Barre is one of my FAVORITE workouts. I love that shake and burn that every class brings and the fact that I still get sore after nearly every barre class is amazing.
Maybe you’ve heard of barre classes, but aren’t quite sure what exactly barre is. Every barre studio is a little bit different in their methods, but most barre classes incorporate a combination of postures that are inspired by ballet, yoga and pilates. What each instructor/studio does beyond these movements gives them their special niche. You will find a variety of types of barre and they all will give you a full-body workout.
Barre classes tone your hips, abs, booty, thighs and arms. You will experience isometric movements (lots of holding positions) along with high rep small movements (pulsing) to exhaust all your muscle groups. Some classes will incorporate full-range movements and even bursts of cardio for a higher calorie burn. Props such as hand weights, balls, glider disks, and bands might be used to incorporate more muscles and give you a serious burn (it’s all good). The entire workout is done barefoot, or you can wear grippy-type socks.
Here are some tips for barre newbies.
Arrive early. Get to the studio about 15 minutes early. Meet the instructor. Get set up. Take it all in.
Bring a towel and water. You will need to hydrate and wipe that sweat away.
Introduce yourself to your neighbor. You might just meet a new workout buddy. And, you now have someone you can make faces at when you both are feeling a love/hate relationship for chair pose (or any other challenging pose).
Don’t be intimidated. Yes, it’s a great workout, but you can’t expect to be a barre master your first class. Everyone has been in your shoes and has experienced their first class OR they are right there with you experiencing it for their first time.
Listen to the instructor. The instructor will cue you for correct posture. Use the mirrors, not your neighbor. Miss Betty Barre, the girl next to you that looks like she has perfect posture might not. So, listen and watch the instructor. Keep your core engaged and the rest will come. And remember, less is usually more in barre.
Take breaks. I’ve taken barre classes for almost three years and I still take break (after I start shaking like crazy). It’s okay.
Let your legs shake. Yes, you will shake, this is normal. If you don’t, then you’re not a real, live human. Sometimes your legs will shake so uncontrollably and you might even bust out a laugh, I do. Remember, you can take a break, then get back into it.
Wear leggings or capris. Not that you can’t wear shorts, but there are a lot of leg lifts and sometimes movements that are performed on the floor. You might be more comfortable wearing bottoms that hit below the knee.
Smile. This may sound corny, but seriously crack a smile, it helps get you through some of the most uncomfortable seconds in class.
Do it again. Yes, you will be sore, but I always say, you’ll never be as sore as you were after your first class. Your body will remember the movements and it will become easier. Not easy, but easier. Soon, you will be able to hold poses longer and get deeper into the postures. As long as you keep it up, your body will change. I’ve seen some regular barre goers transform their bodies. It’s an amazing workout.
Are you ready to give it a shot? What have you got to lose? Just do it! My go-to barre studio in the Minneapolis area is Haute Barre. They have a great deal for new clients – only $35 for two weeks of UNLIMITED classes!
My advice is to allow yourself to take 3-5 classes to decide what you really think. This goes for any new workout you try.