We tried this amazing Barre workout for the first time back in 2016 and we instantly fell in love! Fast forward to 2020 and Emma has just finished her Barre training and we are filming classes for the MerryBody Studio! Ahhh this method of movement is not only fun, but it’s absolutely transformational. It will make you stronger, more flexible, fitter, and create better posture.
Alright, so what is Barre?
Barre class is a meticulous workout that blends elements of different exercises, including ballet, yoga, and Pilates. We know… combining so many challenging workouts that are different in nature can seem intimidating and challenging at first, but don’t stress. Barre classes are also perfect for beginners and first-timers.
Our MerryBody classes are more like standing Pilates classes with dance elements. Some other Barre classes have a more dancey and ballet feel, usually, these instructors have a history of dance. Our dance history involved ballet classes when we were 5 and 8 (we were so cute), some Jazz, some Irish dancing, and a whole lot of booty shaking in da clubs from 18-24 (hahahaaha).
As your instructors, we will provide professional guidance to help you get used to moving your body in this different, innovative, and beneficial way. We always offer modifications whether it’s a progression or regression.
But before you try Barre, let’s learn more about this amazing workout.
First things first, Barre is pronounced ‘bar’.
The Origins of Barre
Lotte Berk, a German ballerina living in London, originally developed the now very famous Barre workout. After injuring her back, she combined her dance knowledge and skill with her rehabilitative therapy. Lotte Berk opened the first-ever Barre studio in 1959 in her London basement. Some of the most famous faces visiting were Joan Collins and Barbara Streisand, amongst many others.
Back in the 60’s the Lotte Berk Barre method was very sexualised. It was somewhat part of the sexual revolution and liberation for women with moves like ‘the prostitute’ and ‘naughty bottoms’ and ‘the sex’. Once you do a class you’ll understand, get ready to swing the hips and tuck the pelvis.
Nowadays and in MerryBody we don’t refer to the sexual history of Barre when we do these moves… for us, it’s simply about feeling strong, empowered, and amazing. And yes, this probably will improve your sex life. But really… so will all exercise.
Interesting either way!
Equipment Used During The Barre Workout
The primary piece of equipment used during the classes is the ballet bar (those who have trained ballet or ever visited a ballet studio are going to be familiar with this piece of equipment). We use this to help us balance and sometimes for weight-bearing exercises. For home workouts, you can use the back of a chair, a table, the benchtop, or the balcony railing.
During the Barre workout, other pieces of equipment are also used but not necessary. You’ll see in our MerryBody Barre classes we use a yoga mat and optional hand weights (you don’t need these). Other classes may use ankle weights, the magic circle, exercise bands, and balls. But really, all you need is the Bar or a chair.
What Are The Benefits Of Barre?
Barre Increases Strength
If you do Barre classes regularly and the exercises properly, you will soon notice a physical change. Nearly every exercise done during the Barre workout routine uses your own body weight as resistance to strengthen, lengthen, sculpt, and tone your muscles. Most of the class is done standing, so this will get your heart rate up more than a Pilates class down on the mat.
Barre Workouts Improve Flexibility
Even though Barre certainly is not a ballet class, you will definitely notice your body getting more and more flexible after you’ve been consistently taking classes for a period of time.
If you’re struggling with flexibility, you should try to combine Barre and Yoga classes, in order to improve it significantly. Pop on a MerryBody Barre Class (like, Booty Barre) followed by a Yin class (like, Get Quiet Yin) and you have a winning combo for flexibility!
Barre workouts include a lot of elongating and stretching of the body, which will help prevent injuries, improve strength, and agility. In addition, it also feels so good after a long day spent sitting at a desk or running after your kids.
Barre Workout Improves Posture
What are ballerinas known for? Their elegance, their graceful movements, and their amazing posture! Barre workouts focus on improving and strengthening your posture. Good posture is essential for balance and directly affects your whole life, making you less prone to injury and able to perform all kinds of movements and exercises in a more safe and effective way.
A Different Way To Move
We LOVE Yoga and Pilates but adding the Ballet Bar (or chair) creates a whole new workout. Yes there are similar moves, but it totally changes the whole experience you feel within your body.
Not only is it important for your physical body to try new movements but it’s just (maybe even more!) important for your brain! Learning and experiencing something new will work the mind muscles. Keep you sharp!
There’s a reason why Lotte Berk continued to teach into her 80’s and died at the age of 90. This Barre workout is good for you!
Ooo all of this Barre talk has got us feeling so excited to bring more Barre classes into the MerryBody Online Studio! Members get ready! And if you want to try a class out right now, sign up with our 7 Day Free Trial, CLICK HERE to get access.
Emma + Carla