Ballerinas are the model for posture, grace, and strength. And while you’re probably not going to dance Swan Lake anytime soon, you can reap the long-term benefits of ballet with a barre workout. This low-impact exercise is the secret to beautiful posture and flexibility. In addition, a ballet-inspired barre class offers big results by using isometric or highly localized movements to tone your thighs, abs and booty.
A Matter of Form
“Don’t slouch!” might be one the top three things mothers say to their children, along with, “Wear a jacket,” and, “Eat your vegetables.” In addition to being a great workout, ballet barre is the perfect solution to improving your posture, which helps you breathe properly, boosts circulation, and minimizes joint decay. After just a few sessions, you’ll see a difference in your posture at work and at the dinner table. Plus, it will boost your self-confidence. You will walk into any room with your head held high–literally. (Sorry, we can’t help with the jacket or vegetables.)
What to Expect
Ballet movements set to upbeat music, along with elements of Pilates, yoga and strength training, are the foundation of barre classes. During the class, your instructor will encourage you to maintain your form, whether at the ballet barre or while cooling down with floor exercises. In addition, she will remind you to keep your shoulders down and rolled back and to keep those ab muscles activated and pulled in. Your core is the secret to ballet barre success.
The Home Stretch
A few things to keep in mind when taking the leap into ballet barre: The classes move at a fast pace but it’s important to go at your own speed and take a break if needed. In fact, it’s better to get the form right than squeeze every move in. Be nice to your sweet self, especially at the beginning. The ballet barre might be straight but the class is a bit of a learning curve.
And remember stretching is key! That’s why professional ballerinas can bend their bodies into elegant pretzels. If your ballet barre class does not include a stretching warm up, be sure to stretch before and after the class so your body is limber and ready to go. Otherwise, you’ll be headed towards an injury faster than you can say, “Allegro!”
Don’t Forget the Socks
Just like ballet, ballet barre requires special footwear. In this case, you will wear socks with special no-slip grips to avoid falls and injuries. Most studios have socks for purchase. If you have your own, don’t forget to pack them up on your way to class. Additionally, you can wear a pair of ballet slippers. But leave point shoes at home – your toes will thank you.
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