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Barre Basics: 5 Things to Know About Barre Workouts

Once I got hooked on barre-based workouts (first through Physique 57 and later through Exhale Spa, where I became a Core Fusion devotee), I wanted to try every possible variety. There’s Pure Barre, The Bar Method, Barre3 (which I recently tried in L.A. and loved!), and countless others. I certainly have my favorites, but no matter which barre class you try, there are a few things to keep in mind that will help you with them all.
1. Use your core.
The class is based on a dancer’s workout (the Lotte Berk Method), so proper posture is crucial. No matter what move you’re doing, keep your back straight, your shoulders down, and your core engaged the entire time. You’ll get much better results if you use correct form.
2. Don’t count calories.
As we found out during our Jawbone experiment, activity trackers that monitor movement won’t accurately track the effort you put into a barre class, which uses very small, repeated movements, not big motions that a bracelet will notice. Don’t assume you’re not working hard just because you don’t see a big number on your wrist.
3. If you’re not shaking, you’re not working.
The thighs are the largest muscle group in the body, and barre classes really know how to work them. By squatting down while on your tip-toes, you’re firing up your quads and hamstrings to support your body weight and keep you stable. If you don’t start shaking within 20 reps, lift your heels up higher, and drop down lower. Shaking = changing.
4. Give yourself a learning curve.
You won’t be able to do everything right away. In fact, you’ll probably have to stop and take a break many times throughout the class. That’s totally normal. Keep at it, you’ll get it! Like Core Fusion cofounder Fred Devito says, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”
5. Get the right gear.
Don’t come to class in baggy pants and an old T-shirt. Wear formfitting clothes that let you see your body and help you ensure proper alignment. Most barre classes require grippy socks, but some allow you to go barefoot. Either way, come prepared with an outfit that lets you move, because you’re going to bend and stretch in all directions.
Do any of you have a favorite barre class? Tell me below in the comments. Oh, and what about a favorite/least favorite move? Mine is the Pretzel. I can’t do it!

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