What is Barre Fitness?
Barre workouts consist of a series of movements designed to strengthen and stretch every muscle group in the body. Muscles quickly transform, becoming longer, stronger, leaner and more flexible using mostly body weight as resistance, a ballet barre (or a chair to simulate a ballet barre) and small aparati.
How does it work?
In classic barre sessions, we use a focused combination of two types of muscle contractions, isometric and eccentric. Isometric contractions are when a muscle is engaged and held for an extended period to the point when your muscles start to burn, quiver and possibly shake. This creates an incredible fat burning, lean muscle building effect.
Eccentric contractions are when a muscle is slowly lengthened to it´s full (or nearly full) extension under tension. The repetitive eccentric movements result in sustainable flexibility, reduced risk of injury and decreased inflammation. This unique mix of isometric and eccentric movements create a confusing sensation of discomfort and challenge with a sprinkle of satisfaction from the test of muscle endurance, increased heart rate and stretching leaving barre-goers with an endorphin high at the end of each set.
What are the benefits?
- Increased energy – isometric contractions are known for their mitochondria producing abilities. Mitochondria are what create most of the chemical energy in the cells
- Fat burn – because of the increase of mitochondria in the cells post barre workout, the body is able to burn fat stores for up to 3 to 4 days
- Strength – barre is not a workout that will bulk muscles but it creates incredible strength as a ballerina. Its combination of full body exercises used in every plane of motion creates a physique that is strong, stable and balanced from the inside out.
- Better Posture – barre classes focus on postural muscles causing regular barre goers to stand taller, feel leaner with less joint pain.
- Tone – high repetitions using body resistance sculpt every muscle in the body.
- Reduced Inflammation – eccentric exercise triggers the brain to release anti-inflammatory chemicals improving recovery and cellular stress.
- Focused Mind – each movement and total workout is specific and ever changing which creates new neural pathways in the brain, keeping the mind young.
How many times per week should I do a class?
Barre has the best results when taken 3 to 4 days per week. This can be a mix of full 45 minute classes with shorter blast sessions. A minimum of 2 times per week is recommended to maintain as well as progress.
How long does it take to see results?
Results are surprisingly fast with barre fitness. Because of the increase of mitochondria in the cells (mentioned above), most people see results in as little as 8 sessions if done 3 to 4 times per week. The beauty of barre is that the body never plateaus if exercises are done in correct form and the mind stays focused on the movements.
A good litmus test to know if you are getting the most out of your barre sessions is – if you are able to make a grocery list during a session, you are not challenging your body at the level it needs for change. Also, if your muscles are burning, shaking and trembling, you are doing it right!
By Niki Rein, founder of Barrecore