Five Common Posture No-No’s at the Barre

Five Common Posture No-No’s at the Barre

September 20, 2018 | Barre 2 Barre, Hong Kong, Women's Health, wellness


We’ve created a list of five common posture “no-no’s” for any dedicated barre enthusiast who wishes to improve their technique and alignment!

  1. Avoid an arched or rounded back 

This is probably the most common and important correction we provide at Barre 2 Barre, because the BarreAmped technique and syllabus we teach calls for a neutral spine. The term “neutral spine” refers to your spine in its natural state and shape. It involves aligning your shoulders over your hips, picturing your tailbone lengthening down, closing (instead of splaying) your rib cage, and executing each exercise with your natural S-curved spine. This is beneficial so that whatever work you do for your strength and posture in class can then actually be functional and applicable and serve you outside of class in your daily life. 

Further, we avoid an arched or rounded back because it can put pressure on or cause unnecessary stress and tension in other compensating body parts, while also not requiring you to engage the correct muscles needed to perform an exercise (a big one being your core!)

  1. Avoid unsquared shoulders and hips

Our syllabus includes a number of exercises such as Seesaw, Foldovers, and Standing Seat Work which ideally require your shoulders and hips to be “squared” or facing forward to the same direction. This is also to facilitate work with a neutral spine, to require you to engage your core, and to make sure you are not leaning or resting in one hip or on your structure, but actually working to hold yourself using the correct muscles to carry out the exercise.

  1. Avoid hiked shoulders

It is extremely common for barre clients to start tensing their shoulders up towards their ears (for example, when the weights are beginning to feel heavy in arm work, when you are concentrating on another cue during Seesaw, or perhaps even while lying on the floor feeling your abs burn during Underbarre). It is a worthwhile mental note to remind yourself to lengthen your shoulders down away from your ears. The reason behind this is simply to avoid unnecessary pain and tension in your shoulders, and to engage your core and have awareness of your spine, weight distribution, and alignment in the rest of your body.

  1. Avoid having your pelvis out of line

Having one’s pelvis out of line with the rest of the body is common in Wide Pushups, plank work, or perhaps even at the barre in Seated Chair. When our muscles are not yet strong enough or we aren’t working mindfully, we tend to stick out or tuck in our pelvis. Again, this takes us out of neutral spine, and basically prevents us from accessing the muscles we are trying to strengthen. For example, if your pelvis is sticking out during Wide Pushups, your weight is behind you instead of being shifted forward onto your arms, and you are basically pushing up on your weightless arms, which is not helping to strengthen them. Similarly, a pelvis sticking up in the air during a plank exercise is taking the work out of the core we are trying to target. The pelvis is the heaviest part of our body, so aligning it correctly can really help us facilitate a movement and get the most out of an exercise.

  1. Avoid having your knees moving out of alignment from your toes

Finally, making sure our knees and toes are tracking on the same line is very important. Many of us tend to stand with our toes turned out or in, instead of being conscious of them pointing forward in a parallel position. We should try to become conscious of having our toes point forward in parallel and then having our knees track in line with our toes during movements like pulses, for the health of our knee joints. Another place to watch out for this is in Wide Second; even though we turn our feet out here, the knees must continue to track over our toes in this position. If we ever work in a lunge position, our knees should be aligned over our heels and not pass our toes; this is also to prevent stress on the knee and to bring the work back to muscles in our thighs, glutes, or core.

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