My legs shook. Sweat poured down my face. An energetic bass beat thumped through my chest. No, I wasn’t at Altered Thursdaze at the Mousetrap, I was attending my first barre fitness class. This new fitness trend involves strengthening and toning muscles through tiny, controlled movements. Props like resistance tubes and a wall mounted ballet barre allow for a unique, low-impact strengthening session. After working the muscles to the point of exhaustion, targeted stretches ensure a long, lean physique. The movements draw inspiration from yoga, ballet, and Pilates and work the muscles of the arms, hips, thighs, and abdominals.
What I liked: Looking for an intense but fun workout? Barre class might be for you! I couldn’t believe how effective the movements used in the class were. I felt muscles I didn’t know I had–even my fingers were exhausted. The music was upbeat and the instructor was helpful and encouraging. She demonstrated the movements and then circulated through the room, helping students make micro-adjestments to improve their form. The exercises were easy to learn and self-limiting, making it a good choice for all fitness levels. The high rep, low weight routine is excellent for someone with joint injuries. All equipment needed to participate in a class is provided–the only thing you need are comfortable clothes and a pair of socks (non-skid preferred).
What I didn’t like: Like many group classes, barre fitness can be expensive and may not be found outside of locations dedicated to the practice. Currently, there is not a barre studio in our area. However, some instructors offer specials for new attendees (my first class at Pure Barre in Fishers was free!) and Groupons or other package discounts are often available. Barre classes are often “women only,” leaving men out of the loop for this exercise trend.
The Bottom Line: I am definitely looking forward to my next barre fitness class! Though the movements were small, I felt every muscle in my body. At the end of 60 minutes, I felt like I had challenged my body. Perhaps when I achieve a fitness goal, I will reward myself with another class.