When my friend texted me Friday and asked if I’d want to go to a barre class with her, I couldn’t say no. I very rarely get to work out with a friend, and I’d never taken a barre class before, so I was pretty eager to see what the class was all about. All I knew going into it was that the class was going to be a combination of yoga, pilates and ballet. The best definition I could find for barre is as follows:
“Barre workouts support the development of a ballerina figure by working small supportive muscles throughout your body. Barre uses a ballet bar in the workout and participants perform small isometric movements. Classes are planned so that following a strength section, you will go through some stretching in order to elongate the muscles and get lean muscle.” (source)
The class: the class covered all major muscle groups and utilized lightweight dumbbells and a resistance band. It began with some ab work: planks, 100s and bicycle crunches, then we moved onto arms: push ups, tricep dips, light weight overhead presses and shoulder exercises. After abs and arms, we moved onto the gluteus Maximus, where we utilized the bar that ran along the outside of the room. I liked this part because it really worked my leg and butt muscles, which I tend to neglect for some reason. Parts of it were ballet-y and, being a former dancer, it brought back memories. However, actual ballet focuses on strength, yes, but emphasizes flexibility, whereas the ballet in barre class focused on muscle strengthening and you don’t have to be flexible to be successful in the class. The leg work was tough; lots of wall-sit type exercises where we would hold for an undisclosed amount of time. The class ended with some final ab work and light yoga stretches.
My thoughts: I personally enjoyed the class. However, since the goal of the class is small movements (and since I was new and didn’t know that), I would look around at other classmates to see what they were doing and it looked like they were standing still. Luckily after class, the instructor came up to my friend and I and explained the small isometric movements concept of barre and that it should appear that you are still when, in actuality, you are moving your muscles oh-so-slightly. Barre was something new and different that I’d never experienced before in a group exercise class, and though I felt a little confused as to what we were doing at times (instructor said this is normal), it left me feeling sore the next day. I immediately went home to see how much classes cost in case I’d want to take another one (the class I took this past weekend was free). Twenty three dollars for one class. Eeeeeeek. I liked the class but do I think it was worth $23? Maybe, if you have that kind of money. Discovering the cost was a slight bummer, but I think I want to try to take one class a month to switch things up here and there.
Would I take another barre class? Yes! It was a great workout–fast paced and it reminded me of dance (which I miss) and worked all muscle groups.
Last night I came home, ate dinner and was off to the gym, where I completed cardio on the elliptical and a Physical Therapist-approved ab workout. What does that mean, you ask? Planks. Lots and lots of planks. My workout looked something like this:
Unfortunately, I am not able to do any exercises that may irritate my lower back or my hip flexors, which really limits me, but I’m trying to be good and follow the rules so I can be pain-free!
Q: Have you ever taken a barre class? If not, would you consider trying it after reading this? Favorite plank position? Any questions about the barre class you may have? I’ll do my best to answer based on my experience.
I kind of like up down planks, but for now I’m trying to focus on extending my regular plank time.