Barre comes in different variations such as barre3, Pure Barre and The Bar Method, among others. Chances are you know at least one person in your life who’s a self-proclaimed barre addict. But we won’t judge if you haven’t given the workout a try. Ahead, we break down the components of a barre workout as well as its many benefits.
So, What is Barre?
Barre is a workout that bases its fundamental principles on Pilates, ballets and yoga. As such, barre workouts focus extensively on developing the stabilizing muscles in hip girdles and shoulders. It also focuses on improving core strength to give enhanced flexibility. This is achieved by performing isometric exercises, which are movements meant to target specific muscles that we rarely use.
This results in the shaping up of the thighs, hips, core and glutes (i.e. areas that are notoriously difficult to shape). The workout also improves posture to give the appearance of a leaner and longer physique.
But don’t let the small movements fool you! Barre workouts are far from easy. This is because they target muscles in a way that we’re not used to. Instead of going through a full range of motion as you would when doing lunges or squats, barre has us moving down a couple of inches while holding a squat. The process repeats itself until we are near the bottom of our squat, then we come back up until we’re standing again. That is considered to be one rep. Your legs will shake, and your breath will be unsteady. But it will all be worth it.
Let’s explore the benefits of this amazing workout, shall we?
You’ll Feel Stronger
As you do barre, you will be hitting the muscle from angles. If you are targeting thighs, holding a squat requires using certain muscle groups to help maintain that position. Thus, the front, inner and outer thighs will have to coordinate to give keep you stabile. The same applies when working other muscles such as your abs, arms, back and butt. Because each muscle within the muscle group is being worked thoroughly, you will develop incredible muscle definition, while strengthening muscles you rarely use.
You’ll Build Endurance
Barre tests muscle endurance because it incorporates small isotonic movements and isometric contractions. During an isometric contraction, you will flex and loosen a muscle without changing its length. This is during the holding stage of the isotonic movements we talked about earlier. You will be utilizing your slow-twitch muscle fibers more, which will help enhance your endurance.
You’ll Become More Flexible
You might be the most rigid person before beginning barre, but as you get into it, your muscles will loosen up. Barre utilizes a lot of stretches to not only help increase your range of motion but also to lower risk of injury. Poor posture and back pain are often a result of tightness and tension in your muscles and the tendons around them. By stretching, however, your muscles will regain their elasticity which enables you to move better.
You’ll Practice Better Posture
The core is always engaged during barre. The abdominal muscles are essential for maintaining stability while performing a particular exercise. Conversely, the reason why some people have poor posture is because they have poor stabilizing muscles (i.e. the core). Therefore, by strengthening the core, you may not only get rid of back pain but also stand taller.
Your Mind-Body Connection Will Improve
The isotonic movements in barre bring a whole new level of body awareness other workouts don’t provide. In barre, you are forced to focus on the smallest details to maintain your stability. This not only builds strength but also improves the mental connection you have with your body.