistance and focuses on small, deliberate movements that focus on specific groups of muscles, specifically muscles that aren’t used in other workouts. Muscles are worked to the point of fatigue, and then stretched for relief. Proper form, body alignment and posture is stressed, which in turn leads to an overall strengthening of core muscles and the appearance of an aligned, lean body.
Aerobic exercise is also be used in this method, as the idea is to increase cardiovascular endurance while increasing the body’s metabolism to burn fat. It can be quite intense, with classes lasting on average 60 minutes. Increased stamina is achieved by allowing very little rest between activities so muscles stay engaged.
Barre workouts require minimal equipment. You’ll need a free-standing or wall mounted bar and a mat. Sometimes a soft exercise ball may be used during leg workouts. If you are taking classes in a studio, the required equipment will most likely be provided for you. If you are working out at home, bars can be purchased for home use. You may prefer to be barefoot or purchase socks with grips on the bottom. As with all other workouts, having a water bottle and towel nearby is helpful.
Perhaps one of the best benefits of barre is that it’s fun! It incorporates the use of upbeat music and engaging choreography. When working out is fun and enjoyable, your chances of staying with the program greatly increase. The barre method also offers quick results. Barre helps strengthen and tone your muscles without increasing bulk, and it improves your posture. It also increases cardiovascular endurance and metabolism, which helps to quickly burn calories.
Regular barre workouts can increase your bone density, which can help prevent conditions like osteoporosis. They can also help you avoid injury. The small isometric muscle movements used during barre classes build muscle strength without putting a strain on ligaments and tendons like other fitness training methods can.
The mental benefits of barre are similar to yoga and Pilates, as it effectively increases mind-body awareness and mental clarity. Focus and concentration are required to perform the small precise movements utilized in barre. Allowing your mind to concentrate solely on your technique increases feelings of relaxation and decreases stress levels. Endorphins released during physical activity increase your general sense of well-being.
Who May Benefit Most From Barre?
Barre workouts are appropriate for individuals of all fitness levels. It is ideal for individuals who wish to improve their core strength and posture. Many of us often sit in a hunched position at a desk or in front of a computer for long periods, and it takes its toll over time. Barre is appropriate for individuals who are seeking an intense but low-impact workout that will offer quick results.
Barre is also best for people who wish to work out their whole body every time they work out. Barre’s focus on small, isolated groups of muscles means that you will most likely be sore after each workout. Both former dancers and also those with no prior dance experience will enjoy and benefit from the upbeat nature of barre workouts.
Barre vs. Yoga vs. Pilates
If you’re trying to decide which fitness method is best for you, or you think a mixture of all three would be ideal, consider the barre method. It incorporates its own positive techniques along with some from both yoga and Pilates.
Barre will help you build and strengthen your muscles, improve your core strength and posture and give your body a lean and toned look. Unlike yoga and Pilates, which can sometimes take weeks and even months to see visible results, barre participants start seeing results in as little as eight workouts.
Another positive aspect of the barre method is the upbeat nature and feeling of community and camaraderie that is a natural result of the barre atmosphere. Unlike yoga and Pilates classes that often require quiet self-reflection, having fun is acceptable and encouraged in barre classes.
There’s plenty of opportunities for quiet concentration when you are focusing on the tiny muscle movements that are working your entire body from head to toe during every class. Your arms, abs, thighs and glutes will quickly reflect the results of your hard work.
Unlike yoga and Pilates, barre incorporates aerobics into each workout to strengthen your cardiovascular system and help you burn loads of calories. Barre’s ability to give you an intense cardio workout while remaining low-impact is another desirable benefit of the program.
Finding a Class That’s Right For You
Making the commitment to start an exercise program is an exciting first step in improving your life through increased physical and mental health. After all, what better investment can you make than in yourself? If you’ve struggled with not having enough time, money, energy or motivation to work out, push them aside and remember that you’re worth it. No excuses!
Before beginning any workout program, it’s always a good idea to consult your physician. Individuals with pre-existing injuries or medical conditions or those who don’t have an accurate knowledge of their current physical fitness level should always begin cautiously. It’s also extremely important to perform all workouts, no matter what fitness method you’re doing, under the supervision of a certified instructor. Their guidance and knowledge of proper form and technique will help you to achieve maximum results while avoiding injuries. They can also help you to safely modify workout activities to match your current fitness levels and goals. Whether you attend classes in a studio or at home through DVDs or streamed videos, the presence of a trained instructor is imperative.
PHYSIQUE57 is a motivating and inspiring provider of non-impact, ballet-barre classes. In addition to studio locations around the world, PHYSIQUE57 offers fun and effective online classes that can be streamed on-demand in the comfort of your own home and at the time that works best for you.
Our expert instructors will ensure that you are safely pushing yourself to your limits while having a great time doing it. Our PHYSIQUE57 community is here to support you along every step of your fitness journey and to help you to reach your fitness goals.
Yes, you’ll work hard, probably harder than you ever have before, but the results and feeling of empowerment you will gain are well worth the effort. Remember, you can start seeing visible results in as little as eight workouts! Visit our website today to stream your free trial class today. See how 57 minutes a day can change your life.