It doesn't matter if you are new to the barre or if you are a barre veteran, we all have one thing in common ... we love that barre burn! So this one is dedicated to YOU. Over the years of pulsing and plie-ing we have picked up a few tips and tricks to get you the most out of our Barre Body classes and today we are sharing them with you. If you are relatively new to to barre, then take these tricks and run with them. By implementing these into each and every class, we guarantee that you will notice a huge difference in your barre practice and the result will be great! If you have been hitting the barre on the regular, you've probably picked up some wisdom on your own, but these tips are also for you. It often becomes easy to slide into bad habits without even realizing it, so be sure to read each tip closely and then apply it as needed into your barre workout. Read more of our tips and tricks to get the very most out of each and every barre class that you take!
1) Breathe. You hear your instructor say this time and time again, some even cue the inhales and exhales with each movement. And while you may think that breathing comes naturally, while you are exercising, that is not always the case. When the movement gets tough and the burn gets real, you actually become more likely to hold your breath. It is incredibly important to keep the muscles oxygenated, so controlled breathing is key.
Pro tip: breathe on exertion to push through the toughest part of each movement and feed oxygen to those muscles. For example, in abdominal work, exhale on the crunch and inhale on the release.
2) Connect. You probably also hear the phrase 'mind-body connection' quite often, but what does it mean? Studies have shown the validity of promoting strength gain by combining mind and muscle power. Use your focus to connect with each muscle group that you are attempting to isolate.
Pro tip: sometimes if the mind-body connection is hard to find, physically touching the muscle that you would like to engage helps encourage the connection.
3) Squeeze. It is one thing to go through the movement in a barre class, however, it is far more effective to squeeze and release the muscle group that you are attempting to engage during a barre exercise. Adding an extra glute squeeze at the top of every pulse or mindfully squeezing the rhomboids together during each back fly is going to take your barre class that extra mile.
Pro tip: listen closely to your instructors cues, they will tell you which particular muscle to engage in each different exercise.
4) Be present. It is easy to let your mind wander during a fitness class. Thinking about upcoming events or your to do list can be distracting from the booty burn, but this is detrimental to your workout. Staying focused on cues from the instructor, how your body is feeling in the moment and your alignment/form will allow you to get the very most out of each class.
Pro tip: The mirror is a great tool to help you stay focused on your own body, don't be scared to check yourself out every once in awhile!
5) Stretch. We see it so often, you absolutely kill a barre series but then lose focus when it comes time to stretch it out afterwards. We cannot stress enough the importance of a good stretch when it comes to developing those long, lean muscles. Don't skip the stretch!
Pro tip: Use your breath and mind-body connection in each stretch that you do, as well as the exercises. If you are stretching out your hamstrings in a Barre Body stretch, think about sending your breath into the backs of your thighs.
6) Form. FORM FORM FORM. Say it again ... FORM. To get everything out of your hour long barre class, you have to be constantly checking in with your alignment. Be sure to do a mental scan of your body in each different position that you hit: shoulders down, core tight, glutes engages, don't lock the joint, etc.
Pro tip: each position in barre (ie. 1st plie, 2nd plie, waterski, chair) has its own, unique postural elements. If you are unsure of the proper form in an exercise, ask your instructor. We would love to sort through it together!
7) Core. You can almost think of each barre class as a 60 minute core class because that is how long the engagement should be lasting. Regardless if you are in standing fold over or laying glute bridge, your core is always tight.
Pro tip: Your core consists of your abdominals, obliques and back muscles - keep these three areas engaged throughout the entire class.
These are just a few of our favourite tips and tricks to help you get everything out of your favourite barre classes.