The benefits of Barre Class
First it was yoga, then Pilates. Now Barre seems to be the latest group fitness class to be taking the world by storm. So what is it exactly?
“Barre is a total body training system combining elements of dance, Pilates, functional training, cardio and sculpting exercises that together condition the body inside and out,” explains Sydney-based Rockell Williamson-Rudder, International Director at Xtend Barre. “Addictive and totally fun, you could certainly say it’s the new darling of the fitness world.”
We found that a standard Barre class kicks off on a mat with warm-ups like planks and push-ups. It then moves into different arm exercises, with or without light weights, and a lower-body work-out at the bar that focusses on thighs and glutes. And to wind things down, there can be a series of core-focused moves back at the bar and a short stint on the mat.
Some put Barre’s popularity down to after the Global Financial Crisis hitting in 2008, when the world faced hard times and people went in search of more-connected classes, and Rockell can definitely see why. “I believe people love that they have an experience in one of our classes, not just a workout,” says Rockell. “They are part of a family, a community – a place where they meet old friends and make new friends.
“There’s the workout itself which provides stunning results for the body, but emotionally and mentally, many people can also use the hour to feel better about everything in their world.”
Like with any fitness class, it’s worth knowing what results you’re looking to get out Barre before heading along, and Rockell finds that most of her clients come to her wanting improved posture and body awareness, increased strength and flexibility, to drop those unwanted inches – plus a good time.
As Rockell points out, “People often say as they’re leaving, ‘Wow that went so fast!’. As hard as you’re working out, it somehow doesn’t feel like that grind of a normal workout.”
The results of all your hard work will all depend on how frequently you make it to class. “If you can get to three classes a week, you’ll really start to see results,” explains Rockell. “We regularly run challenges that focus both on physical and nutritional commitments, and that helps more of our members make it four or five times per week. It also takes them on a journey that literally changes their approach to living a fit and healthy life.”
Most Barre studios hold open days so those new to Barre can see for themselves what’s involved, plus they cater to all levels of fitness – from beginners through to elite athletes, including pre and post natal.
As for thinking Barre is only for the ladies, you thought wrong. “The challenge, discipline and conditioning they achieve from the class is always pleasantly surprising to men who attend,” shares Rockell. “We recently held a ‘Boys to the Barre’ month at Xtend and all of the partners who came along found out just how hard their girlfriends and wives work out in class!”
Whether or not Barre can survive the initial burst of public interest and go the way of yoga and Pilates is unknown, but Rockell is quietly confident.
“In 2010, when I brought Xtend Barre to Australia, I never dreamed we would be on our way to being a household name in fitness,” admits Rockell. “But when you’re being led by motivating, nurturing and inspiring instructors for an hour, you can’t help but feel amazing after doing an incredible workout.”
Information provided in this article is not medical advice and you should consult with your healthcare practitioner. Australian Unity accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of any of the opinions, advice, representations or information contained in this publication. Readers should rely on their own advice and enquiries in making decisions affecting their own health, wellbeing or interest.