Ballet barre is a fitness craze that’s popping up in more and more gyms and fitness studios around the country, but for those of us more giraffe than ballerina, what exactly is it and what are the benefits?
Well, Andrea McGee, a ballet barre teacher who runs classes at Yoga Dublin describes it as: “Something that will up your workout and increase the sweat factor. Ballet barre is a fun and energetic workout which fuses techniques from ballet, Pilates, and yoga. It will tone, define and chisel the whole body. One step up from that, Skulpt Barre is the perfect combination of strength and flexibility with an added high intensity cardiovascular element, which comes from utilizing the barre.”
Why ballet moves? Well, because ballet-inspired moves are a very effective way of conditioning the entire body with some amazing stretches.
So who can go along? Everybody! The class is suitable for everyone, all fitness levels, all ages, pregnant ladies, those recovering from injury and those heavily into sports.
So what happens at a ballet barre class?
Well, as Andrea explains: “When I started ballet barre I expected it to be ballet-esque, so gentle, relaxed and, to be honest, a little boring with not a huge amount of muscle work involved. I was used to HIIT-style classes but I decided to go along as it was included in my membership fees.
“We started eleve-ing (rising onto the toes) and I started to tune out, then we went onto plie pulses (heels together, butt lowered and knees bent) and my legs began to shake, I was sweating and my butt was on fire. In a good way! We were doing tiny little pulses with full range and then static holds which were hitting my glutes. We were moving to a beat and I was finding it challenging, which I liked.
“The next day I could really feel it, I tried to walk down the stairs but had a serious case of the DOMs in my legs and butt. I kept it up and as the weeks went by I started getting better. I was improving my technique, working deeper into my body and most importantly not getting bored.
“Five years later I can say it does get easier but it’s never so easy I’m bored. Since starting barre my running has improved, in fact everything I do physically became easier as I became stronger.”
4 reasons to try ballet barre
- It’s a full body conditioning workout, covering arms, abs, glutes, legs, feet and back
- It increases your flexibility
- It releases endorphins which means it’s good for stress
- It’s fun and it works!