Ballet Barre Exercises Are Worth A Try? -

Ballet Barre Exercises Are Worth A Try?

Barre-lieve it WilcoWellness

If you’re wondering, is barre enough of a workout? You better barre-lieve it!

Barre is a unique exercise that combines yoga, pilates, and ballet to improve strength and posture, flexibility and balance, stability and endurance, muscle definition, and weight loss, all in one. Oh, and one of the best parts? You can easily do your barre workout at home and many barre studios in Williamson County offer live stream classes and on-demand classes too.

 If you have been scanning the internet for a barre workout near me, we have you covered. And if you’re wondering, is barre enough of a workout? You better barre-lieve it; this total-body workout is verifiably worth it (and no, you don’t have to wear spandex).

 

A Brief History of Barre

If you’re worried that your body isn’t cut out for barre—don’t be. This workout is for everyone. In fact, it was first developed in 1959 by the ballerina, Lotte Berk, after injuring her back. Determined not to let herself get out of shape, she combined her ballet exercises with her rehabilitative therapy and pioneered a fitness program that anyone of any fitness level can benefit from.

After discovering this unique method, Berk opened her first barre studio in her West End basement. Fun fact? The marvelous Barbra Streisand was one of her first students. Barre slowly but surely grew in popularity over the following decades, but it wasn’t until the release of the film Black Swan that barre hit the big time. And we’re glad it did!

 

What is Barre Exercise Good For?

Barre isn’t considered a high-impact workout, although it will get your heart pumping. This unique regimen combines yoga, pilates, ballet, stretching, and sometimes dance along with what are called isometric holds. What that means is, throughout the workout your muscles stay constantly contracted and engaged.

Rather than flitting (and panting) about the studio like you might for another aerobics class like jazzercise, barre brings your heartbeat up then allows you to cool down while focusing on strength and posture-building hold. This is one heck of a total-body workout we are talking about. The health benefits are vast:

 

  • Strengthens muscles: Your muscles are always engaged during a barre workout session. If you’re expecting to bulk up, barre may not be for you; think long, strong, and lean.
  • Full-body workout: Rather than working your legs one day and your abs the next, barre takes care of multiple muscle groups all at once.
  • Raises heart rate: As far as cardio goes, barre isn’t as intense as running, cycling, or rowing, but it does boost your heart rate as you move one from beat to the next and make smaller, pulsing movements with each pose.
  • Connects mind and body: Barre can improve your spatial and bodily awareness and help you be more balanced and less prone to falls.
  • Burns fat: Barre targets muscle groups throughout the body and raises the metabolic heart rate, helping you burn fat and feel more energized.
  • Improves flexibility: Ballerinas are notoriously flexible, and ballet stretches are a big part of barre that can help protect your body from injuries.

 

What to Expect at Your First Barre Class:

 While the barre method is generally consistent from studio to studio, keep in mind that each studio does things a bit differently and teachers bring different methods and paces to their classes. To brief you on the basics of barre, let’s focus on the four different components you are most likely to encounter at class: ballet, pilates, yoga, and stretching. You can expect to be challenged with moves like these:

 

  • Cat/Cow: Warm up your abs and your spine with this yoga-inspired move. Begin by standing with your feet slightly wider than your hips and angle your feet outwards slightly to protect your knees. Bend at the waist and seat yourself at an imaginary chair with your hands resting on your up thighs. Take a deep breath and draw your belly button in, bring your chin to your chest, and round your back like an angry cat. As you exhale, lift your chin straight forward, push your chest out and stretch that back. Just five reps are needed here!
  • Arabesque lunges: Your glutes and legs will thank you for this one. Start by standing with your hands resting on a chair with your left foot slightly angled outwards. Squeeze and tighten your lower body muscles. Then, lift onto your toes, snap your right leg behind you into an arabesque, bring your legs back together, and draw that right leg behind you into a lunge before returning to your starting position. To feel the burn, start by doing 10 reps on each side.
  • Horse pose: Here’s an example of an isolated hold that pulses, keeping lower body muscle groups engaged throughout. Begin by standing with one hand on the chair and your legs nice and wide so that you can squat at a 90-degree angle. Stack your shoulders over your hips and squat. Instead of coming back up, stay low and pulse up and down slightly, keeping your glutes and leg muscles contracted. Challenge yourself to do this for one minute to begin.
  • Triangle poses with a modifier: Yoginis know the triangle pose well. Start by standing with your legs wide enough that you can bend forward and place one hand on the ground or your ankle. Twist your chest out and up towards the ceiling and extend your free arms towards the ceiling. Slowly bring your gaze upwards to focus on your hand. You should feel this one in your obliques.

 

Barre Workout Classes in Williamson County 

 Okay, so maybe you would prefer having a teacher lead the way. We have some excellent options for barre workout classes nearby in Williamson County, both in the studio and outdoors. Not sure where to try barre? A community awaits you!

 

  • Barre3 in Cedar Park: If you’re new to barre, this studio is a great place to start. They offer one free class for new students and offer what they call a “science-backed approach” and emphasize that teachers have plenty of modifiers to suggest so that everyone will feel comfortable participating regardless of their individual fitness level.
  • Todd Pilates & Barre in Austin: With three locations in Austin and another opening soon, Todd Pilates offers their first class for $5 and your first 10 classes for 50% off. If it’s difficult for you to head to the studio, you can also jump in on their virtual classes or stream on-demand classes anywhere in the world you are.
  • Pure Barre in Round Rock: Comparatively, Pure Barre maybe a little on the expensive side but what you get is a proven method taught by highly-trained instructors as well as the experience of training with one of the original barre studios. First-timers get to enjoy their first class for free and live stream classes are available as well.

 

So, is barre good for losing weight?

You betcha. By some estimates, if you work as hard as you can, you can lose 500 calories in one 45-minute class, and this isn’t too far off from 45-minutes of running. More importantly, we ask: is barre fun? If you ask us, that’s a no-brainer. Barre has attracted thousands of enthusiasts who swear by the method. First, because it works. And second, because it’s a great time, and a wonderful way to meet others in the Wilco community.

 

Want to supplement your barre workout? Visit our Sports directory page to learn about the variety of exercise classes and coaches available to you nearby.

While you’re at it, learn about heart-healthy foods that you can pick up from farmers markets in Wilco

Claire Stephens

clairestephens.la@gmail.com

When Claire isn’t acting, traveling, or practicing yoga, she is blogging with a parrot on her shoulder and a coffee close by. With a degree in English, her favorite subjects to write about are wellness, psychology, and zoology, and she loves to seek inspiration in nature