The latest fitness craze is a ballet-inspired workout aimed at strengthening your core and helping sculpt a long, lean figure with the aid of a ballerina’s best friend – the barre. While the popular training method first appeared in the 1950s, it has returned to the mainstream with celebrities like Madonna and Kelly Ripa paving the way for a new generation.
If you don’t think Madonna is sufficient testimony to the benefits of the barre, here are few extra reasons you might want to try it out:
1. Whole-body benefits
For those who think the barre workout is a gentle alternative to other types of training, think again. Barre boasts results in strength, tone, flexibility, posture, balance and co-ordination. Barre disciples often talk about “shaking” during a workout. Shaking will happen when your muscles are exhausted, ultimately making them easier to mold and stretch. When you finish, you will feel the burn in your abs, legs, arms and seat, like you’ve just finished a marathon. However, keep it up and you will see your body take the lean, toned form of a ballerina.
Barre fitness is the perfect antidote to workout boredom. While it draws upon ballet-basics, elements of weight training, yoga and Pilates are also incorporated into the routine. Typically, an hour-long workout will include a warm-up, weight exercises, barre exercises, floor work and stretching. Not only is the workout diverse and exciting, it is also appropriate for a range of different body shapes, fitness levels and abilities. It is also unique in its feminine form. You can enjoy the benefits of a strenuous workout, but without the huffing and puffing associated with cardio-intensive exercises.
3. You can do it from home
The great thing about barre fitness is that you don’t need a barre to do it! As I’ve mentioned, there is a range of other elements in the workout that don’t require the barre, such as weight lifting and floor work. For the few exercises that do require assistance, you can substitute a barre for a stable chair or ledge. There is also range of barre DVDs available to guide your home workout.
Image via Core Studio