Barre workouts can completely transform your body, and with the rise in their popularity among all kinds of people – not just dancers and yogis – it has made benefits like flexibility, core strength and lengthened muscles far more accessible. The ballet-inspired classes can be taken regardless of ballet experience, in fact most of them are completely suitable for complete beginners to exercise.
So aside from the obvious, how can barre add to your training regime? If you needed any more reasons to hit the barre, here’s why this style of workout gets a thumbs up from us.
1 No butts about it – barre works your booty
You may have heard the phrase ‘underactive glutes’ or ‘fire up your glutes’ a lot lately in fitness circles. Since as a society we spend so much time on our butts these days – from working desk jobs, long commutes and simply being sedentary – many people are finding that their glutes aren’t switching on quite as easily as they should. The problem with this is that, especially as the glutes are our biggest muscle group, we aren’t using our bodies efficiently. Not only can lazy glutes can lead to imbalances in the body, but you also won’t be able to do many exercises as well as you could, including running, squatting and cycling.
Barre workouts work on glute isolation, using tiny little movements to get those glutes firing up while focusing on using the core and stabilising muscles to assist you. With the use of bands, balls and the barre, this can be a super safe way to get the booty moving.
2 It can keep your body guessing
As with any style of workout, if you continue to do the same thing week in week out without any progressive overload (adding intensity or weight, for example), you’ll eventually stop seeing results. What many people don’t know about barre classes, though, is that there are so many ways you can progress once your body begins to adapt – from using thicker bands and heavier balls to trying more advanced variations of moves you’ve already tried.
There are also different styles of barre classes on offer – some are more high intensity, while some focus more on sculpting particular areas – so don’t limit yourself and you won’t limit your results.
3 Your confidence will sky rocket
Exercise boosts your confidence – and barre is no different. It’s rare to leave a workout feeling anything other than amazing, but the kind of awareness of your body that barre gives you makes the post-exercise feeling a little different. Since it works so many neglected stabilising muscles that other classes don’t, barre leaves you feeling challenged and smug knowing you’ve really pushed your body to its limits in a unique way. The body is an amazing thing – and you’re sure to appreciate that (once you stop shaking!).
4 Your joints will thank you
A varied exercise regime is incredibly important. If you spend hours on the pavements pounding away on your runs, or HIIT circuits are your favourite way to get fit, it’s important to dedicate time to some lower-impact classes too to give your body a chance to slow down while still getting those gains. And if you’re new to exercise but have concerns about how your joints will hold up, barre could be a wise choice too.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that low impact means the class will be easy – some classes go at a super fast pace and will get you sweating, out of breath and your heart racing; while also being kind to your joints.
5 Make bigger strides with your training
Our poor feet don’t always get the credit they deserve. They spend most of the day smushed up inside shoes, they carry the weight of our whole body when we’re on our feet and they take us even further when it comes to exercise.
Since barre classes are taken barefoot, this really gives the feet a chance to stretch out, release tension and simply breathe. But even better than that, barre also works wonders for foot strength thanks to many of the moves requiring engagement of the foot muscles without the help of supportive shoes to rely on – pointing your toes and being up on the balls of your feet is tiresome work indeed. ‘Why should I care about having strong feet?’ we hear you ask. Your whole body will be stronger from it, especially your legs. Want to squat heavier, run faster, cycle better? Don’t ignore those feet.