Written by Tara Shafrath (former SDSU Extension Health & Physical Activity Field Specialist).
Ballerinas have been doing Barre workouts for years, and now in the 21st century these awesome workouts are now considered mainstream. Ballet Barre workouts have been become very popular in the last 10 years and have found their way to South Dakota.
What is a Barre Workout?
Barre workouts are a combination of yoga and Pilates poses, which utilize a ballet barre to execute the movements. Barre uses isometric exercises that target the whole body. Barre participants hold exercise poses for a set amount of time and then pulse for a series of repetitions. Pulses are small and controlled movements that are no larger than 5 inches. Barre is a class geared to increase muscle strength and endurance but will also increase as well as increase your heart rate. Most Barre classes will consist of a resistance portion where you “feel the burn” followed by a brief stretching break.
Who can do Barre?
Anyone!! Men, women, boys and girls of all ages, shapes and sizes. You don’t have to be a ballerina to practice Barre poses. Barre is a low impact activity. It can easily be tailored to meet your body’s specific needs. Most Barre classes will allow participants to go at their own pace.
What to expect?
Barre is a full body workout. It will involve exercises geared to tone your arms, legs and abs. Many classes will give participants the option of using small hand weights, resistance bands and stability balls. Tip: if it is your first class, opt for lighter hand weights or no hand weights at all. It will give you a sense of your ability level and how your body will react to the exercises. Throughout class, your teacher will likely give you prompts to help you avoid injury and get the most out of your workout. You will likely have sore muscles after your first couple workouts, which just means you worked them hard. Most of all, you can expect to sweat and have lots of fun!!
What do I wear?
A typical Barre class is done barefoot or in socks. You have the option of purchasing special sticky socks, however this is not necessary. Wear clothes you feel comfortable being active in such as yoga pants or capris, and a light breathable top. You will need a bottle of water to stay hydrated throughout the class and a sweat towel may come in handy as well. Most of all, arrive with a smile on your face and a good attitude because you are about to get the best workout of your life.
Next time you are in the mood to switch up your workout routine, try a Barre class! Do a search of fitness studios in your area and inquire if they offer Barre. You won’t regret it!