By Danielle Michels
I’m not going to lie, the first time I saw a barre class, I thought, “this can’t be a real workout.”
From an outside perspective, barre looks like ballet practice with a few floor exercises mixed in, so for anyone who loves high intensity workouts, barre appears to be a little like a stretching class.
Well, we all know the saying, “assuming makes an ass out of you and me,” and let’s just say I was definitely feeling mine immediately afterward.
So given my experience, I can say with complete certainty that barre is 100 percent a workout.
Although you may not be doing jump squats or mountain climbers, you are working your muscles intensely, and feeling that muscle burn all of us fitness junkies weirdly crave is one of the central focuses throughout the class.
To give a larger perspective, VIDA Barre is “An elegant, but challenging series of ballet-barre and Pilates postures targeting the thighs, seat, and core. These fluid exercises are designed to help you sculpt & tone your way to a dancer-style body.”
So naturally I thought that even if this isn’t too tough of a workout, maybe I’ll leave looking a little more graceful than when I entered (update: I’m going to need a lot more barre experience to make that happen).
First, we started with a warm-up, and let me tell you, you’ll be feeling some sweat before the real work of the class has begun. Having your muscles properly warmed up is key to making sure you can activate them effectively when moving to the isometric exercises.
Next we started on some mat exercises using light weights, but don’t let those little dumbbells fool you, you’ll be questioning how you’re able to curl 15 pounds within roughly 30 seconds.
I regularly workout with weights and do strength training, but the concentrated pulses and self-made resistance using the barre techniques really creates a fire in your muscles that you don’t get from a typical weightlifting workout. It’s very precise, and you truly have to push through the burn to make it to the end of the sequence.
After doing some work on the mat, we moved to the barre, which is where the majority of the thigh and glutes work happens.
And who knew one wall fixture could facilitate such a good workout?
Posture while at the barre is of utmost importance in order to get the desired results from the workout, so if you’re someone who sits for the majority of the day, you will be receiving more than just a lesson on the movement principles of ballet.
But Colleen was great, she came up and made the slightest adjustments that made a world of difference in feeling the effectiveness of the movement, and even though coming out of poor posture is a tad difficult and strange-feeling at first, even after one barre class I could hear Colleen in my head saying “roll your shoulders away from your ears” and “chest forward, tailbone tucked under.”
And before I knew it, the class was over. It flew by so quick because I was concentrated on getting the most out of the workout, and it’s just fun.
Although I think I’ll need to incorporate more barre in to my routine to truly see all that it can do, barre made a pretty great first impression.