It is a common misconception that you have to be a ballet dancer to do barre work. But the reality is that there is absolutely no dance experience required. It is true that barre is used extensively in ballet training and warm up exercises but barre work is an excellent workout in and of itself. It can help improve flexibility and strength in individuals looking for an alternative workout. Most people are surprised to find out that barre is much more of a workout than it appears. Here are the top 10 benefits of taking a barre class:
- Makes you stronger: The isometric contractions that make up the bulk of a barre class occur when the muscle tenses without changing length. What’s wonderful about the one-inch movements is that you can hold a posture and benefit from continuously engaging the muscle, but you also get a mini-recovery with each pulse, so you can stay in the hold longer. You'll see improvements in your posture, overall body strength, and even your balance.
- Targets multiple muscle groups at once: It’s a highly efficient workout since you’re doing two to four movements—holding, pulsing, and stretching— at a time in each move. Working all these areas at once also helps raise your heart rate.
- Improves mind and body concentration: The smaller movements in a barre class can bring a new level of awareness to your body that you don’t get in regular strength workouts. Barre can improve muscular activation for frequently underused muscles by strengthening the neuromuscular (mind-body) connection.
- Increases endurance: The constant strength training also helps with increasing your heart rate and endurance. The small movements are done fast-paced style, with short breaks here and there to catch your breath.
- It’s fun and upbeat: Because it’s incorporated with dance, barre is a fun and exciting way to work out. The atmosphere will make the workout enjoyable, so you’ll want to keep coming back for more! You will establish friendships and new connections among your fellow participants.
- Weight loss: Barre targets the largest muscle groups in the body (like your thighs and glutes). The larger the muscle, the more calories burned. As you continue, you will begin to build more lean muscle mass, raising your metabolic rate, which can help you produce more energy and burn more calories.
- Core strength: The beauty of barre is that you engage your core the entire time – so even if you are working out your arms or thighs, you are always engaging, and therefore strengthening, the core as well. A strong core can increase your performance in all other activities in your life, whether you’re playing tennis or just lifting your children.
- Reduces cellulite: Aerobic activity is a key factor in getting rid of cellulite! Barre exercises are fat blasting because it focuses on your lower body and is designed to help you drop pounds. If you want to fit into your skinny jeans, have killer legs and a great looking butt, or you just want to go from a good shape to a better one, barre is for you!
- Improves flexibility: Ballet stretches are a major part of the session done at the end of each interval, so the muscles are elongated, bulk is reduced and therefore balance and alignment are achieved.
- Increases bone health: The more you practice barre, your muscles get stronger. The constant tension and resistance placed on the muscles has an effect on your bones that makes them stronger, which is key to warding off osteoporosis with age.
Barre instructors are trained to teach a class offering safe progressive options. When taking a Barre class, you'll always feel challenged, yet consciously aware of what is right for your body. Barre classes teach you to find the strength of the dancer within you. This is what helps transform your body. If you are interested in exploring the world of Barre, try a Barre class and take your fitness to new heights.