Meet Me at the Barre

Meet Me at the Barre

I was a competitive ice skater for most of my childhood and needed strong foundational skills - strength and flexibility - combined with finesse, in order to excel in the sport. Between weight and cardio training, ballet lessons, and {what seemed like an excess of} stretching, I developed an understanding of my body and how to better help myself in becoming like the skater I admired most - Kristi Yamaguchi, obviously.

 

Fast forward nearly two decades, {ok, wow, I feel old} in my third month as a coach for Kaia FIT, and the barre program emerges. Can we say OH EM GEE?! I knew immediately that barre training was, without a doubt, what I wanted to put all my energy toward. It is incredibly powerful and graceful at the same time and can be done anywhere with minimal to no equipment. I’ve now been coaching *only* barre classes for the past three years!

 

So….what is barre?

Barre derives from the Lotte Berk Method, founded in 1959 by its namesake. In short, Lotte was a German dancer and sustained a back injury. Wanting to stay fit while recovering, she incorporated elements from her dance routines into her rehabilitative therapy – creating an entirely new exercise system that is low impact, but high intensity.

 

At Kaia FIT, barre is essentially a combination of multiple things - ballet, pilates, and yoga. Taking bits and pieces from each and molding them into a singular class that’s designed to tone and lengthen muscles in a way not many other class types can.

 

The entire body is targeted in a barre class, broken up into four sections with stretching after each:

  • Arms
  • Core
  • Seat (glutes)
  • Thighs

 

While the order of the sections and the positions change, the theory remains the same: holding the body still while contracting specific muscles - sometimes muscles we didn’t even know we had. Movements can be big or small, but no matter what, the movement must be intentional. Instead of concentrating on weight or repetition, the focus shifts entirely to the quality of movement and where it originates.

 

The purpose of all of this? Fatiguing the muscles quickly, so they break down and grow back leaner. In other words – to lengthen and tone muscles! In addition, barre promotes better posture, improved stability, and muscular endurance. Are you a runner? Add this to your training program immediately.

 

Don’t be intimidated - this is the class you need.

ANY BODY can do barre – you do not have to be a dancer or have any dance background. Bring an open mind and open ears, and follow along! It can be intimidating, but the coach cues and guides you through the entire class. {Side note: if you are injured or in any pain, please mention this to your coach so proper modifications can be made.}

 

Like everything else at Kaia, there are many levels to work within and it’s entirely up to you what level you choose. For example, one main goal throughout barre is to hold your given position, or challenge point, for as long as you can. You choose your challenge point, and it can increase or decrease at any time. Perhaps you want to focus on form as a beginner, so your challenge point might be a little less challenging. Or maybe you’ve been going to barre for a while and want to increase your strength – then increase that challenge point, girl!

 

And yes, the rumors are all true - the muscle shaking and burning  is entirely all too real - but SO 👏 ARE 👏 THE 👏 RESULTS!

 

Get your booty to the barre!

Equipment you’ll need to bring with you:

  • Exercise mat
  • Grippy socks, or bare feet (no shoes!)

 

Equipment used at the gym:

  • Block
  • Ball
  • Hand weights
  • Bands

 

If you haven’t tried barre yet, you must. Stick with a few times and watch your entire body transform. It could very well become your newest obsession!

 

xo,

Peggy Paulsen

Kaia FIT Citrus Heights

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