Barre Fusion, Barre Basics, Ballet Barre class…the names all have one thing in common, and a single originator. Barre ballet as a form of exercise combines movements from ballet, yoga, and Pilates. Here are four reasons why you should try ballet barre classes.
Origins of Barre Classes
The idea of having a fitness class that was influenced by ballet and the use of the barre originally came from a lady named Lotte Berk. Her naughty wit and straight talk won her many admirers. She created her original method from the basement of a West End (London) basement, while hiding from the Nazis, during World War II. She was the originator of utilizing the pelvic tilt that is so popular as a method of introducing folks to their core, and she insisted upon calling it the “lovemaking position.” I told you she was a bit naughty!
Now that you know who really began this whole trend, the branches of the tree fan out from there into all sorts of barre-related classes. They all have a few things in common that combine to make it a great class that you should try!
4 Reasons to Try Barre Classes
1. Rapid Strength Gain
Barre classes are based on ballet moves that maximize fatigue. First, we exhaust the muscle, then stretch it out at the end of class. You get both muscular strength and flexibility in one class by using intense movements and lots of repetitions. Full range of motion and smaller pulsing movements at the peak of the muscular contraction with good alignment mean you get results fast.
2. Injury and rehab prevention
In barre classes, you’ll be working your entire body with focus on feet, ankles, knees, hips, and spine with little to no impact. This builds stability and strength so that your body can support you better, with little risk for injury. Strong and healthy joints and structure aid in fall prevention. And if you do fall, your body will withstand that better with a stronger structure. If you have issues like herniated discs, strengthening the structures around them is essential to healing. Because barre focuses on proper alignment, you will strengthen safely and functionally.
3. Improved posture
In today’s culture of phones and devices, our posture as a society is declining, and with that decline comes a head forward posture and neck and upper back pain. Correcting this is one of the most important things I work on as a personal trainer. And barre class is focused on standing tall, with the shoulders back, and the chest lifted. Elongation and proper alignment work all the way from you feet to your head.
Pro tip: Throughout the day, roll your shoulders down and back, pull your shoulder blades together, and then set them back and down. Elongate through your neck. Remind yourself as often as needed, especially if you sit at a desk all day. Doing so will help prevent upper back and shoulder fatigue, and neck pain. And, you’ll look like you lost weight when you stand taller!
4. Increased Flexibility
In each class, you will focus on strength and alignment, but also on increasing range of motion through elongation and stretching. If this is one of your weaknesses, then consider this a great class for you! We utilize the barre to help us stretch and lengthen the muscles throughout the body. Little by little, your body opens up and responds to the stretches. One of my class participants began taking barre with me at age 69. At that point, she couldn’t get her leg up to the barre for a hamstrings stretch. By her birthday at age 70, she could easily lift her leg to the barre, and even stretch forward toward the leg. The improvement was marked, and I will occasionally point to her as an example of how consistency in coming to class will gain you amazing results at any age!
Barre Classes in Glendale
Barre Basics, offered at River Glen, Monday and Wednesday mornings, from 7:30 – 8:00 a.m.
Elite Sports Clubs offers various barre classes, so be sure to check the online schedule for the option that works best for you schedule.Set up a Free Fitness Consultation
Written by Melissa Abramovich, ACE CPT, NASM CGT, AAHFRP Medical Exercise Specialist at Elite Sports Club-River Glen
Melissa Abramovich went into Personal Training and Group Exercise instruction after successfully losing 140 pounds through healthy diet and exercise. Her desire to help others drove her forward into a career helping others to make healthier choices. She is an ACE certified personal trainer and now also a Medical Exercise Specialist (AAHFRP), helping clients with a myriad of health issues at Elite Sports Clubs. She holds a Bachelor’s degree, and many group exercise related certifications as well.