Fitness Friday: Meet me at the barre!

Joanne Platanos is a fitness instructor at Privé-Swiss Fitness, Westbrook, Madison.

What is barre?

Barre stems from ballet, but you don’t have to be a dancer! It is a fusion of ballet, pilates and yoga with added cardio blasts choregraphed to fun, energetic music.

The class is designed using proper alignment for safety and incorporates cardio, strength training, balance and core exercises targeting full body 360-degree muscle activation. Props are often used in class, including hand weights, resistance bands, Pilates ball and gliders.

The movements are all about improving range of motion, strength and flexibility. After the small isometric micro-moves, stretches are sprinkled in to aid in recovery and reduce muscle bulk. You will achieve mind-body connection by zeroing in on a specific recruitment of muscles.

The class typically begins with a warm up followed by upper body transitioning into mat work including planks, push-ups, etc. It continues by moving to the barre for legs and glute work, interspersed cardio blasts and stretching. The class ends with core work and cool down on the mat.

You may find your muscles quiver or shake during the workout even if you engage in other types of workouts, such as running, indoor cycling and HIIT. Barre uses different muscle fibers and aims to take them to exhaustion, hence the shakes (which are normal!). Ultimately, this helps your endurance and overall fitness. There are modifications for everyone no matter your fitness level — even those experiencing arthritis and joint problems.

There are several benefits of incorporating barre into your fitness routine, including:

Low impact cardio blast enhances your cardiovascular fitness.

Stretching improves your posture and flexibility.

Targeting large muscles, thighs and glutes burns more calories.

One legged-poses at the barre are great for bone density and help ward off osteoporosis.

Core exercises keep your back healthy and can aid in recovery.

So why is barre so popular? In addition to the physical benefits outlined above, you will leave class feeling accomplished and empowered for the rest of your day. The barre community is also a wonderful and supportive one, encouraging everyone in the studio to work just a little harder for just a little longer. So, see you at the “barre.”

Connecticut Media Group