This low-impact, high-rep workout combines big and small movements to whip you into shape.
Don't get me wrong, I love the high-intensity, full-throttle workouts that make you feel like a boss. For those of you like me, I ask you to open your mind to the beauty of barre. This full-body workout balances strength training and cardio for a kick-butt kind of workout. In the first few minutes of your session, you might laugh at the 1- to 3-pound weights that the class provides. After all, how can these "toys" that weigh no more than water bottles do anything for toning and conditioning?
You will stop laughing during the next few minutes of class, however, wish you didn't pick up the 3 pound weights, and longingly look towards the 1-pounders. This low-impact, high-rep workout combines big and small movements to whip you arms and legs quickly into shape.
Here are a few of the benefits to barre.
While the moves that you perform in the class are low-impact, you better have a high pain tolerance. Because you are going to be holding certain positions for a long time. Take the classic squat. Yes, without the squat rack or any heavy free weights. A barre class will have you squatting up and down in full movements and then little pulses. And then full movements and little pulses. And then holding a squat. And then starting over. The burn is the real deal.
This type of movement strengthens your big and small muscles groups to expedite the tone in your legs, accentuate the shape of your booty, and stretch your muscles for that long, lean yoga-body look.
A barre class also pushes your mental faculties. Back to your squat, you will want to break out of the hold and shake your legs out. The mounting pain of these little movements will surprise you. But, as you sweat and stabilize your body, you have to teach yourself that you can do it.
You have to listen to your inner thoughts and feelings more so than you would in a power-hour workout. I appreciate the mindfulness of this type of workout because it teaches you to find strength in these moments of weakness. Right when you feel like you just can't take it anymore, your mental strength will be the thing that helps you push through, break plateaus, and build confidence.
Listening to your body also helps prevent injury. You will know when to push yourself and when to hold off. You can find modifications to movements that cause the bad kind of pain and discover that you are your best instructor for a personalized workout to your body.
Throughout the class, you will perform quick cardio movements and then slow down for restful, refreshing movements. In these slower times, you can return to your breathing, focusing only on your inhale and exhale. This will fuel you through your challenging movements, refresh your energy for the more powerful and quick movements to come, and help you leave class with a refreshed perspective on your day.