image: ambassador, Andrea Isabelle Lucas
After discovering one of my old dance recital VHS a few years back, I did two things. I wondered why my parents kept me enrolled in a dance program for so long and I vowed to stay clear of a dance floor for the rest of my life. That was until I discovered a fitness class where I found myself plié-ing and elevé-ing at the barre once more and, surprisingly, quite liking it. Our Boston-based Core Fusion Ambassador, Andrea Isabelle Lucas, takes us back to first position with the benefits of barre.
For decades, devotees have transformed their health through this practice, which provides the perfect balance of safe and challenging work through a blend of yoga, Pilates and ballet. Lotte Berk (a professional Ballerina) created this practice when she blended orthopedic exercises with her dance training while rehabbing an injury. These days we are seeing an explosion of Lotte Berk-inspired barre programs under a variety of names (Core Fusion, Nalini Method, Bar Method, Barre Fitness, Physique 57, Dailey Method, Rasamaya Barre, Pure Barre).
image: Pearl Distric ambassador, Denise Burchard
benefits of barre
Regular practice (three to five times a week) can increase muscle density, decrease body fat, improve flexibility and posture and rev up your metabolism. The hour-long class is a blend of strength training with our own body weight or light hand weights, interval cardio and lots of stretching. The ballet-inspired workout focuses on incredibly efficient, tiny movements. Take our average sit-up. There is about a one-inch range of motion that makes up the most challenging and beneficial part of that exercise – we’ll call it the sweet spot. In a barre class, we’ll spend several minutes holding and working with tiny pulses in that sweet spot until our muscles not only burn but also shake with fatigue. Each muscle group is stretched immediately after it’s worked which promotes longer, leaner muscles and better recovery so we’re less sore the next day.
Don’t be fooled by its ballet roots, even though it looks graceful, it’s anything but effortless. Are you ready to return to the barre – even if your childhood experience was as embarrassing and uncoordinated as mine?