To me a great barre class incorporates not just principles from ballet, physiotherapy and strength training, but most importantly, pilates! I love pilates because it gives you such a fantastic core workout. However, one thing about pilates is that you spend most of the time on the mat and I don’t always feel the burn in my legs and glutes. This is where barre enters and one of the reasons I fell in love with it!
Barre is a 60 minute core work starting from the warm up all the way through the actual core work on the mat. The work you do in the center requires balance and if you ever heard an instructor say pull in your core when trying to balance, you’ve experienced that work! In order to move through space you must have a strong core to help you.
Additionally as you do your upper body work, including your pushups, you must activate your core to keep your body strong and stable. It’s important to remember that your core includes more than just your abs. It also includes your back muscles. So when you do upper body work aimed at strengthening your back muscles, you are also getting core work and improving your posture!
When you move to the barre, your core is essential to help you balance and perform exercises like foldover, swivel chair and side leg work. The core gets even more engagement when we add moves that twist and use the obliques to help us perform the movements.
Of course when we hit the mat we focus on building those ab and back muscles with moves like crunches, single leg stretch, scissors, showgirl, plank, bridge, prone moves and so much more! These moves are specifically designed to build a strong core to help you maintain balance throughout your body and to assist with your daily activities like lifting children, carrying groceries, yardwork, washing your car and so much more!
So next time you are in a barre class, remember that you aren’t just working your legs or glutes or arms but your core too! Pull your abs in and up and keep them activated throughout the entire class. You’ll be happy with the way you look and how you move through life!