Seven things I wish I’d known before my first barre class, written by Laura Denham Jones
You do not have to be a dancer
If you are not, or never have been a ballet dancer and already you’re thinking ‘this can’t be for me’ think again. The beauty of our workouts is that they are for anyone. You do not need any previous dance or general exercise experience and all classes are entirely suitable for beginners.
Barre is a unique methodology. There is some dynamic movement and we work deep into the large muscle groups of the body, but its in targeting the smaller, stabilising muscles that our workouts differ from anything you’ll have done before…
We call it dynamic stabilisation. Athletes (and many amateur sports-people, by association) often train with explosive movements, but it’s important not to neglect the eccentric muscle patterns that play the biggest role in protecting their bodies from injury. Think of it as ‘putting on the brakes’, a way to manipulate your body weight better through movement. Our techniques support and allow movement whilst isolating muscle groups, bridging the gap between big muscle groups and deeper stabilisers.
Correct posture is central to ballet for control, strength and grace. And we ensure that you work with correct alignment in every position, movement and stretch. Keeping your joints and spine strong and flexible on a basic level, means you will stand taller than your feet and inches, AND move in a more youthful way for longer. Even after your first class we want you to walk out with more grace and confidence than when you came in.
Don’t worry about what other people are doing
You can sometimes feel self-conscious when you are learning something new, but rest assured everyone is probably concentrating on their own workout, not looking at you. Barre is an intense workout and takes a considerable amount of concentration – everyone in your class is in the same boat!
Be ready to work your brain as well as your body
If you are new to barre there will be some terms you haven’t heard before, and because the movements are often small and precise, you will really need to follow auditory cues, rather than rely on visual ones. You can be so focused on the movements and the fast pace of the class, that the hour flies by and that any stress your brought into the class vanishes, fast. It’s the perfect escape!
It’s one workout you don’t need to shower after!
With no jumping around and no wildly beating heart you don’t need to shower after the class – so you can fit it into your day any time. Plus, this type of functional training has a unique way of maximizing strength output without risking overtraining. Some people actually come to class twice a day!
It keeps getting better
You don’t ever ‘conquer’ barre. Your technique improves and you become stronger, but it doesn’t become easier. So you never plateau and the results just keep coming. And because at Barreworks, every single class is different from the last, you never know what you’re going to get, your muscles (and your mind) are constantly challenged.