Dance to Ballet to Barre – Here’s a new workout!
There’s a new exercise in town & it’s called the barre workout. There was dance & then came Zumba. There was nature & then came Yogic postures modeled on the various elements available in nature. There was ballet (A dance form) & then came Barre. I was reading up about barre to collaborate with Kelly for this post & realized that the barre workout was a classic case of – Necessity is the mother of invention. According to this article by Greatist, the barre method was discovered by a German dancer Lotte Berk in the late 1950’s. After injuring her back, Lotte Berk decided to combine her training in dance with rehabilitative therapy. She went ahead and came up with a sequence of poses & coined the workout as a barre workout. No points for guessing, the word “barre” is derived from Ballet – The dance form.
I was looking at this video by LA Laker’s girl – Jacquelyn Umof on YouTube & my first impression was that – barre is a work out that combines the grace from the ballet dance with a few Yoga like movements to help you strengthen the core muscles. If you are in the mood of trying a work-out right away, Here’s the video you could look at –
What are the three different types of muscle contractions in workouts?
Largely there are three types of muscle contractions – Concentric, Eccentric & Isometric.
Concentric Exercises – You contract a muscle and exert load/tension on it & therefore work it out.
Eccentric Exercises – You lengthen the muscle and exert load/tension on it & therefore work it out.
Isometric Exercises – You keep the length of the muscle constant & still work it out.
It’s a no-brainer that a well-formed workout will combine all three types of movements to work the muscles out well. But, it also means that Isometric exercise routines can be used by someone who is recovering from an injury itself. Since we are keeping the muscle static, we prevent the muscle from injuring itself further, but still, help it build more strength.
Isometric exercises can be performed with your own body weight. So, like the HIIT workouts, Isometric exercises can literally be performed at your own convenience & they come with a set of benefits –
- Exercise at your own convenience
- May help you rehabilitate from an injury
- May help you lower the blood pressure
- May relieve depression
I went ahead and spoke with Kelly N who is a Yogi & a Barre instructor to get her expert comments on a few questions I had. Here’s a presentation of her thoughts –
What is a barre workout?
I think of barre as a dance party with weights, push-ups and dare I say, sometimes burpees (at least in my classes there are)! But really, it is a fun, energetic & a multi-discipline workout inspired by movements from ballet, Pilates, and Yoga. So, if you are looking to tone your butt, legs, abs & arms and still have fun, barre is your deal. You can also expect a cardio element, where the instructor will rev up the heart by bringing in a cardio sequence. I’m not going to lie, I’ve seen my heart rate peak as high as 160 in my cardio blasts!
The ballet barre is our staple & you will usually see a variety of other equipment used to complement the workout, including light free weights, resistance bands, mat and bender balls. And the music is everything! We love to pulse to the beat of booty shaking music!
How do barre workouts benefit me?
I often hear from the people who take my class that the workout was harder than they expected, And this comes in from everyone – whether it is a hockey player, a strength trainer or your typical fitness enthusiast. Did I mention, I do get an occasional male walking into a Barre class?!
The reason Barre is a challenging workout is that we focus on a couple of different areas. First, we focus on muscle endurance that includes sustained muscle contraction for a period. Think of a higher number of repetitions with a lower resistance to get that muscle burn! Secondly, we focus on the smaller muscles that do not get a lot of activation. So, when these muscles are forced to activate, it adds to the challenge. The result –long lean and toned muscles.
Can barre workouts help me lose weight?
You know, I always find this question funny because I truly believe it is less about losing weight and more about how you feel after. When I think of why people come to my class, it’s not about the class, the mat or the barre. It is about them. It is about being able to come to a place that allows them to challenge their body and mind, be their best self and leave feeling better than when they walked in. It is also about feeling a part of a community of like-minded individuals who are in the same room with a goal of becoming better together. But to answer your question – I am going to counter a question: If you are burning an average of 400-500 calories in an hour, do you think you will lose weight?
What’s your personal journey with Barre?
I always say Yoga is my first love. I’ve been a yogi for over 10 years and a barre star for over 4 years. With yoga, it all started with that first chaturanga and with barre, it all started with that first pulse.
I loved the flexibility and the strong core that yoga gave me. But it wasn’t until I started bringing barre into my regular routine that I really noticed the change in my muscle definition and tone. Because of barre, I started to get a lot stronger and confident, and it’s allowed me to bring in other fitness routines that I never thought I could (or loved before) – such as the circuit, HIIT, spin and even boxing!
I loved what yoga and barre gave me and wanted to be able to share a piece of that with others in a big way – that’s when I got certified for both barre and yoga! I now teach at a great local boutique studio in my city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. We offer a complete and balanced fitness experience under 1 roof – you get 3 studios for 1 price!
Can you recommend a few online resources where people can start doing Barre at home?
YouTube has become my best friend to find new inspiration and ideas! There are a few channels I follow from reputable fitness instructors including Tracey Mallet (I am certified under Tracey’s instructor program – Booty Barre), Physique 57, and CodyApp.com. Since almost everyone asks for some toned legs, a tight booty, and strong arms, here are 3 videos I will leave you with:
Barre for the Booty – Tracey Mallet
Barre for the legs – P57 Workouts
Barre for the Arms – Cody App
Have you ever tried the barre? I would love to know your comments about the barre in the comments section below.