Learn more about getting fit with Barre. (Classes are like modern day aerobics.)
By ALEXIS ROCHESTER
As an investigative chemist, I love sharing with you the best, most proven science-based cleaning, skincare, gardening and health tips.
Another thing I am passionate about is exercise.
When I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 10, I quickly learned that typical exercise was not going to work for me. I wasn’t able to participate in athletics like other kids with my bad knees and arthritic fingers.
In my mid-20s I discovered there are so many great exercise options even for those of us who have physical limitations.
You don’t have to miss out on beneficial exercise because you have joint issues, knee problems, or anything else that limits your ability to move. One of those exercises is Barre.
IS IT HARD?
You might be thinking Barre is challenging and like a ballet class, but it is really a fun, low impact class nostalgic of aerobics classes from the 80s and 90s.
What I love most about Barre exercises, is you can modify them to be as easy or low impact as you need or you can increase the weight and intensity to make it more challenging.
When I taught my first Barre class in Stephenville (classes are every Friday, feel free to reach out for more details), people were surprised how simple it was, but how tiny little muscles were sore the next day.
The ab work is a little challenging, but you will build up fantastic core strength with these exercises. I did the ab series of this class for my husband (who was a Marine and works out daily), and he struggled a little bit.
(Now he wants me to do the ab work with him a few times a week LOL!)
WHAT IS BARRE?
Barre is a full body workout created for dancers. Its methodologies pull from ballet, yoga, and Pilates. It focuses on small and specific movements targeting certain muscle groups that provide safe and effective results.
Exercises done in Barre are adaptable to those with injury or movement limitations because of its low impact on the body.
WHAT ABOUT MY BAD KNEES?
There are different levels of Barre workouts, so you can simply choose a beginner’s class. Most beginner Barre workouts don’t involve much knee movement. There will be slight bending into plies, but nothing harsh.
The awesome thing about Barre is you can also modify any movement by not bending as much! It is one of the most easily modified workouts I have done. I had a serious knee surgery last March and I am still not back to normal.
Exercises that are doable for bad knees are a must for me.
WHAT EQUIPMENT IS USED IN BARRE?
You don’t need any equipment for Barre.
In the class I teach, we use 1-2 lb. hand weights for the arm work, but many people don’t use weights at all and you still get a good workout.
If you take a Barre class, they do some of the exercises on the ballet barre which is there for balance. If you are doing something at home, you can use just about anything for balance; a chair, couch or counter.
You can be any age! I have taken Barre classes with women in their 70s. Barre is all about low weights and high repetitions which is why it reminds me of a good old-fashioned aerobics class, just more modern with highly specific moves.
PILATES VS. BARRE
I started taking Pilates before getting certified to teach Barre, so my classes are a mix of both.
Both exercises are gentle on the joints. Barre is more of a dancer inspired workout, and they utilize different equipment. Each of these workouts is a great exercise for core and joint strength.
I think everyone should be able to enjoy safe, gentle workouts despite their age or fitness level.
If you want to try some simple online videos for a Barre class, you can check out our post here.
We share some great beginning Barre videos from Youtube.
You can follow us on Instagram for more tips like this and videos.
Message me or reach out if you are interested in taking a Barre class locally too!
Alexis Rochester is an investigative chemist, blogger and founder of Chemistry Cachet. She shares science-based skin care, cleaning, gardening and health tips. She was diagnosed with RA at age 10, so she has a passion for pain management tips and research, along with sharing her journey through this disease. When she’s not writing for Chemistry Cachet, she is taking Pilates or Barre classes, and also received her Barre teaching certification this year! She grew up in Stephenville and recently moved back with her daughter, husband and bulldog. You can find her posting pictures and fun stories daily on Instagram. Also look for Chemistry Cachet on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn.