words by Lara Hassan Founder of Spiral Body
It goes without saying that you can’t get the butt you want by just sitting on it. Most women and men around the world desire having a great derriere and let’s face it; it could only be achieved by working out, a good diet and by drinking plenty of water.
As a trainer for 13 years I have done a lot of research on what works and what doesn’t. I grew very fond of barre methods, as it’s a natural progression from my Pilates background, I find that it complements Pilates and emphasises training the seat, which is the base of the powerhouse in a healthy body.
Why does it differ from other methods?
Most barre classes focus on tucking and high repetitions, which could potentially cause damage to the pelvic region, and high repetitions encourage the build up of lactic acid, which is rather toxic. The aim of the method is to tone and sculpt whilst avoiding, damage, injury and muscular imbalance.
Barre workouts are great not just for toning, also for alignment and posture. Each class provides a cardio element in addition to a strength and stretch element. With the cardio element you will get the aerobic conditioning that aids for improving metabolism and weight loss, the ballet inspired moves will strengthen and tone the body all over starting from the feet.
Core work is essential in barre methods; Pilates inspired moves that work the body from the inside out. A good barre class will contain every element of fitness any person needs providing they are healthy and able to move.
The Benefits of Barre
Weight loss: the barre targets the largest muscle groups in the body (like the thighs and gluteus)- the larger the muscle, the more calories burned! As you continue to attend class, you will begin to build more lean muscle mass, raising your metabolic rate, which can help you produce more energy and burn more calories. Pair the barre exercise routine with a healthy diet and you will absolutely see the results.
Cellulite reduction: aerobic activity is a key factor in getting rid of orange peel skin! Barre exercises are fat blasting; it focuses on the lower body and designed to help you drop pounds. If you want to fit into your skinny jeans, have killer legs and a great looking butt, or you just want to go from a good shape to a better one, barre classes are for you!
Increased bone health: the isometric movements in the barre method protect your bone health; weight-bearing exercises are vital to overcome any bone density issues.
Core strength and improved posture: Besides reducing your waistline and improving posture, a strong core is achieved through the Pilates based abdominal work and floor barre exercises. A strong core can increase your performance in all other activities in your life, whether you’re playing tennis or just lifting your kids. Without a strong core, your muscles cannot move freely or efficiently, so you will tend to overuse your lower back muscles and put additional stress on other joints- commonly leading to aches, pains and injuries.
The beauty of the barre is that we emphasise engaging your core throughout all of class for compounded results – so even if we are working the arms or thighs, we are always engaging, and therefore strengthening, the core as well.
Flexibility: Ballet stretches are a major part of the session done at the end of each interval, the muscles are elongated, bulk is reduced and therefore balance and alignment are achieved.
Want to try it for yourself? Join Lara at Spiral www.spiralpilatesstudio.co.uk