Tips To Maximize Your WorkoutSeptember 20, 2018 |
Whether you are brand new to barre or a seasoned barrerina, here are some helpful pointers to maximize your workout and sense of pleasure and achievement in a barre class!
- Set Yourself Up Well
First things first – for your mind and body to be available to work, you need to come to class prepared. Make sure you are well rested with a good night’s sleep, and hydrated, with a bottle of water in tow. It is advisable to have had a little something to eat prior to class - not a heavy meal that makes it hard to do ab work! - but something light and nutritious to fuel you, like fruit and toast or a smoothie. Arrive on time to set up your mat, ball, and straps, and so that you can have a light stretch and peace of mind. See if you can leave your worries at the door for the 45 or 50 minutes ahead and get in the right state of mind to approach a challenge, have fun, and do something for yourself.
- Find Your Alignment
We place a huge emphasis on alignment in barre in order to prevent injuries and maximize the effect of the workout. Since the movements we do are small, precise, and target sometimes unfamiliar muscle groups, good alignment is key to feeling the burn. In upright positions, remember to keep shoulders over hips over heels (and bring your weight forwards to stack yourself in this way, especially during arm work), to keep your parallel position narrow (feet directly underneath your hips), and to allow your knees to track over your toes in pulses and plies. When in your releve, find the sweet spot on the balls of your feet (not too high on the base of your toes and not too low with your heels barely off the ground). Throughout class, try to envision an ongoing upwards motion or zipping up feeling in the front of your core and work with a neutral spine, feeling control in the front and length and freedom along your back.
- Be Truly Present in Class
Especially if you are a barre regular and familiar with an exercise, you may find yourself zoning out during certain verbal cues being shared by the teacher. Next time you’re in class, see if you are listening actively and are able to really implement small corrections the teacher may be encouraging. Stay open to what is being cued, because the way the information is being presented and explained that day by that particular teacher may register differently for you. Check that you set up exercises together with the class and teacher; go step by step to really be present in your body, even if it’s tempting to jump ahead. Most importantly, during an exercise, there are always little adjustments you can make and much work you can deepen. The work does not end once you set up an exercise well; you don’t want to simply rest or lean on your structure once in position. Instead, you can always think about finding more length in your spine, or extending behind your knee or pointing your toes a little bit further if your leg is outstretched in a foldover or see saw, for example. You can check if there is length behind your neck and if your head is in line with your spine, make sure your weight is shifted in the right place, square your shoulders and hips, fight against developing an arched or rounded back and close your rib cage, and sense your shoulder blades spreading wide across your back in plank positions. These ideas combined with natural breathing, mental strength, and a good attitude make a barre workout much more effective!