In the hot seat: Linda, co-founder of and instructor at WeBarre
Q: So… what exactly is Barre?
L: Barre is a full-body workout that incorporates low-impact movements from ballet (which explains why there is a ballet bar at every Barre studio), Pilates and strength training. When done consistently, Barre can:
Correct alignment and posture
Strengthen your core
Improve balance and stability
Make you functionally stronger for everyday life
Tone your body
Q: Hmm… Ballet? Does that mean I need to have a ballet background to do it? I’m worried because I know ballet dancers are crazy flexible and I am not at all…
L: Not at all. I mean, if you did ballet as a kid, some parts of Barre will probably feel nostalgic, but it doesn’t matter if you’re new to it. At WeBarre, our instructors will guide you through the ballet movements, even if the terms sound totally foreign to you at first.
Common misconception #1: You don’t even have to be flexible to do Barre, or any other sport that requires flexibility. In fact, the less flexible you are, the more you should do these sports to train your flexibility.
Q: So… Anyone can do it?
L: Anyone and everyone can do Barre regardless of age and fitness level. I’ve had kids who are nine and senior citizens in their 70s join our classes at WeBarre. Quick backstory: Barre was created by a German dancer who designed this program to rehabilitate the injuries she sustained from her dancing career. So Barre actually started out as a rehabilitation exercise - that’s why Barre movements tend to be low-impact ones that are safe for your joints, even for older folk.
Even the equipment we use in WeBarre classes are very accessible and beginner-friendly; most weights are kept at a maximum of 1kg. The best thing about our WeBarre is that every class comes with choices for you to increase or decrease the intensity. You can adapt a movement by taking a lower impact option or intensify it with a progression to suit your needs. There are even prenatal and postnatal WeBarre classes available for the mummies out there!
Q: But Barre and all this ballet stuff is only for girls, right…?
L: Common misconception #2: While most Barre classes consist of women, many guys also come for Barre classes because it benefits them enormously. Especially those who lift weights. Lifting weights shortens muscles that Barre classes lengthen and stretch. A lot of guys also don’t work on the smaller muscle groups at the gym because these aren’t muscles that can be seen (and admired). Barre trains these smaller, often overlooked and underworked muscle groups like the gluteus medius (a small part of your glutes responsible for balance and stability) through isometric movements.
Fun fact: Isometric movements are movements in which you contract a muscle or a muscle group and hold it in the same position for the duration of the exercise. A common, well-known example of an isometric exercise is a plank.
Q: Anything else I should know before my first Barre class?
L: Come in whatever feels good, but I would recommend wearing form-fitting bottoms (so the instructor can check your form) along with a t-shirt or tank top. Some studios require you to come in socks, but others don’t. Check with the studio beforehand!