After hours and hours of researching about the best yet effective ways to lose weight, I landed on a page that talked about barre classes. This was something that I had never heard of before, so it immediately drew my attention. Ballet is a graceful form of art, but not many know that it has also transitioned into a great physical exercise to lose weight. A barre class (a combination of yoga, barre and pilates) typically takes place in a gym or a speciality studio and is now becoming a worldwide fitness trend.
Sweating it out in a barre yoga class is a wonderful way to switch up your workout routine. One session of a barre class ensures that you have worked on each muscle group and burned out calories using a sequence of low-impact but high-repetition exercises. This form of exercise not only builds muscular endurance, but also builds flexibility. Let’s see what a typical barre class looks like and what are the benefits of doing it.
Barre class: Is this fitness trend here to stay?
Barre classes are taking over the world, and everyone is talking about the many benefits of it. People are comparing barre yoga to pilates and many believe that it is equally effective. Is it a trend that will stay? Let’s find out.
What is a barre yoga class?
This form of exercise uses the ballet barre and incorporates the movements derived from ballet in an effective exercise routine. Traditional ballet dance movements and positions are integrated with some yoga and pilates moves and there you have a typical barre class. One can use other equipment like resistance bands, yoga straps, exercise balls and hand weights along with the barre for a good workout session in a yoga studio or gym.
What are the benefits of barre exercises?
Barre exercises are super-energising and also beneficial for your mental health. Think of it as a whole-body workout. Pilates and yoga integrated barre exercises can be done by beginners as well as pros. Each class will help in building alignment, strengthening the core, and toning and elongating muscles. Here are the benefits of a barre class:
It improves posture
The main focus of barre exercise is on strengthening the muscles through the chest and shoulders. It prevents a person from slouching and improves a person’s posture effectively. You will feel the difference after just a few sessions.
It helps in strengthening the glutes
When you are working out on a barre, you are working on your glutes as well. This ensures that you have a well-shaped bum but also have strong muscles that stabilise the pelvis. It helps relieve pressure from the back, hips, and knees.
It tones stomach muscles
A barre class naturally focuses on balance and strength, and the core becomes an integral part of the training. This means that you will have a toned stomach by the end of a few sessions.
It increases flexibility
This form of exercise allows your flexibility to be pushed to the limit. The ballet movements are easy to adapt and you will notice how slowly and gradually, your flexibility improves.
Aids better mental focus and reduces stress
Working out in general helps in reducing stress, but a barre class incorporated with yoga and pilates takes it to another level. It is a mental challenge where you have to be mindful of your moves and focus on how your body responds to these movements. You leave a class feeling lifted and calm. It also compels you to think and quickly act, improving your problem-solving skills. This form of exercise, like any other workout, releases endorphins that keep your mind sharp. Research suggests that both pilates and yoga (which is ultimately what barre is) can improve mental health and keep you feeling positive.
How to do barre exercises at home?
If you are unable to find a barre yoga studio near you, you can also perform these exercises at home. Here’s what you can do:
Keep your legs about a metre apart and position your feet outwards. Bend your knees and come down in a plié position. Make sure that your knees are above the toes, your back is straight and your shoulders are low. Move one inch down and then one inch up and repeat this for 30 repetitions.
Knee lift and glutes press
Position your supporting leg with the knee bent and raise the other leg (the working leg) in front of you. Make sure your knee is bent and your foot is pointed. Tuck in your tummy and relax your shoulders. Place both your hands on your hips. Alternate between the two legs while you raise your leg in front of you and then push it back behind you (a glute press). Repeat it for 30 reps on each side.
Get yourself in a lunge position. Keep your back straight with your hands on the hips. Place your front knee above the heel and the back knee close to the floor. Engage your core and take the lunge one inch up and then one inch down. Repeat for 30 reps on each side.
High plank with alternated leg raise
Begin by getting yourself in a high plank position. Keep your shoulders above the wrists, keep your back straight and engage your core. Make sure your lower back is not arching. Once comfortable in this position, raise your right leg up and then slowly bring it down. Keep alternating between legs and repeat for 30 reps.
Clamshell and leg développé
Lie down on one side while placing your shoulder above the elbow. Position the knees in a bent formation parallelly to your hips. Open your knee sideways and then extend the leg up. Try to stretch as much as you can and then bend the knee again. Make sure that you do not move from your position throughout the whole exercise. Repeat 30 times on each side.
Where to learn barre?
You can take online classes if you are not able to find the time to go to any barre yoga studios near you. Many YouTube channels guide you on how to do the workout properly. There are videos for beginners as well as for pros. Check out the following YouTube pages:
Barlates Body Blitz
How often should we do barre?
As a good rule of thumb, one should aim to work out for at least four days. If you are a beginner or getting back into it, you can take two barre classes a week. You can then push to 3-4 days of workout and really start seeing the results.
How many calories does barre burn?
Barre exercises employ isometric training to strengthen muscles while also burning calories in the process. A person can burn 250–500 calories after one single class. A person continues to burn extra calories for several hours after the workout due to intense muscle work.
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