How to make the most out of your Barre Base workout
By Rosa Anderson - Jones
We often say in class that the longer you come to Barre Base, the harder it becomes! Don’t be fooled, you’ll be getting fitter and stronger week to week, but you will also become savvier! Barre is conscious exercise — it requires mindfulness and an attention to detail. Once you learn how to work, you can push to further increase your strength, mobility, and grace.
Here are a few ways you can make the most out of your barre class.
Barre classes are all about learning to move your body with good posture. For many of us, poor posture occurs from bad habits, being sedentary or from poor mobility. In class, we work hard to simultaneously improve your strength and mobility, so that you can lengthen your muscles back into correct positions — and hold them there!
Your teacher is there to be your mirror. Listen to their cues, be it where your knees should be tracking, how your pelvis should be situated or where your arm should be held. There is so much to it, so don’t feel put off if you’re body isn’t moving the way it should after your first class.
Good technique comes in time, and the better your technique becomes, the more you’ll be able to get out of each class. Your teacher is there to help you guide your body into safe and effective positions.
Mind to muscle connection
Barre is intelligent exercise — meaning you can really get a lot more out of your class if you focus on where you’re meant to be feeling each movement. Ever feel like you're just going through the motions? If that’s you, you’re probably missing out on one of the most vital elements to success, the mind-muscle connection.
Movement is controlled by the brain. The first step towards muscular contraction is a signal sent by the brain to your muscles telling them to contract, so the more you can improve this communication, the more muscle fibers you will recruit, therefore an overall improved workout!
Mind-muscle connection is vital when we’re trying to recruit those smaller muscles or stabilizers. Otherwise known as our ‘secondary movers.’
When you move through a movement, be mindful of what you’re feeling, especially in comparison to where your teacher is suggesting you should feel a movement. Our muscles all work differently, so often we feel movements differently too, but be mindful of which parts of the body are helping you get through a movement.
When you squeeze and contract the muscles, and focus on each movement, you will notice a huge difference! It will feel much tougher, and you'll notice increased strength week to week!
Listen to your teacher's cues
Your teacher is there to help you move correctly. Don’t be overwhelmed if you feel as though nothing is moving correctly… just start with one thing at a time.
In barre, a great place to start is the alignment of the body.
When we move, we want to ensure our back is straight, and our core is connected. Keep your deep core muscles switched on, and a strong connection between your pubic bone and your belly button. From there, take your focus to where your knees are tracking. We always talk technique through the whole class, but we don’t expect it to be perfect straight away.
Work on one thing at a time, and like a jig-saw, it will all piece together. In time, your body will know no different.
Get more mobile
Over the last 20 years, the predominant mode of working has become computer based in developed countries. This has resulted in many people spending their work day sitting. Sedentary roles are known to cause muscular skeletal issues and mental fatigue.
Stretching is complimentary to many other sports and recreational hobbies as it helps increase one's mobility and flexibility which decreases the risk of injury. Stretching enables your body to recognise 'correct' posture by lengthening tight muscles that pull areas of the body away from their intended position. Stretching also increases blood and nutrient supply to muscles, and to the brain, thereby assisting in reducing muscle soreness and helping to send more oxygen to the brain, enabling better clarity of thought.
When you’re mobile, you will have a better range of motion. With a better range of motion, you are able to move your body into more challenging positions.
Going through a full range of motion will result in better muscle balance, joint stability, proper activation of the working muscles and overall better movement quality.
If you need to spend time that is dedicated to mobility, get along to one of our stretch classes.
Practice makes perfect. The more regularly you attend classes, the more mobile and strong you will become. It takes time and dedication, but barre classes are one of the best ways to safely and correctly build total-body strength.
Fuel your body
To put it simply, food gives you energy and you need energy to exercise. After you exercise you need food to restore your energy.
Because food is the body's fuel, proper nutrition leads to better performance. Provide your body with the right nutrients, and you'll be rewarded with higher energy, more muscle, and faster recovery. Nourish your body with a healthy balanced diet!
Everyone should enjoy food. If you learn to eat healthily, you'll be able to eat what you love, enjoy special treats guilt-free, consume food that makes you feel your best and balance your plate with adequate portions.
Nutrition is important when exercising. Good nutrition gives your body the ability to endure your workout, recover from it, and get stronger.