Should you be doing a barre workout? | TapGenes
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Should you be doing a barre workout?
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Should you be doing a barre workout?

Take ballet as a little girl but not willing to give it up quite yet?

Burning out on your regular workout and looking for something new?

Or do you just have to be a part of whatever the trendiest workout boom is?

Everyone has their own reason for hiking their legs up on ballet barres for the rip-roaring, dance-inspired workout trend that has been sweeping the country over the last few years. This style of training is like a mixed bag of activity elements from yoga, Pilates, strength training and, of course, ballet and dance. The total body workouts are effective and efficient — something any woman craving a physical change to her body really needs to hear. This is part of what’s driving the barre craze.

Why barre?

Tanya Becker, who co-founded Physique57, told Fitness Magazine, “Women see results quickly with barre, it’s a one-stop shop that includes all the essentials of a well-rounded exercise program, plus it’s perfect for women who are short on time. That’s a workout women will always need!”.

Another reason barre has exploded?

“One of the main draws, like yoga and Pilates, is that the class is slow and mindful, focusing on proper form with small, controlled movements,” explained Kelly Turner, a certified personal trainer at

Sure, the technical reasons are a huge draw, but when it comes down to it, barre is fun.

“After class I felt exhilarated,” said Heather Hurd, who blogs at Yummy Sushi PJs and was a dedicated lover of barre. “The music was fun, and everything you needed for the workout was provided.”
She recalled that the workouts were easy to get to in the morning and called them a great way to start her day, leaving her with “fantastic energy.” The workouts for Hurd were challenging, but modifications made it achievable. “My heart rate stayed up, but not so much that I felt sick or exhausted. I’d get a little sore, but not so badly that I couldn’t move.”

Ultimately, Hurd had to swap barre for something less flashy because the program was so cost prohibitive.

Why is barre hard?

Barre wasn’t exactly Lisa Johnson’s jam either. The certified fitness expert, owner of an award-winning Pilates studio, and TapGenes contributor has some red flags for participants to consider.

I don’t hate barre, I hate poorly trained barre teachers who think a million squats makes them awesome teachers … and have no idea how to protect the spine while teaching people!,” she explained.

An educated, quality teacher can make or break your practice. For barre (and any activity really), you should look for credentialed trainers. Ask them about their specific training and education, hours they’ve practiced, and what the injury rate is for their classes.

What kind of barre?

As is true of yoga, barre actually comes in many different forms. The exercise is anything but a one-size-fits-all activity. Variations on the barre concept abound, which means if you really want to get into it there’s a style that suits your needs and interest; outlined many in a comparison piece. Here’s a glimpse at a few examples across the range of barre methods.

Physique 57 — A luxury boutique-style shop with limited studios in ritzy locales like Beverly Hills, NYC, Dubai and of course online videos and DVDs. It’s more on the hard-core end of barre, adding cardio and strength intervals to regular barre work.

The Dailey Method — This is on the other end of the barre spectrum offering a softer approach and broader studio availability (more than 50 locations). Alignment, stretching, individualized attention and orthopedics are key to this practice.

Booty Barre — This is just a good time and works to especially train those troublesome glutes, all led by the spirited Tracey Mallett. The program is available through DVDs and live studio locations around the world.

Barre3 — Another high-end brand of barre workout with locations in select U.S. cities and Canada, this approach has participants hold movements longer (which is key for muscle toning and development), and finishes with a big cardio blast.

Beyond Barre — Take your regular ‘ole barre and raise it an ice skating element and you’ve got Beyond Barre. The class uses a GlideBoard to achieve an ice skating motion and to really drive the higher cardio focus.

Generally in barre classes, you’ll be engaged in a type of “resistance training that targets the entire body where there is little to no cardiovascular work,” explained Turner. As detailed above, variations on traditional barre work exist, and in those you can add cardio or other elements if you desire. “The movements [in barre] are slow and controlled with lots of isometric holds that will have you shaking throughout the workout,” she continued.

Who should take on a barre class?

Turner thinks it’s ideal for all fitness levels “since you primarily use your body weight (some use tiny dumbbells and little medicine balls, but they are generally less than three pounds).” She added that barre is especially good if you personally have a preference or need for low-impact workouts.

Turner raised another good point that we often forget, and that’s if you love it, do it. We tend to pigeon hole fitness and workouts as being this one type of thing that has to happen in a gym. Not true at all! All physical activity counts.

“As adults, our options to engage in the sports and physical activities we enjoyed as kids become more and more limited. If you want a workout that reminds of the graceful movements of the ballet class you loved as a kid, but will also whip your butt into shape, give barre a try.”

TapGenes Takeaway: Ballet-inspired barre workouts come in a variety of shapes and sizes, making it appeal to a broad female audience. Could this explosive total body strength-meets-cardio workout trend be the workout you need?

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