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Barre 101: Why You Should Try a Barre Class

Barre 101: Why You Should Try a Barre Class

Part ballet, part yoga, and all hard work, if you though Barre looked like people just standing by the wall lifting tiny dumbbells while holding on to a bar, you are sadly mistaken. 

While the dumbbells may be light, the constant, repetitive movement with them means after a while, they get heavy, and more than that they totally give you a workout.

What is Barre?

Barre is a type of exercise set up in a class, sequenced structure which is divided into body components, working the biceps and triceps of the arms, the quads, hamstrings and calves of the legs, and finally the core and glutes.  It involves doing repeated exercises, using dumbbells for the arms component and on tippy toes for the legs component, which are sequenced to music. 

Why You Need To Do Barre!

The premise behind Barre is using small, repetitive movements to exercise muscles that aren’t usually worked.  When you do exercise such as running, or lifting weights, it is the large muscles that you are working: your quadriceps, biceps, hamstrings, triceps etc.  While building these muscles is important, because they are worked so often, they are already strong and built up.  The little accessory muscles however are not very often worked and are a key player in your performance as an athlete and in your ability to refine your performance, whether that be to run a few seconds faster or lift a few kilos more.  You can think of it like this: your big muscles, like your quads and biceps are the tires of the car.  The little muscles – the ones worked during a Barre class – are the bolts and screws that hold the tire in place.  Without either component, you wouldn’t be able to drive your car, and the same goes for your body and your ability as an athlete.  The difference however, is that we regularly have the tire bolts checked, serviced and tightened, but for many people, they don’t regularly work their small accessory muscles. 

What should I expect in a Barre Class?

Now that you know what Barre is and why you should do it, what should you expect from your first class?  You should expect it to burn!  Even individuals who are fit and strong will be burning at some point during the class as they find those one or two muscles that haven’t been worked in their regular routine.  You can expect to stand most of the time, holding onto a barre attached to the wall or to the floor and to feel like you are in a class that is part yoga and stretching, part strengthening and part just grit and willpower to work through those burning, shaking legs.   The instructor will play music and the exercises will move to the beat of the music, while he or she demonstrates, counts and performs some of the exercises with you to help you stay on track.  You can likely expect for the first few times to leave sore, feel sore the next day, and to feel like you spend half the class a little behind or trying to figure out what she means by that exercise description.  Don’t worry: after a few times you’ll be used to what the exercises are and know what you’re doing and if you stick with it, you’ll start to see some great definition as a result.  Don’t be afraid: start today and give Barre a try at your local studio!

By: Laura Peill – (Check out her blog Viand Nutrition & Facebook)  

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