What makes a barre workout so, well, awesome, you ask?

Ok, so maybe you didn’t ask but I’m gonna tell ya anyway. πŸ˜‰

After riding a consistent barre n9ne high this week (and last week, for that matter), I got to thinking about well, what does make a barre workout so awesome, anyway?

For me, it’s a few things…

…the combination of strengthening with lengthening. In just a few weeks, I’ve noticed some pretty awesome definition popping up – in my shoulders for example (there’s just something very sexy about strong shoulders, not gonna lie…), and hell even my legs seem longer (a tough feat given my stature – 5’3″ club anyone??). My sis and I were commenting on that very fact after class the other night – that we’re finally seeing the results of all of our hard work, well – appearing, right before our eyes. Finally. It’s about damn time!

…the tiny little movements that all add up to one gigantic owwwww, but result in a tighter butt, firmer thighs and better posture. I honest-to-God stand taller, shoulders back, chest out – and even though I’m darn short, I feel leaner somehow.

…the quiet camaraderie that builds during a particularly intense barre workout. Anyone who has taken a barre class (Core Fusion, Refine, Barre N9ne, Physique57, etc.) knows exactly what I mean. That moment when the instructor says (slightly too enthusiastically): “Ok, we’re done with thighs, time to work glutes!” and at least one student will grown and giggle, and then a few more giggles make their way through the room and before you know it, we’re all laughing as we move into the next pose. It’s a very different camaraderie vibe than any other group fitness class I’ve taken. Sort of an unspoken support system – we’re all in this together, yet nobody really voices that until the most intense portion of class and then all bets are off. Groans, giggles, maybe a little whining, but by the end, we’re high as ever…which brings me to my final point…

…the mental ‘high’ that comes from working hard for an hour straight. (Very different from running hard for an hour) Concentrating so hard on keeping good form (hips tucked, shoulders back, knees slightly bent), on tiny little up movements (not down up, but up up, if that makes sense) and letting that shake in the legs, arms, calves, shake as they might. But knowing that that shake is GOOD. And walking (err limping?) away feeling so proud that you stood strong, you pushed through the pain, you didn’t give up. That, my friends, is a barre n9ne high.

But don’t take it from me…my mentor and inspiration, barre n9ne studio owner Tanya (if you haven’t checked out her blog yet, please do -it’s awesome!), will be doing a blog Q&A with me in the next few days around what it is that makes a barre workout so effective (sure it’s awesome, but why is it so effective??). If you have any questions for her, send them my way and I’ll work them in!

27 thoughts on “What makes a barre workout so, well, awesome, you ask?

    • Maybe we can fit a class in when you come to visit this summer!! You would LOVE IT, clearly based on your ballet experience! You’re right, the butt has never looked better, if I do say so myself πŸ˜‰

  1. Love this sis!! I love the quiet camraderie too, it is so awesome. “This is SO fun!” said super sarcastically but funny too πŸ˜‰ Can’t wait to read the Q&A. Curious what some Qs are πŸ™‚

    • I totally picked up on the camaraderie thing the other night and it stuck with me – it’s so funny when someone finally breaks the silence with a deep sigh or a groan of agony. Hehe

  2. This all makes me so happy!!! I am loving what you are getting out of barre9 and it sounds like they really care about your form. I know exactly how you feel about everything, you described it all perfectly! I remember the first time I took a class like this, Brynn taught a class called Transfigure at my old gym and during that thigh section, which I did not know to expect, I looked at the girl next to me and we both grimaced in pain, and I was so thankful that I was not alone, it was not just me feeling this intensity but pushing through it!

    One correction — Refine is not a barre class and there is no grueling painful sections!

    • Ohh good point re: Refine – I don’t know why I thought they were about barre too?? I’ll update πŸ™‚

      And YES – this challenge has been utterly transformative for me, not just physically but mentally – and I know you know just what I mean based on your Core Fusion challenge last year! It’s amazing. I feel so very lucky.

  3. Wow sounds like you’re really benefiting from the barre, it’s nice that you get to work out in a group setting and Jolene is there too. It’s probably one of the reasons why I love spin classes and the group buzz.

    • It’s been awesome to do this with Jo, we’re learning so much about ourselves as part of this challenge, and nothing is better than learning together with your sister!

  4. I love all of the things you listed, especially your point about posture. I’ve never had a flat stomach and I still don’t, but it is amazing what standing up straight and holding in your core all of the time can do for your appearance!

    • I am SOOOO conscious of my posture since doing barre workouts – even sitting here typing this now, I’m legit sitting taller just thinking about my posture, haha

  5. I love how much you are loving this!

    I kid you not, I am definitely an inch taller because of this method. This is obviously because my posture has improved and not because I have miraculously grown an inch!

    Another reason I love it is because its so safe to do while pregnant (with some modifications). I did it almost every day during my pregnancy, including the day before my delivery, and the pounds fell right off afterwards.

    • Man – that is an incredible story about your pregnancy and barre! Talk about a true testament to the power of this style of working out. Such a cool example in action!!

      I wonder if I’m an inch taller (yet) – that would be huge for me. I’m so short as it is!! πŸ™‚

    • that’s the beauty of barre workouts – you can be a beginner and modify and work your way up to the tougher moves. If there’s a class like this near you, try it!!

      • i’ll have to find one! There may be one in New Orleans, but i’m pretty sure there are some in Austin!!! I have trouble going my own pace sometimes πŸ™‚ I suppose it would be GREAT cross / strength training for my half-mary!

  6. I’m 5’3″ too, and I don’t think anything makes my legs look longer! Isn’t it great when you can notice all the good changes in your body? I love it!

  7. I’m not in the 5’3 club. 😦 My sisters are 5’1 and 5’3…and I’m 5’8. And large framed. GO. ME. Haha.)

    I haven’t been commenting much on your blog recently, because I’m a terrible blogger friend. (I’ve come to terms with the fact that I cannot concentrate and read and write with two very very energetic girls running around. I miss my job…only for this reason. Haha.)

    I remember a while back hearing and reading about the barre workouts, and I wanted so badly to get involved in one. There was something about how fluid and flexible the movements were. It’s amazing to see that you don’t have to jump around like a complete idiot or lift mega weights to see results. If you focus, you can achieve. Know what I mean?

    I wish so badly that Roanoke had some more…options. This is one reason I miss New England. It’s a bit more…evolved? Haha. Down here there are a few yoga studios, but that’s it. Bah!

    • So funny – I wish I was taller, seriously!!

      You are NOT a terribly bloggy friend, we stay in touch on twitter just fine. I know you’re still reading along, and that’s all that matters. πŸ™‚

      I wish there was a barre class near you to try!! Next time you come back this way, you’ll have to give it a whirl, It is an amazing experience.

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