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Booty and the Barre

I hear these questions all the time:

"I have never done barre before, do you think I will be able to get through a class?”

“I’m in my mid-fifties, am I too old for barre?”

“I have some back issues; do you think barre will be good for me?”

“What is a barre class like?”

You wouldn't believe how many women are interested but hesitant to try a barre class for the first time. They've seen it advertised on info-commercials and have heard friends talking about the barre classes they are taking the various barre studios in town, and now they are curious to try it for themselves.

Barre class is a combination of dance, Pilates and yoga. In the classes we teach at The Pilates Place, barre involves standing and stretching and performing strengthening exercises for the legs and glutes at the barre; using core muscles for control and balance while standing, and performing more core exercises while on a mat and yoga moves for stretching. Exercises for strengthening the arms and back are also included in our one hour barre class. In an hour’s time, you have strengthened, stretched and streamlined the muscles of your body.

Best of all, you don’t have to be a dancer, under 50, “physically fit”, coordinated, limber or wear the latest Lulu Lemon ensemble to participate. I do encourage individuals with specific injuries with physical limitations in movement to go to a class where the teacher is knowledgeable and experienced with working with individuals who need to be shown modifications to the barre exercises while they become stronger so that they can challenge themselves in class, without doing more harm to their bodies.

I also encourage learning at a studio that focuses on technique and form with the barre teacher being certified in a barre method. And when possible, taking class with a teacher who has a Pilates certification or works in a studio where Pilates is taught, ensuring there will have a good understanding of the core and how it should work in cooperation with the rest of the body during barre exercises.

Barre is challenging. However, it's incredibly fun and a very different experience than found in most “gym” type class environments. I appreciate the benefits it offers; stronger, leaner, more toned thighs; firmer, “higher” more rounded seat, stronger abs, nicely defined muscles arms and back muscles without the bulk, and better balance and control of movement.

And finally, I really enjoy hearing the sighs and laughter and the encouraging words that clients share back and forth when we have finished the class and they are wiping down their mats, and talking about “that exercise that really made my legs shake”, describing how “those Therabands really work my arms”, exclaming “I know I will feel it in the morning!”, and perhaps my favorite, hearing group class members encourage each other through the workout.

I always share with my new barre clients that "we've all had our first class." Meaning, we all looked around and wondered what was going on; worried that possibly we wouldn’t get through the class, feared looking foolish, blah blah blah. But then we got through that first class, fell in love with the method, enjoyed the challenge and the changes we saw in our bodies by coming to class again and again, and gained a new confidence in our journey to our best self. I urge you all to get your booty to the barre! -Julee

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