As I sit here with a heat pack on my thighs, I can’t help but think about something that Studio Chic instructor Heather said in class the other day; “BootyBarre is a great way to cross train for pole.”
Clearly she's right! My workout was a few days ago already and I can still feel that wonderful burn in my leg muscles. But what exactly makes Barre so efficient for cross training for pole fitness?
It’s the total package
The hour long class consists of a warm up and upper body work with free weights followed by approximately 30 minutes at the barre with cardio blasts to keep the heart rate elevated. The class concludes with abdominal and back work, followed by a wonderful stretch. If you attend Barre on a regular basis you’ll see physical improvements in everything from flexibility, to endurance, core, balance and coordination. The combination of strength, cardio, and stretching means you can pack in a full body workout in only an hour.
As you move on in your pole journey, there is less of a focus during class time on strength foundation training and Barre is a fantastic way to supplement this (Combine it with TRX classes and you won’t know what to do with all that strength!). This is especially true for building core and lower body muscles which is something we often miss in pole classes as we tend to focus on upper body strength development.
Shoulders DOWN and BACK
Have you been having shoulder or back problems during your pole classes? As the foundations of Barre are rooted in Pilates, Yoga, Fitness, Ballet, and Dance, regular attendance can have a significant impact on your overall posture and the elongation of your muscles. This will help you with everything from spirals to inverts and making sure you are bringing your shoulders down and back. Say it with me, DOWN and BACK. Another benefit for polers is that Barre helps you with lines and extension which are some of the more technical aspects of dance. "Long lines" will help you take your spins and poses to the next level.
"The class starts by using one-inch incremental movements called isometric movements. Isometric movements can help strengthen muscles without straining tendons or ligaments, so there is less risk of injury in comparison to traditional strength training methods, such as heavy weight lifting. The class then moves into compound movements that help in increasing flexibility, such as long, sweeping Grande Battements (kicks). They are put in right after all the tight squeezing of the iso's to help lengthen and stretch the muscles out. If you’re prone to injury, this may be the perfect class for you."
Barre is for everyone
Anyone—no matter their age, weight, or fitness level—can get results and there is ZERO dance experience required. One of my favourite parts about Barre is the ability to customize your workout. Increasing the weight of your hand weights, going into relevé or tree pose, or simply squeezing your muscles harder allows you to create and control your own resistance. This will help keep you from plateauing during your Barre workouts and encourages you to listen to your own body. Not feeling strong today? No problem, stay flat footed. Do you feel like superman today? Awesome, use the 3lb weights instead and squeeze like crazy. And of course, you can always further challenge yourself by focussing on your form and posture, there is always room for improvement in this category.
- It will force you to practice “pointing your f***ing toes!”
- You. Will. Sweat. (There’s a reason that Studio Chic provides all its barre students with sweat towels!)
- Your legs will shake too.
- The high-energy music will help you get through your workout and put you in a happy mood for the rest of your day.
- Another opportunity to work on your splits
- Endurance building
- No dance experience required
- Anyone—no matter their age, weight, or fitness level—can hit the bar and get results
Bottom line: If you’re seriously in love with pole you should sign up for a Barre class right now, I promise you’ll love it!