Are you looking for a way to tone your body and get ready for summer?! Or, are you a yoga or fitness enthusiast who’s looking to add strength training or training of the smaller stabilizer muscles into your routine? Then, barre is for you! You don’t have to be a ballerina (or ever even danced!) to enjoy a barre class. I can tell you that from experience because I never stepped foot in any dance class as a child. But, I absolutely love barre. As someone who grew up playing sports, my first reaction was that a barre class would be too easy for me. OMG, was I wrong!
Barre is actually a super intense workout because we work each muscle to exhaustion and then stretch it out. This helps the muscles to maintain their length as they gain strength. The tiny isometric movements cause the body to really shake and burn. This burning and shaking is what trains those intrinsic stabilizer muscles and gives you great control over your body…the control of a dancer. If you’ve ever been to the ballet, you know that dancers have some amazing muscle control and stability.
The best thing about barre is that you’ll begin to notice improvements in your strength, endurance, and flexibility relatively quickly. Some benefits of a regular barre workout are improved core engagement, increased control in the hips and other joints, and synergistic muscle activation throughout the whole body-which means the muscles really begin to work more efficiently as a unit. Barre is also considered a low-impact type of exercise; it doesn’t place a lot of stress of the joints and is a safe and effective workout.
I’ve personally found it to be a great addition to my yoga practice! Yoga is great for flexibility, improving joint mobility, and increasing strength. But oftentimes, yoga practitioners have weak core engagement due to other muscles compensating for the core when postures are performed incorrectly or without correct muscle engagement. Barre exercises work the core to exhaustion because each and every exercise requires core activation. When you return to your mat after establishing a regular barre routine, you’ll feel stronger and more confident in your asana practice.