In December last year we started the first in a series of posts about Pilates equipment and different classes. The second article looks at the dynamic BarreConcept class. It’s a relatively new workout, designed to give you the ultimate lean and sculpted dancer-like physique. The exciting idea was created by fitness expert Emma Newham, who combined the precision of Pilates with the grace and techniques of ballet together with conditioning and yoga.
One of the first questions we’re asked by clients who are interested in trying a Barre class is that they worry that they need dance experience – we’re happy to say it’s not true!
You’ll use the ballet barre as well as the floor for exercises, drawing mainly on the use of your own body weight for resistance, core strength, control, flexibility and balance. The barre, hand weights and Pilates ball enhance the various movements.
The class starts with a fun warm-up and then we concentrate on the upper body using the light hand weights and ball – then it’s over to the barre. We work with the barre for a little support for standing exercises, so we can focus on exercising key lower body areas, isolating and challenging all those little stabilizing muscle groups. They’re not used as often in our everyday lives as they should be, as the large mover muscles generally pick up all the work. This can result in tight and inflexible areas of the body, so it’s important to redress the balance.
At this point we often shift the class to the mat underneath the barre, using it for abdominal, core and more (!) lower body exercises. What we love about BarreConcept is, just like Pilates, precision is the name of the game. We help you to ensure each small movement is just right, strengthening and then stretching muscles to achieve a long, flexible and toned physique. Working them to fatigue in this way, then stretching them, does this without bulking you up. It’s then cool down time!
BarreConcept is a little more intensive, cardio-wise, than Pilates, with little bursts of energy which keep your heart rate up but then small controlled movements are reintroduced to keep certain areas challenged. But just the same as in Pilates, BarreConcept really helps you to become aware of your posture, develop flexibility and build strength in all the right places.
We run Barre classes at our Farnham and Hampton Wick studios and also at our Express studio inside Sweaty Betty in Farnham – it’s become so popular because it really does give results and it’s such fun. The classes have real energy with motivating music and a flow which means the hour flies by. So, shall we see you at the barre?