It seems barre classes – ballet-inspired workouts that incorporate elements of yoga and pilates – are all the rage these days. I signed up to join a studio after seeing an online deal, and I’ve never once regretted that decision. In fact, it’s probably one of the better decisions I ever made (read Getting Back Into A Regular Exercise Regimen). Personally, I have a hard time dragging myself to the gym and have found classes are the way to go. Also, given I took ballet classes for 15 years when I was younger, I loved the idea of classes that incorporated some of the same fundamentals. After taking my first few classes, I soon found that not only were they technically not difficult (no ballet background required), physically they packed a punch.
Cindy Via, a senior RN Manager at Banner Desert Medical Center, explained some of the benefits of taking a barre class.
“Barre exercises are excellent because the techniques required actually decrease the amount of stress on your joints, unlike some other high impact classes,” she said “Barre technique principles are based on isometric exercises that focus on specific muscle groups that increase strength, while also increasing the heart rate.”
In other words, you leave class feeling confident you got a worthwhile workout in for the day!
So, what else can you expect in a barre class?
- As the name would suggest, most barre classes incorporate the use of a barre attached to the wall. A lot of times other props (or torture devices, as I like to call them) are used, such as yoga mats, balls, small weights, resistance bands, etc.
- Lots of reps vs. lots of weight – to encourage lean, toned muscles, not bulk. Often, a lot of the moves just use your own body weight for resistance.
- Emphasis on proper body positioning – quality of moves over a lot of sloppily done ones.
- It’s all about the core! Core muscle groups, that is. Basically, all the muscle groups that support your spine.
- Lots of stretching – which has its own benefits. Flexibility is very important, especially as you get older.
If you’re thinking “I’m more of a go to the gym and do my own thing kind of person,” Via explained why you may want to consider signing up for a fitness class.
“Over time, performing the same exercise routine results in a predicted muscle group performance response,” she said. “Changing your exercise routine creates a positive challenge for your muscle groups.”
So, go ahead and belly up to the barre! This is one fitness trend worth jumping on.