Image by Pure Barre Charlston
Last Thursday I went to my first barre class. Have you guys ever done this type of workout before? I had been thinking about trying out barre after hearing rave reviews from a couple of friends. It seemed ideal for me because it’s focused on small isometric movements that tone your muscles using ballet-inspired techniques. I’ve had my share of IT band issues from running in the past so I try to keep my leg muscles in good shape, and if I can do that while living out my ballerina dreams? I’m in!
I went to Pure Barre for my first ever barre class alone – totally alone – with no idea what to expect. This can terrify some people, myself included, but I have to give the people at Pure Barre Wellesley major points for welcoming me and making sure I knew exactly what equipment I needed for class, they made me feel so comfortable and the experience overall was great.
Image by Pure Barre Wellesley
The room used for class is lined with mirrors and a ballet barre is on each wall. Energetic and popular music is used throughout the class and often you’re moving to the beat of the songs. Typically you grab three pieces of equipment at the beginning of each class: a small ball, an elastic cord, and light hand weights (we’re talking 2-5 lbs each, you choose what works best). Typical classes are 60 minutes. In terms of wardrobe you want to make sure you wear leggings and socks and I’d recommend a tank top, some people also wear leg warmers.
The class itself starts out with some easy leg and ab warm-ups, and then gets into various arm exercises. After that, everyone finds a place at the barre and then begins the leg portion of class. I’m a runner so I think I have strong legs – so not true! Here everyone is holding positions up on their toes for a sustained amount of time, to the point where my legs were, very visibly, involuntarily shaking. Arms are often incorporated into this portion of the workout too.
A huge part of barre class is “tucking” which is essentially making sure your butt is tucked under your hips and making sure you have the proper form. The instructors (who are super nice and helpful in my experience) will walk around the class saying “tuck and tuck and tuck and squeeze. And squeeze and tuck and squeeze and tuck.” etc. etc. It’s sounded a bit funny at first, but then I totally bought into it and was tucking and squeezing like nobody’s business (even if I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be squeezing). After working at the barre there’s typically some stretching and other seated work, still very challenging, all incorporating legs, abs, arms and a bit of back.
After my first class I had the option to pay for the single class or purchase a new member offer letting me have unlimited classes for a month. Guess which I chose? If you guessed unlimited, you’d be correct. I am frequenting the barre at least 3 times a week now with my unlimited access, and have been to three classes so far (going to my fourth tonight!).
I was worried that the classes wouldn’t have enough variation but I’m happy to say that’s not the case at all. Each class is different and uses different exercises to strengthen different muscle groups. I honestly find the classes to be very humbling in the sense that I totally get my butt kicked in the best kind of way. For a runner, I think it compliments running and addresses a lot of what runners need, specifically muscle toning and flexibility. I am officially a huge fan of the barre.
Have you tried a barre class before? What do you think of them?