Okay, so if you follow me on IG, you know that one of my favorite workouts right now is barre. Like, I am seriously obsessed for 6,000 reasons and today I wanted to get superrrr specific as to why you need to be doing barre, especially if you are a woman (although I think men can really benefit too).
Now, I have shared a few of the reasons in IG stories, but I think it deserved a place on the blog because I wanted to give a little more detail then I have room and space for on my Instagram.
A few months back (probably in May), I was looking for a way that I could strengthen my deeper core and lower back after coming to the end of 8 months of physical therapy related to a prior low back injury and my pregnancy. I knew that if I wanted to avoid this type of recovery in the future, I needed to get serious on improving that part of my body now, so that I wouldn’t have any problems, which is what led me to Bar Method.
I had done Bar Method when I lived in Washington, D.C. but couldn’t quite afford to sustain it due to student loans and living expenses. So, I knew a little bit about their method and philosophy already, which is why I started there and this brings me to reason number one, barre is such an amazing exercise to implement…
- Strengthens your “deep core” – barre focuses on micro-movements that are connected to your breath with a portion of class dedicated specifically to core strength. The reason it is so important for women to have a strong deep core, is not only for those that endure pregnancy, but because it also helps support tons of muscles and ligaments in your pelvis and low back. This includes muscles related to your bladder, low back, hips, diaphragm, posture, and sex organs. Now, I can talk more details about your deep core in another blog post because I learned A LOT through my pelvic floor physical therapy and I think that deserves some further detail, but if you are struggling with any of these areas barre would help you significantly
- Low impact exercise – this is another extremely important factor that many people do not take into consideration with their exercise regiment, but that is understanding when your body needs low cortisol workouts versus high cortisol workouts and why that’s important. If you are highly stressed or a highly anxious person, bootcamp and HIIT style workouts will continue to increase your cortisol (the stress hormone), which will increase fatigue and fat retention, counteracting the reason why you are working out in the first place. In addition, when women are menstruating, high impact workouts can also cause more stress on the body. Taking these types of actions will only contradict your fitness goals, which is why it is so important to incorporate low impact workouts into your regiment. Barre is not the only type of low impact workout (walking, yoga, etc), but because of its additional benefits, it is a very good option.
- Increase of lean body look – barre focuses on constant lengthening of the body which in turn leads to lengthening of your muscles, creating a long and lean look. It uses mostly body weight and incorporates stretching allowing your muscles to constantly lengthen while burning fat. In addition, because it is low cortisol (or low stress) your body is free to burn fat versus retaining fat, which is what it does in high stress situations.
- Improvement of posture – our environments in today’s world are constantly contributing to us leaning over and hunched. Whether it be over a computer, iPad, or phone, we are looking down more than we ever have. Just as barre helps improve lower core/back strength, it also helps to improve neck and shoulder strength. Much of the class is focused on keeping your head up high, rolling the shoulders down and back, and uprighting yourself which really helps to open up your chest and stretch those muscles we are constantly putting strain on.
- Improvement of diastasis recti – Now, while I did mention strengthening of “deep core” as number one, I feel that this deserves its own section because many women have DR and are not even aware it is there. DR is a result of pregnancy and is essentially the separation of your ab muscles as the uterus expands to make room for baby. After delivery, the uterus contracts and returns back to its previous size, but for many women, the abdominal muscles do not restitch back together, which essentially leaves a gap. The problem with this gap or diastasis recti (DR) is that if it is not repaired, women can face many problems related to it and not even know. Some of these problems include weight gain in the lower abdominal area, low back pain, possible hernia, stress incontinence, constipation, and bloating.
- Increases flexibility – dynamic stretching is incorporated into the workout itself, but many of the movements will focus on working a muscle group, then lengthening that muscle at the same time, as well which helps increase that flexibility. I have noticed significant improvements on my own personal flexibility and love how there are opportunities throughout the class to improve upon my flexibility because it has been an area that I have definitely struggled with
- Community – barre class is for women of all levels, sizes, and age. Modifications and challenges are provided throughout class to help meet you where you are so you never have to worry about feeling out of place. I love getting to know all the women and it really has become a place of positivity and joy for me. My personal studio holds events that are so fun and welcoming.
I hope you read this and think about trying barre for yourself. It is such an amazing workout and I can think of so many other reasons why this type of workout can be beneficial to you. I have loved incorporating this into my workout routine and I truly feel it has moved the needle significantly for me in my workout goals.
**Disclaimer: I workout at a Bar Method studio and I do feel not all barre studios are made the same. In addition, my studio and I do have a mutual partnership.