3 Benefits of Barre

Sarahasheville, dwell

With the increased public interest in ballet as shown with Misty Copeland partnering with the major athletic label Under Armour (Congrats on your promotion, Misty!!), it’s no surprise that ballet-inspired workouts are rising in popularity.

[Although, I have to preface this post with a note that none of these classes are in any way a ballet class. There are no true feet and arm positions, y’all!]

In Charlottesville, PureBarre has been joined by B.Core and Barre.[d], I’ve been to Pop Physique in Baltimore for some bachelorette party fun, and a few months ago, the BarreAmp workout has joined PureBarre in Asheville. So. Many. Barres. When it comes down to it, these classes are very similar in structure and they work to target the tough spots… the thighs, the derriere, abs, back, arms… okay, it’s a whole body workout! With movements inspired by Pilates, yoga, and ballet, you end up challenging both your mind and body.

misty copeland

Misty Copeland, Ballerina Photo: Under Armour

This low-impact workout drives results by focusing on small, controlled movements to sculpt and tone. Isometric movements work your deepest muscles and are designed to change your whole body. I absolutely love these workouts! After going to a few, I feel my body changing and I can tell I’ve grown stronger. I did the PureBarre workout before my wedding last year and it was so much fun, my dress fit perfectly, and I felt confident in a bathing suit in Cozumel! :)

Since I’m living in this beautiful town of Asheville, I’ve checked out both SoundBarre (BarreAmp) and PureBarre. They are both great studios, are run by beautiful, strong women and coincidently both reside on Hendersonville Road. While they have slight differences (socks versus bare feet for one…), they have shown me tremendous benefits when I can save up and get to class:

1. You are stronger than you think.

Barre classes push you to exhaustion as you work through each muscle group. The teachers encourage you to go farther than you thought possible – to the point of literal uncontrollable shaking – and just when you think you can’t keep going, they switch to a new exercise. There are some days that I don’t feel super strong and tell myself I can give up and rest, but more often than not, I shock myself by how I’m able to complete each workout. It’s a mental and physical test and having everyone in the room working just as hard really keeps you pushing to find your limit. It gets easier and harder as you go because as your alignment and form improves, you can start to push yourself further in each workout. Just one more inch lower takes so much strength!

2. Work out hard and you won’t have time to think about your to-do list.

This is my favorite benefit of barre classes (or any exercise class that takes your mind away from what is happening outside the studio). Barre classes work your mind probably just as much as your body. It is a complete stress reliever to put away the cell phone and dive head first into the class. I’m always concentrating so hard on not falling over that I don’t have time to run through my to do list. It’s an hour set aside to center yourself and tone your body. Commit to it and you will see the benefits beyond the “ledges”. Your mind will typically quit first before your muscles, so challenge yourself to exercise with intention.

3. Community makes you stronger. 

The Barre studios I have been to have really outgoing teachers who work hard to make a connection, know your name, and call you out when you are doing a great job. They set up events at the studio to encourage friends to take class together and meet other people reaching for the 100 Club (or higher!) or #FirsttoFifty. To have these women shaking right along with you is inspiring and challenges you to keep going and not back out of an exercise. They are knowledgable about proper alignment and give useful one-on-one corrections. I’ve danced in a studio my whole life, so classes have always been the way to keep me motivated and accountable. PureBarre has video and audio you can purchase, but there is no way I would push myself as hard at home as in the studio. Seeing woman who are stronger or working harder is all the motivation I need to keep going.

Do you take Pure Barre?! What are your favorite benefits of the class?

One of the great things about barre is that truly anyone can do it. The small movements are not hard on your joints and most of the time you are simply using your own body weight to tone. If you have never taken a class before, spend some time with the teacher before discussing alignment and pay attention to the cues and corrections during class. And most of all, have fun!