It is based on ballet and has different components, although the best known and accessible in the Barre. The classes take place in a ballet bar and include different sequences of exercises similar to those practiced by professional dancers. It combines strength, endurance and flexibility, mainly the buttocks, legs and abdomen. The classes are dynamic, thanks to the music and to the fact that they are carried out in group.
It is a form of physical exercise, usually carried out in group classes in gyms or specialty studies. It is distinguished from other fitness group activities by the use of the ballet bar and its incorporation of movements derived from ballet. These movements and postures of classical dance are combined with those of yoga and Pilates, and sometimes other equipment is used in addition to the bar, such as resistance bands, yoga straps, exercise balls and hand weights. Barre classes typically focus on small, pulsating movements with an emphasis on form, alignment, and central engagement. Participants keep their bodies still while contracting specific muscle sets and directed in isometric exercises. Repetitions tend to be high, range of motion is small, and weights, when used, are light (1-1.5kg or 2-3kg). Barre classes focus on the lower body, developing strength and flexibility from the ankles up through the calves, knees, thighs, and buttocks. Keeping muscles in contraction for prolonged periods often causes them to tremble while fatigued. This is particularly true in the thighs, such as the quadriceps.
The Barre is for all types of women, not just those who have performed ballet. The sequences and exercises are not complicated. You don’t need to be extremely flexible, nor do you need to be able to stand on your toes.
Participants wear sportswear similar to that used in yoga classes, and do the exercises on barefoot or socks. Some socks include non-slip features to increase traction.
History of ballet fitness
Barre was created by dancer Lotte Berk in London in 1959. After being injured, Berk had the idea of combining her ballet bar routines with her rehabilitation therapy to form an exercise system. In 1959 he opened The Lotte Berk Studio in his West End basement. She had Joan Collins and Barbra Streisand among her students. One of Berk’s students, Lydia Bach, transported bars to the United States. She opened the Lotte Berk Method studio in New York City in 1971, where she served until 2005. The study instructors went on to found some of the major chains that offer Barre classes, such as Physique 57, The Bar Method, and Exhale Spa.
Barre rapidly expanded in popularity in the 2010 decade. By 2015, the Pure Barre chain had only 300 studios in the United States, and The Bar Method had more than 80. The Los Angeles-based Pop Physique chain popularized Barre by attracting a younger urban demographic, Citation Needed who opened studios in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. Sadie Lincoln, co-founder of the Barre3 chain of studios, attributes the growth in Barre’s popularity to people who want smaller, connected gymnastics classes in the economic climate following the global financial crisis. Tanya Becker, co-founder of Physique 57, suggests that the appeal of the bar is that the classes offer complete workouts in a short space and time. The American Council on Exercise noted an increase in the popularity of bar classes after the release of the Black Swan movie in 2010.
Barre’s classes attract people who want to develop a dancer’s muscle tone. Benefits include improved strength, posture, flexibility, balance, stability, endurance, and muscle definition, along with weight loss and stress reduction. Exercises target muscles that support and stabilize the body and are often neglected in everyday life and by other forms of exercise. Beyond purely physical objectives, sweep develops control and a particular aesthetics.
The Ballet Fitness works the whole body and at different levels, combining an aerobic base with strength exercises. It also helps to exercise the mind because it requires concentration to perform the sequences well and be able to remember them.
A ballet-inspired workout:
- -It tones the abdomen, buttocks and legs.
- -Strengthens back muscles and corrects body posture.
- -Develops resistance and burns calories.
- -Provides flexibility and agility, and improves coordination.
- -Exercise memory.
- -It teaches to pay attention to the present moment.
Criticism and risks
A criticism of the bar is that the strength gain of small isometric exercises does not develop functional strength in the same way as the composite movements common in traditional strength training, because many of the movements used in the bar class are not used anywhere else, but in dancing. In addition, isometric movements are less effective than composite movements in stimulating muscle fiber growth and increasing the metabolic rate that will help achieve weight loss goals. Nor are bar classes as effective as traditional aerobic classes in developing cardiovascular fitness, typically only raising heart rates to 40-50% of the maximum. In terms of energy production, the bar generally doesn’t burn many calories, and its energy demands are more like walking than running.
Some kinds of bar adopt the ballet aesthetic of keeping the upper back straight, achieved by inserting the pelvis. This practice can cause back pain and injuries. The Ballet Plié movement used in many kinds of bars is based on bending the knee outward with the legs turned away from the central line of the body. The pressure this exerts on the knees can increase the risk of knee injury, specifically if someone runs out immediately after a kind of bar.