I tried another new fitness class! This time I channelled my inner ballerina and tried out a Barre & Body class. Based in Harrogate, in a shiny new studio, the lovely owner Elishea offered me an intro class so I could review and share with you guys.
What is Barre?
The Barre method is a combination of exercises inspired by ballet and other disciplines such as yoga and Pilates. The ‘barre’ (an actual bar which runs horizontally along the walls) is used to help balance while performing the exercises which mainly focus on isometric (holding still while contracting a set of muscles) strengthening movements. Because of the isometric nature of Barre, you perform high repetitions using only a small range of motion – think lots of small pulses.
Barre was originally created back in 1959 in London by a German dancer who wanted to maintain his fitness while battling a back injury. The small, isometric movements help build muscle strength without putting strain on ligaments or tendons.
What was the class like?
The majority of the class utilises your body weight for resistance using small, deliberate movements, each focusing on different muscle groups. Because you are performing high reps, the muscles are worked to fatigue – and believe me, you won’t get through the class without stopping to shake off the burn at some point! Throughout the class, proper form is paramount, Elishea was always on hand to correct us ensuring that the exercises were being performed as effectively as possible, a great benefit of the small class size she stipulates.
The Barre class also combined light, hand held weights replacing body weight when it can't be used. We only used 1kg, but my god, did it hurt after performing lots of reps! We also used a small inflatable exercise ball for leg workouts, squeezing and holding the ball to help engage muscles.
There was very little rest between exercises, ensuring that muscles always remained engaged and helping to increase your cardiovascular endurance which helps speed up your metabolism – meaning you burn calories quicker, score!
Barre & Body is performed in either bare feet or grippy socks – so don’t forget to paint those nails. And no, you do not need any previous ballet experience to complete the class, which I think is a very common misconception.
Barre & Body is a low impact workout which helps build and strengthen muscles while also burning fat, so if your goal is a toned and lean look, Barre is definitely right for you.
A massive thank you to the talented Elishea at Barre and Body in Harrogate for a great introduction to this fun class, her passion for the method is infectious and you’ll come away feeling energised and pretty damn proud. The burn is real! Anyone in the area fancy coming along, feel free to shout and we can go sweat together!