Expectation vs. Reality: This Is What Happens to Your Body at a Barre Class

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Barre workouts are a favourite among models and mums alike. No matter where you go, the core (pun intended) of a barre workout is essentially the same: It starts with a mat-based warm-up, and then you move into an arm workout, which is followed by a lower-body series at the bar. At the end, everything is tied together with some intense core work. Throughout, you do tiny isometric movements that contract your muscles without changing their length. If that sounds like a good workout, that’s because it is. Trust us when we say there’s a reason everyone from your boss to your bestie books a barre session before brunch.

Keep reading to find out why you’re gonna want to get your booty to your nearest barre studio to feel the burn.

It's a workout for everyone

No matter your fitness level, you can attend a barre class and get something out of it. As Tanya Becker, the co-founder and chief creative officer of Physique 57, explains, “Barre workouts are low-impact and easy to adjust to any fitness level.” So, if you’re new to working out, it’s a great way to get your toes wet and slowly ease into a fitness routine.

You'll feel a deep muscle burn

You may be making small, targeted movements, but trust that you will feel those movements working in the form of a good healthy burn. Just ask Andrew Ash, a master trainer at Barre3, who says, “With the specific body movements in a barre class, you’ll achieve a deep muscle burn without pain in the areas of the body that are prone to injury.” The burn lets you know it’s working (you might even shake a little), but you aren’t necessarily overexerting. Win, win.

It Will balance your body (and your mind)

Regular barre practice will lead you to feel more balance in the literal and figurative sense. With your improved posture, you’ll stand taller, and you’ll even have a stronger center of gravity. This is key, because as Ash explains, “When we stand tall with ease, a positive chain of benefits happens beyond what we see in the mirror. With balance comes improved digestion, increased energy, a minimised risk of injury, a clear mind, and a healthier and happier way of life.”

You'll get really flexible

After regular barre class attendance, you’ll notice that your flexibility will improve. As Becker explains, “we stretch after every strength-training segment— which in the long-term is a great way to improve your flexibility.” FYI: Lulu Lemon's The Reversible (Big) Mat ($89) is the comfiest to stretch on. 

And notice better posture

Jennifer Williams, the founder of Pop Physique, explains that one of the biggest changes you will see in your physique after regular barre practice is how you carry yourself. Williams says, “Because of the constant lifting and postural work you do during the course of the class, you will start to look and feel like a dancer.” Imagine your neck elongated, shoulders back—you get the idea. Basically, you will be a graceful swan.

It helps repair muscles post-partum

If you’ve had a baby, barre is a wonderful way to bounce back. In fact, Williams is a mother of four and had two children after creating the addictive class. She says, “Barre was great after regular delivery and really different after a C-section, but it helped me heal and repair my muscles and reshape my body post-baby.”

And offer lower back relief 

The tiny isometric movements that comprise a full barre routine ultimately help create lean muscles lines, and as a result, firmer abs. The benefit of this, of course, is not only aesthetic, but a strengthened core also relieves the pressure you may experience in your lower back from sitting all day.

It Will firm up your butt

These isometric movements also isolate specific muscles while you hold a posture, so each group gets attention, creating and maintaining muscle strength without tearing the muscle like you would in a high-impact workout. Compounding those movements means you’ll be working your way toward a peach emoji–worthy booty in no time at all.

Now, read all about the time I tried (and survived) the five most popular workout classes.

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