Complete Pilates & Fitness Blog

What's all the fuss about Barre classes?

Feb 2016

Have you noticed the increase in "Barre" classes and studios around the SCV?  In the last few months they've really increased in popularity!

So...what is a Barre class anyways?

While barre has origins in dance, the rhythmically challenged shouldn't worry: No tapshoes, leotards, or any fancy footwork are required. You don't need any dance experience—you're not going to be doing pirouettes!  So what's the difference between barre and a typical strength training or cross-fit class? Rather than larger, compound movements (think squats and shoulder presses), you'll perform tiny, one-inch increments called isometric movements.

The isometric contractions that make up the bulk of a barre class occur when the muscle tenses without changing length. Think of these movements as the opposite of typical strength training moves (or concentric and eccentric contractions), which occur when a muscle stretches then shortens (as in a biceps curl). Isometric exercise is a great way to maintain muscle strength.  What's wonderful about the one-inch movements is that you can hold a posture and benefit from continuously engaging the muscle, but you also get a mini-recovery with each pulse, so you can stay in the hold longer.  Isometric movements can help strengthen muscles without straining tendons or ligaments, so there's less risk of injury compared to more traditional strength training.

What's the difference between a traditional and a Pilates-based Barre class?

Pilates based Barre classes are taught by certified Pilates instructors vs. traditional Barre classes that are taught by instructors with some basic knowledge of Pilates and sometimes other disciplines, like Yoga.  Pilates based classes, focus more on keeping the same principles that Pilates uses throughout each and every movement in the Barre routine.  This means that exercises are modified for each individual (as opposed to a traditional class where the instructor is in the front of the room and everyone attempts to follow along without individual attention).  It also means that extreme focus is placed on keeping your body in a position that doesn't allow you to recruit other muscles to compensate (like your back) that is how you get hurt.   I like to think of it as top form of Barre exercise because of the incredible focus it places on your safety.  The best part about it is that because it's tailored to fit your body, each and every workout challenges you individually!

Come visit Complete Pilates & Fitness in Santa Clarita / Valencia CA today!

22800 Lyons Ave. #120

Santa Clarita, CA 91321