Hands down (on the floor for planking) this is my favourite work out. When I tell my patients I go to a “grown-ups ballet class” every week, they look at me like I may have just gone mad. Yes, it’s not your average grown lady pursuit, but in this post I’m going to outline just a few of the reasons barre is best.
Glutes of Steel
Barre is basically an hour of varying squats and lunges, so it’s one of the best lower-body workouts out there. The squats vary in depth, hold time and foot position – so you work all angles of your glute muscle complex. Because the emphasis in all types of ballet work outs is on posture and form, you gain strength that is going to be useful in a functional way – building the neurological pathway between your brain and those muscles, so you can use them in everyday life after class. If my lower back pain patients know one thing, I love to get them doing gluteal strength work!
Eccentric Isometric Dream
The dream-team of long lean muscles! Because you have to hold a lot of low squats in barre class, and then pulse the movement, you strengthen and lengthen the muscles at the same time. It’s great conditioning work, and leaves the body with a slim, toned aesthetic – just like the pilates workouts barre takes inspiration from. You feel the burn quite quickly with this kind of work – if you’re working hard enough, you’ll notice your muscle shake as it starts to fatigue.
No Impact Cardio
Sometimes our joints protest to too much jumping around – but that’s not an excuse not to raise your heart rate. Barre works muscles to exhaustion by doing a high number of pulsing repetitions; the only way to keep up is to increase your cardio-vascular effort. Heart and breathing rate increases – so the more you do, the fitter you’ll get!
Enough said really. Music is a vital part of my motivation when working out. The atmosphere at a barre class is great! Sweating, swearing and smiling are all allowed!
You can try a barre class for yourself in Sutton Coldfield at the Pilates Lounge.
Go to their website at www.pilateslounge.co.uk for their class schedule and prices.
See you at the Barre!