Barre has soared in popularity over the last 2 years and it was a 'go to' form of fitness for lots of us during the lockdown. It's a totally addictive form of fitness that requires minimal equipment so it's easy to see why it's become such a popular home workout option. The launch of online platforms has made Barre so much more accessible with the monthly membership cost being the same as just one class in a boutique Barre studio! If you haven't had the absolute pleasure of trying a Barre class yet then this blog post is going to take you through everything you need to know ahead of your first one.
What is Barre?
Barre is a one stop shop for all your fitness needs and is transformational when it comes to recovery from any injuries or niggles you may have. Inspired by the original Lotte Berk technique which brought together the world of ballet with physiotherapy and injury rehabilitation movements, 'Barre' has progressed over time and now includes aspects of functional strength training.
The Barre Coach method is a hybrid experience, combining the original technique with traditional strength training, HIIT, Pilates and elements of yoga. The classes are a blend of beginner level ballet positions and movements with more traditional strength and body weights movements like lunges, squats and press ups. The ballet element of these workouts is definitely there but it's minimal so you absolutely don't need any previous dance experience to enjoy these classes. The overall result is a workout that feels strong and empowering and will leave you feeling like you've discovered muscles you didn't even know you had. We're building full body strength, improving muscular endurance while working on flexibility, balance and coordination.
What to expect from a Barre class
We have a range of different classes including classic Barre sessions for all levels, some flexibility-focused Barre sessions that finish with some dedicated stretching time and some higher intensity cardio-based sessions. In a classic Barre session we'll start off with a warm up then the class is split into 4 sections where we'll work through sequences focusing on upper body then lower body followed by core and a floor barre section which is generally a glutes focused sequence.
Some key things you'll notice from your first session;
You'll hear lots of modification options being given out throughout the session to make sure everyone is able to workout at the right level of challenge for them. If you're brand new to Barre then you'll want to give yourself the time to be a beginner so taking these modification options is a great place to start and then progress over time.
The class pace is a wee bit faster than most Pilates sessions but still slow enough to give you time to take on board all the alignment cues and really focus on technique.
You will have underestimated how heavy light weights can feel! You've probably heard how Barre is known for endless pulsing and other tiny movements that look unsuspecting but hurt like hell and it's these movements that will make your weights feel super heavy but will also get you so much stronger over a short period of time.
You'll find your legs are uncontrollably shaky during parts of the class but don't worry, you won't be alone in this! The more I smile in a session, the more my legs are shaking.
You'll learn to engage your core in a way that feels so strong and safe and you'll be so chuffed how quickly you can progress your core work.
What are the benefits of Barre?
We touched on this a little already but I just wanted to highlight that the benefits of Barre fitness are as much mental as they are physical. It's a strong, well-paced practice that requires a lot of focus on technique so you have to be mentally 'in the room' which really helps you switch off from the outside world. In terms of physical benefits here are a few of the main ones;
It gets you stronger and improves your muscular endurance. With a mixture of full range movements and the endurance work of pulses you'll find you quickly get stronger over time. You'll also be encouraged to keep moving up to the next weight level when the time is right for you to progress 😜
Your posture will improve and lower back pain will be a thing of the past! There's a big focus on form and alignment and linking that to core stability which will really help strengthen your back.
Improved stability and balance. There's so much stabilising work that happens in the classes so you'll be constantly improving your stability and balance.
Better flexibility. There are stretchy moments built in to all aspects of the classes with a particularly strong focus on flexibility in the Barre & Stretch sessions. You'll be amazed how quickly your flexibility improves.
All the sessions are low impact but high intensity. This essentially means you're getting loads of bang for your workout buck without putting unnecessary pressure on your joints.
It's accessible to all levels.There's no doubt that the workouts are challenging but with all the modification options available, progressing your workouts is something that's totally in your control.
What equipment do you need for Barre?
You can do all our Barre sessions without any equipment but you'll definitely get more out of it if you have a few bits and pieces. You'll want to have a mat or some sort of soft surface as well as a high backed chair or table top that is around belly button height. I've popped a list and some links below for the extra pieces of equipment I'd recommend;
Light dumbbells - anything that's heavier than 1kg and lighter than 3kg works well. If you're brand new to Barre I'd recommend sticking to the lighter weights and working your way up.
A Pilates ball - I LOVE this piece of equipment. It adds so much to a Barre session and is a great one to take away with you if you wanted to do some classes while you're on your holibobs.
A pair of sliders - not the ones you wear on the beach but rather sliding discs! These are a great addition to cardio sessions to keep the movements low impact but high intensity and we'll also use these in classic Barre sessions to add a little extra challenge for the lower body.
A pair of ankle weights - these are great if you really want to challenge yourself. If you're brand new to Barre I probably wouldn't recommend starting out with these but they're a great addition once you're progressing with the sessions. If you're looking to purchase some I'd recommend either 1kg or 1.5kg each.
Yoga blocks - these are great if you want to work on your flexibility as they'll really support you in the stretch sessions.
What to wear for Barre?
I'd recommend anything that's similar to what you'd wear for yoga or Pilates. Comfy leggings and a top which you can move in. You don't want to wear any shoes and only wear socks if they have the sticky bottoms so you don't slip - personally I love doing it in bare feet but that's just a personal preference! If you feel comfortable to then wearing a figure hugging top will really help me give you feedback on your posture and core engagement in the live sessions but it's totally up to you.
How The Barre Coach Online studio will support you with your Barre fitness journey;
The Barre Coach online studio is set up in such a way that will help you create consistent and sustainable fitness habits. Here's just a handful of ways this membership is here to support you in your Barre fitness journey;
You can take advantage of a complimentary 30 minute private class to get you started on your Barre journey. This is a chance for us to chat about where you are currently on your fitness journey and allow me to make personalised workout recommendations for you.
The monthly membership includes access to 6 live group sessions every week. The live classes are a hoot and such a nice opportunity to meet the other Barre gals. It's also a great opportunity for me to see how you're getting on with the classes and give you any technique tweaks that you might need.
The video library is home to over 200 workouts across a range of different challenge levels so you can find workouts that are the right level of challenge for you. Sessions vary from as short as 10 minutes up to 60 minute sessions including full body workouts and shorter muscle group specific sessions.
You'll become part of a group of the loveliest Barre gals who are all about celebrating each other's achievements. They're the perfect group to inspire you to stay consistent with your workouts.
If you are new to Barre and want to join the gang then sign up today to become a member and enjoy a free 7-day trial. Your monthly subscription gives you access to live classes as well as a whole library of Barre workouts to do in your own time. You'll become part of the most encouraging and supportive team of Barre babes and even join us for regular challenges and Barre retreats.
Sign up now to get started or contact me at email@example.com for more information.