As the adage goes, “If you want a dancer’s body, you should train like a dancer.” Dancers, known for their lean physiques and gracefully toned muscles, have served as an icon for women looking to get in shape for years. Now, as our society is evolving to become more health and fitness conscious, there are plenty of opportunities for non-dancers to train like dancers. This is where barre class comes in.
Barres are the handrails ballet dancers hold on to when training to improve their balance and precision. Historians believe barre training for non-dancers became popular in 18th century France, where aristocratic women, in awe of France’s immaculate ballet dancers, worked to improve their strength and flexibility. Today, you can enjoy barre training for a lower body, leg and butt-focused workout, and who doesn’t want that? But there are actually various benefits to a barre workout.
It Helps You Build Muscle Endurance and Balance
Although many people think of strength as being able to lift heavy weights, that only goes so far. Without muscle endurance, those muscles won’t be able to work for very long, which means they won’t live up to their full potential. Since barre classes have more of a focus on form and precision, the workouts encourage muscles to hold their positions for longer, which builds your endurance.
Similarly, you can improve your balance through barre classes because many positions activate your “support and steady” muscles. These are muscles that are situated close to your bones and connect to your core and spine. Since many of us have sedentary jobs, these muscles tend to become weaker due to lack of use. However, building these muscles can treat back pain and arthritis, while improving cardiovascular performance.
It’s Safer than Other Types of Exercise
As a medium-intensity exercise, barre workouts don’t allow beginners to overexert themselves. Furthermore, most barre classes are easy on the joints, so if you have trouble with your knees or ankles, you won’t have to worry about causing yourself serious injury. This is enforced with the use of the barre. Since the barre gives you something to hold onto while you’re exercising, you won’t have to worry about putting too much strain on weak joints or muscles.
It Can Challenge Your Fitness Levels
Don’t let the class’s low-impact level deter you. If you’re trying to amp up your fitness game, there are ways to make barre more challenging. Many classes offer modifications to the workouts, which include resistance bands and weights. You can also ask your instructor to show you more advanced moves. Although barre classes might not get your heart pumping, the exercises entail serious leg, glute and core engagement, and they’re a lot harder than they look.