With Summer mode officially set to “ON”, now is the perfect time to try Barre.

Barre workouts are a mix of Pilates and ballet inspired sculpting moves.

Ballet Barre workouts are a great way to get the long lean look, typically associated with a dancer’s body. No tutu necessary. Here are my top 5 reasons to do barre.

Strength and definition.

One of the most beneficial aspects of regularly attending barre class is that you will gain a lot of strength. You’ll notice your muscles toning up. The class targets each section of the body from all angles. For example, when we focus on your thighs, the various exercises will challenge your inner and outer thighs whilst also working the front of your legs. You end up working multiple muscle groups at the same time. The majority of barre classes are made up of isometric contractions. This is where the muscle tenses without changing shape. You can do more reps with this style of working which fatigue your muscles in a different way and tackle smaller muscles that usually get ignored. Higher-repetitions, low-weight exercises target slow-twitch muscles, which help increase endurance. Plus, isometric movements can help strengthen muscles without straining tendons or ligaments. This means there’s less risk of injury compared to more traditional strength training. The result is a full-body workout that will leave you sore in the best way.

Flexibility.

The focused stretching in a barre class can help you increase the flexibility of your muscles and the range of motion of your joints. This will consequently reduce your risk of injury and can lead to more freedom of movement. Tension and tightness in your muscles and the tendons around them can lead to back pain and bad posture, this can make everyday tasks like bending down or twisting to reach something from the top self really difficult. Stretching out your muscles will help relieve stress and allow you to move through your day with a little more ease.  You don’t need to be super bendy to come to class. Over time you will notice yourself getting more flexible and open. Barre classes focus on both strength and flexibility so that the two go hand in hand. Joseph Pilates once said: “true flexibility can be achieved only when all muscles are uniformly developed.”

Posture.

Core muscles are activated throughout the entire class. They can be used for the primary focus of an exercise or act as a stabiliser when you perform a move that targets a different area of the body such as your legs or arms. Conditioning of the muscles around the core and back are so important in the promotion of better posture and spinal health. Slouching at a computer can lead to back ache and neck pain. This poor posture can play a part in headaches and sometimes migraines. Barre teaches you to keep your shoulders melted away from your ears and find length through your spine. Proper alignment of the hips, spine, shoulders and head is crucial to many of the moves performed in barre and favoured over high legs or flashy moves. Noticing your posture in class will make you more aware of each time your shoulders slump forward at your desk. Over time, with little reminders every once in a while, you’ll automatically stand a little taller.

Mindy – Body Connection.

Barre helps to create a body & mind relationship, where concentration, focus and co-ordination all come together. An important part of the exercises is that they push you to focus and isolate different areas of your body, while maintaining a balanced breathing pattern and stabilising throughout the rest of the body. It is with focus and concentration that you are more likely to benefit from the exercise. If you feel your mind starting to stray, don’t worry, your teacher will you back in the room with step-by-step instructions on where to position your body while also offering hands-on corrections to adjust your alignment. The smaller movements in a barre class can bring a new level of awareness to the body that you don’t get in regular strength workouts.

It’s Fun.

Pumping tunes, endorphin-inducing movements and friendly teachers make this workout an absolute pleasure. One of the reasons people find themselves sticking with barre isn’t just because they see incredible results, it’s because barre fitness is a lot of fun. You’ll find that the time spent in class passes very quickly due to the fast pace, variety of exercises and ever-changing choreography. It’s never the same class twice!

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