Class of the Month – Barre Method

History

Barre is a form of exercise that is offered by fitness centers, and that is taught within a group class environment. The class itself involves a unique combination of ballet, Pilates and yoga. Barre classes have been around since 1959 when the founder, Lotte Berk, began teaching the classes in her basement in London. It grew in popularity within the United States after Lydia Bach, one of Berk’s students from London, brought barre to the United States in 1971 after opening the Lotte Berk Method Studio in New York City. The Lotte Berk Method Studio remained in operation until 2005 with many of the top instructions moving on to open their own chains of fitness centers offering barre classes.

The Workout

Although Barre classes are comprised of ballet, Pilates and yoga, you don’t have to be a skilled dancer to participate or reap the many benefits of attending this type of fitness class. In fact, you don’t need any dance experience at all to participate. During a Barre workout, you will complete classical dance, yoga and Pilates movements and positions using a ballet barre and possibly other equipment such as yoga straps, resistance bands, exercise balls and small hand weights.

Barre classes focus on guiding you through making many tiny movements that help you get stronger. These small movements are referred to as isometric contractions, which occur when muscles tense without changing in length. These types of movements often confuse first-time attendees because they are the opposite of what you would be doing in other strength training classes. Many people even feel as though they may not be working hard enough, but that is not the case because these tiny isometric movements isolate and focus on specific muscles. With smaller movements, you can complete more reps, and in doing that, you are tiring your muscles in a different way. This method of strength training helps strengthen your muscles without placing too much strain on your tendons or ligaments, which means there is a lesser chance of injury. In addition, these exercises contribute to what are known as your slow-twitch muscles, which help build endurance and who doesn’t want to do that?

The Benefits

Barre classes are great for people that have just started working out or that have arthritis or joint problems because all of the exercises conducted during a barre class are low impact. This also makes it a great choice for people that are just starting to workout. Barre Method fitness classes also target a variety of areas including your core, arm, leg, glutes and back muscles. In targeting these areas, the class contributes to more than improving muscle definition. It also helps to build strength, improve posture, increase flexibility and better your balance. In addition, barre classes can also help you achieve your weight loss goals while also, reducing stress.

If interested in attending Barre classes in or around Beaverton, Oregon, stop into the FIT Academy! The Fit Academy offers a variety of group fitness classes including Barre.

Click to view a full list of fitness classes and times.

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