Fri, Sep 20, 2013
Hey y’all! I’m Presley and I blog over at Run Pretty.
I tend to ramble about all sorts of life and fitness nonsense, so it’s pretty hard for me to sum the ol’ blog up.
Luckily for me, Carla is generously letting me share my thoughts on Barre workout classes today.
Bless her for helping me find at least a little direction in a post for once.
Fact: I am not a ballerina.
Well, I mean, I took ballet for a year when I was a kid. Does that count?
I should add that I quit because I had trouble with the whole grace, dedication, and ability to follow directions thing. Not much has changed since then. However, I do kind of love ballet now. Ballet in the fitness form, or Barre, has totally and completely stolen my heart.
If you haven’t tried a Barre class, you definitely should.
Barre is a ballet-inspired class that focuses on small, isolated movements done to popular, upbeat music.
It ain’t the Nutcracker, folks. The type of Barre class I’ve been going to consists of a warm up, upper body work with light hand weights, lower body work at the barre, abdominal work on a mat, and a cool down. We sometimes use a light resistance ball and bands, too.
You’d think that micro-movements, like only moving your hips an inch or so at a time, would be pretty simple. It’s so much more challenging than it seems.
I promise you, if you have a great instructor, you will be ready to run away crying. In a beautiful way, of course.
While Barre is a fabulous workout, it’s not your average class.
There are a few things you should know before you head in for your first workout.
1.) You do not need to be a ballerina. I have all the eloquence of a toddler. I am the last person that anyone would ever consider graceful, so you’d think that a ballet-inspired class wouldn’t be for me. The key term here is inspired. The class is loosely based on the type of movements used in ballet.
2.) It’s not as easy as it looks. The best Barre classes will leave you feeling like you’ve been pushing semi-trucks around when in reality, you’ve barely moved your body. It’s pretty insane actually. There are a range of movements in class, but the real killers are the tiniest tweaks in your position.
3.) Be prepared to be confused. If you aren’t familiar with ballet lingo, you’ll be scratching your head at a few of the Barre terms. It only takes a few minutes to figure it all out, though. For all you superstar students, it wouldn’t hurt to study a little before class either.
4.) Arrive early. Your instructor can help you prepare for your first class. The classes are pretty fast-paced, so it’s better to get your main questions over with before you begin. On that same note, many gyms offer introductory, or beginner, Barre classes. Those are great if you’re really nervous about your first class!
5.) Bring water. While this rings true for every single workout, I just want to throw that reminder in here. Am awesome bonus, is you can use your water as an excuse to wimp out a little early during squats at the barre. Kidding. Kind of.
6.) Take any necessary breaks. You should feel a pretty intense burn during class, but seriously y’all, stop if you need to. No one benefits from pure torture. You should be hurtin’, but you shouldn’t hurt yourself. Catch my drift?
7.) Ask for modifications. If you have back or knee issues, if you are pregnant, or if you are just beginning your fitness journey, do not be afraid to ask for help. Inform your instructor before class of any health issues and they will be able to offer a myriad of modifications for you. Barre is great for most people, so don’t let anything hold you back!
8.) Form is everything. You know how there are some classes that getting up and moving is the focus? This is not one of them. Try your best to mimic the instructors form to maximize your results and prevent injury. I know I personally stayed after class a few times to make sure I was doing each one correctly. Also, wearing form-fitting clothing will help you judge your own form.
I almost added another point about equipment, but honestly, there isn’t much to tell.
The main equipment you need for class is the barre. And well, that’s the big rod screwed into the wall.Pretty sure your gym is going to provide that.
Also, buying Barre socks is optional. I tend to toss them off half of the time anyway. I think that one is a personal preference! Test the water during your first class before making any Barre-related purchases.
Another huge plus about Barre workouts is that they can be done at home when you can’t make it to the gym.
Do you have a chair? Well, congratulations, you have your very own Barre studio.
So, there ya have it. The Barre basics, from someone who sucks at ballet.
PS: I think we just became best friends.