How To Get A Ballerina’s Body – Even If You Have Two Left Feet
Get yourself to the barre.
The Benefits of Barre Fitness
Thanks to barre fitness, you don’t need to be a ballerina to get the strong, lean bodies that dancers have long been admired for. Best described as a fusion of ballet, Pilates, and yoga, barre fitness uses a series of targeted, repetitive, low-impact movements that quickly burns fat and sculpts muscles.
“The biggest misconception is that you need dance experience to try barre,” says Marlo Brausse, an owner of the Body Barre Studios in Calgary. While there are elements of barre workouts that are dance-inspired, the ballet bar is mainly used as a prop to help you to support your body weight and target your legs in a new way.
Still not sure if barre fitness is right for you? We’ve rounded up the top eight reasons why barre classes should be a regular part of your workout routine.
1) It’s For Any Fitness Level
“You could have never worked out in your life and still be successful in barre,” says Brausse. Since instructors always offer different modifications to the moves that they’re demonstrating, it’s always easy to find the most challenging position for your fitness level. This accommodation makes it easy for all ages to enjoy barre fitness. At Pure Barre, the largest franchise of barre classes in North America, clients as old as 81 are reaping the benefits of barre fitness.
2) It’s a Great Rehabilitative Exercise
Since barre fitness is very low impact, barre classes are frequently used as an introduction to full-body workouts after surgery, injury or even during pregnancy. This is exactly how Paige Carper, an endurance athlete, and long distance marathon runner, discovered barre fitness.
When Carper was expecting her second child, she knew that she would have to modify her intense workout routine like she’d done during her first pregnancy. One class was all it took – she was quickly hooked. During her pregnancy, Carper did barre classes until the day she went into labour with her son.
“Four months after my son was born, I started the training to become a barre instructor,” she says. In February 2016, Carper opened up Canada’s first Pure Barre location in downtown Toronto.
3) You Can Expect Amazing Muscle Definition
The strong, lean physique of dancers was the inspiration for the creation of barre fitness – so it’s no surprise that barre will help you become more toned and sculpted. “I was fit all of my life and I’m always active, but I never saw the results I saw with barre,” says Brausse, who previously taught yoga and fitness boot camp classes. The small, micro movements made during barre class will help you to burn fat and sculpt your body quickly, so expect better-fitting clothes and more defined muscles after regularly hitting the barre.
4) You’ll Look (And Feel) Taller
Practicing proper posture is one of the main focuses in barre class. During the workout, it’s important to keep your shoulders rolled back and spine straight. In fact, barre fitness improves posture so much that people become convinced that they’ve grown taller. “When you carry what you learn (about posture) from barre into your regular daily living, of course, you’re going to look and feel taller, especially when you’re becoming leaner,” explains Brausse.
5) You’ll Have A Core of Steel
Barre is a fabulous way to work out your core muscles. “Your core is the one part of your body that’s constantly being used during class,” says Carper. As you already know, increasing your core strength will do much more than just increase your confidence for bathing suit season. A stronger core can help take seconds off your running times, protect you against injury and can help prevent strain on your back.
6) Forget About a Fitness Plateau
Since barre accommodates all fitness levels, it’s always easy to modify a pose to make it more challenging, says Carper. Focusing on smaller, mindful movements, adding more resistance or weights or increasing the tempo of your workout are some easy ways to increase the intensity of your barre workout. Four years into practicing barre fitness, Carper proudly says that she still finds “the shake” in every class – a sign that muscles are really feeling the effect of the workout.
7) You’ll Become More Flexible
No matter which method you choose, every type of barre fitness class will include some form of attentive stretching. “We add flexibility pieces to all of our training and make sure to stretch after each segment of the class,” says Brassue.
8) It’s Fun!
One of the reasons people find themselves sticking with barre isn’t just because they see incredible results, it’s because barre fitness is fun! “There’s a group atmosphere in bare class, but your class is your class,” Carper says, explaining that every person is focused on their own workout. “My studio is a judgment free zone,” she adds.
The barre fitness community’s positive energy and support is another reason why Carper loves barre. Her studio in downtown Toronto has been open for less than a year, but she’s already noticing new friendships between the members of her studio. “People come here and it feels like family,” she says. “It’s much more than just getting in a workout and leaving.”