Stacey Chew is Co-Owner of Xtend Barre Burleigh in the Gold Coast. With a professional dance background, Stacey has taught dance and fitness for over 20 years. If you’re keen to try barre but not sure what to expect, here’s a simple beginner’s guide to help you on your way.
What is barre?
Barre is a full body workout that combines Pilates and dance movements to tone and tighten the body. The workout is designed to challenge all ages and fitness levels (no dance experience is required.)
The overall goal of barre is to produce a “dancer’s physique”, which is fitness speak for long, lean legs and arms, firm abs and a lifted tooshie! An Xtend Barre class lasts for 55 minutes and blends Pilates movements together with elements of ballet.
The benefits are numerous – improved posture, core strength, flexibility, coordination, body awareness, toned muscles and improved cardio fitness.
What to wear/bring to a barre class
Firstly, wearing the right clothing to a barre class will ensure you get the most out of your workout. We recommend grip socks to optimise the workout. These socks allow your feet to grip the floor, which in turn can help you gain greater stability and control in the movements.
We also recommend wearing clothes you can easily stretch and move in. These could be a pair of gym tights or shorts – just make sure you’re comfortable and ready to move!
Lastly, don’t forget your towel and water bottle. These workouts are going to make you feel the burn in all the right places, so be prepared to sweat!
What to expect from your first barre class
Barre classes will differ depending on the studio you visit. At Xtend Barre, all of our classes follow a similar sequence. It’s important to note that no two Xtend Barre classes are ever the same though, so you can expect to feel challenged and inspired at every class.
1. Welcome to the studio
When you arrive, you’ll have the chance to discuss with the instructor any injuries or health issues you may currently have. This will allow the instructor to modify the movements to suit your individual needs and make sure you’re working out safely. Remember, do not be afraid to raise any issues you may have, after all, you’re here to get more out of your workout. We’re here to optimise your strengths and help you to excel in the class, so please do chat with us.
2. Warm up
Once the class has started, expect a short warm up to get the blood flowing and the muscles moving. Once you’re all nice and warmed up you will begin the upper body series with small hand weights to tone and tighten your triceps, shoulders, biceps and all of the upper body muscles in between. These small hand weights sound like they won’t have a huge effect but trust me, when used in our custom workouts you’ll feel the burn.
3 It’s barre time
The barre part of the class will go for roughly 25 minutes. Prepare to be focused on the instructor to ensure you get the most out of the class. As your instructor guides you through the workout have your eyes on the mirror and focus on the timing while keeping your breathing steady and calm. Here at the barre you will find your strengths.
With high intensity cardio and movements, you will find yourself working every inch of your body. These choreographed movements will not only work your muscles but collaborate your balance, flexibility, endurance and overall coordination. Even the most uncoordinated person can follow these steps, it’s that simple.
4. Mat workout
Next, we will have you down on the mat, to strengthen and engage your core. This part of the class has a traditional Pilates feel with an Xtend Barre touch. These movements will improve your abdominal muscles and tighten your centre.
5. Lights down low
This final step will warm you down and stretch out your muscles after an intense workout. It’s important to stay right to the end of the class to feel the benefits of the whole workout.
And that’s pretty much it! If the thought of trying a new fitness program is still making you feel a little nervous, please don’t be. Instructors are there to guide and support you every step of the way.
The more times you practice barre, the better your overall coordination and workout will be so stick with it for best results. Why not come and try it for yourself?