What’s in a fitbarre class?
I recently took my first fitbarre class with Lauren. I’d participated in the bootcamps with Bev and I loved those. (I would definitely encourage people to try them!) Fitbarre seemed a healthy and exciting way to challenge myself with something new. I consider myself fairly fit and I was shocked when a set at the barre with my inner thighs left me wanting to fall to the floor! Of course, I didn’t fall to the floor but I was amazed at how my body’s largest muscles quivered. There is power in these tiny incremental movements. Knowing that Lizz also thought her first barre class was “crazy hard” was a bit reassuring. Heck, now she owns the studio and teaches these classes.
Perhaps one day after a class my abs won’t be sore, but until then, I’ll keep plodding away. I enjoy draping over the barre and imagining I’m a ballerina. When there are times I can’t complete a set, I like knowing I have something to improve upon. Each instructor is different and each class varies slightly. I like that the moves aren’t monotonous, but rather sharply focused. I appreciate the instructors’ help. They gently nudge my body into the proper form with a few choice words or small hand corrections. At this stage in my fitbarre journey, I’m simply mastering the basics, like how to tuck my seat beneath me. I look forward to the achievements that I’ll meet down the road.
The interesting thing about this method is that the more your muscles are trembling, the better your chances are that you’re doing the moves correctly. If you’re like me, this is probably nice consolation. Even Lizz admits to feeling her whole body shake during a good class. This is how she knows she’s at her personal limit. It’s the proof that she’s giving her best effort.
A fitbarre class is an intense full-body workout. It’s a fusion of ballet, Pilates, yoga, and strength training. The aim of the class is to lengthen your muscles by using small, controlled, nonimpact movements. You will tone your body and lift your seat. (Show me a woman who doesn’t want to lift her seat and I’ll show you a Michigan winter without snow!) A proper session will maximize every inch of your body and every minute in the studio. You will rotate from standing up and doing bicep curls to dropping into a plank position. Then you might stand at the barre and work your side seat (a polite word for saddlebags). Afterward you’ll lie on your mat and then you’ll be back at the barre after that. The idea is that you focus on a particular muscle, attack it from different angles (such as regular bicep curls, hammer curls, wide curls, half curls, etc.), and work it to the point of exhaustion. And since you don’t want the muscle to stay contracted and tight, you stretch it fully to keep it long and lean. This process is repeated for your whole body, from your triceps to your obliques and down to your calves. Although, when you’re at the barre, you’ll target the muscles from your knees to your hips in an acute and unrelenting fashion.
Lizz knows the class is challenging but she’s convinced great music helps take the focus away from your quivering abs. In the BodyFit studio, the instructors pride themselves on playing current hit songs. They want to ramp up the energy in the room so that everyone stays motivated and never stops moving. If you can think of any great songs that we should be playing in the BodyFit studio, please let us know. We want to make your fitbarre experience as effective and as fun as possible!
The physical language of the body is so much more powerful than words. ~Bill IrwinAdvertisements