The holidays have wrapped up and now it’s time to face the music--2018 resolutions. How many of you have a goal of exercising more this year? It’s incredibly common, as we all want to live more active lifestyles that positively affect our health. But does the idea of lacing up your sneakers to go running make you pull the covers over your head? Does lifting weights sound like pure torture? Luckily, we have more options than ever for fun ways to get fit. A new style of exercise called Barre has been growing in popularity across the United States, and could help you overcome your exercise allergy!
So what is Barre? This new fitness trend is born out of a combination of yoga, Pilates, and--as the name implies--ballet. A version of it has actually been around since the 1950s, developed by a German ballerina who was looking to combine her ballet routine with rehabilitative exercises following a back injury. The unique style was brought to the US in the 1970s, and as it gained in popularity, studios adapted it for their dance-oriented clientele. In the past decade though, a number of studios managed to popularize the fitness style for a broader audience, and places like Pure Barre, Barre3 and The Bar Method have taken over large cities.
What makes Barre such a great workout is its reliance on mainly body-weight--no weights, no special machines, and no fancy gear needed! The exercises are actually basic but comprehensive, moving from the mat to the barre and back to the mat. The challenge is really in the focus on small incremental moves, also known as “isometric” movements, that require a certain degree of concentration. Unlike explosive push-ups where you might push up from the mat with all your might, you may only move up or down an inch--which is a lot harder than you might think, especially when you have a high number of repetitions!
Barre is a great way to get you in touch with your body, rather than fight against it or punish it. As you learn to embrace micro-movements, you become more aware of how all your muscles work together. This in turns leads to a certain degree of flexibility that translates to more grace, like a ballerina! Losing weight isn’t guaranteed--it never is with exercise alone--but it will increase your strength and develop your muscles that will contribute to improved fitness, especially when combined with a healthy diet!
So for the new year, dump the typical gym routine and try something new! Experiment with Barre and see how it works for your body. Have you already explored Barre? Leave a comment detailing your experience!