What’s up with this #barre fitness trend?

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Photo credit: Studio Barre via Flickr

Barre.

The word brought up images of constricted suffocated movements glued to the bar of a gym as I was conversing with my sister about her new fitness routine.

As I inquired what barre even was, my sister brought me into a new planet in the fitness solar system.

Turns out, barre is a integration of yoga, pilates, and ballet. Instead of focusing on large muscle groups and movements, barre distinguishes itself by focusing on tiny muscle movements, supposedly leading to further muscle toning.

Benefits of Barre Fitness

Proponents express that the benefits include increased strength, toned muscles, flexibility, mindfulness, and reduced stress. Barre is also easy on the joints due to its small concentrated movements.

Just browse google images, and you’ll find countless before and after pictures of barre fitness success stories. People rave about the increased muscle tone, lost weight, and lowered stress. #Barre definitely seems to be the hottest fitness trend at the moment. Intriguing?

A Typical Barre Work-Out

Fitness Magazine reports that work-outs generally include a warm up that pinpoints the upper body, that may include free weights, push-ups and planks. Next, you’ll head to the ballet barre to use individual body weight for resistance to focus on lower body strength and core. Finally, work-outs include a cool down portion, during which you go through a series of stretches designed to improve flexibility and help muscles recover. It is typical to experience muscle shaking during this work-out, due to the tiny movements.

Cons?

Sounds too good to be true, and maybe it is. I’m interested in giving barre a shot to truly learn more about it before I pick a side…but lets take a look at some of the critical views:

Adam Rosante, founder of The People’s Bootcamp and author of The 30-Second Body, points out that although anything that gets people moving out of their 9-5 desk zones is a great thing, barre provides limited functional strength – that is compound movements that pinpoint multiple muscles at once – and therefore may not provide tons of benefits towards everyday practical activities. Many barre classes are, however, adding more functional components to the work-out. Additionally, while barre definitely gets the heart rate up, the cardio portion definitely slacks compared to high intensity cardio activities such as biking or running.

So, if you hop on the barre bandwagon, be sure to add some functional strength exercises, in addition to some weekly cardio. I’m going to have to give barre a shot this week and meet you back at the blog later with a review.

Peace exhilarated livers! Now tell me…. have you ever tried barre? What’s your review?

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