Taking a Barre Class

Are you ready to start your first barre class? If you're new to this wildly popular physical fitness trend, take a look at what you need to know about barre.

Why Should You Take a Barre Class?

Barre classes have benefits galore. If you're not sure what to expect or what you'll get out of this type of physical activity, the top reasons to try barre include:

  • Improved posture. The movements you learn and practice during class will help you to stand up straighter and improve your overall posture.
  • Weight loss. Like other fitness classes, barre is one way to lose excess weight. While weight loss won't happen after one class, over time (and with consistent participation), you should see results. The amount of weight you lose depends on your individual needs, health, and body.
  • Muscle definition. As you progress through a series of barre classes, you may notice increased strength and muscle definition.
  • Improved flexibility. Barre classes can improve the student's flexibility. Increased flexibility can reduce the risk of physical injuries, improve balance, and may ease some types of pain.

While important, physical benefits aren't the only reasons to take a barre class. This type of fitness program can also reduce stress and improve mental health.

Are There Prerequisites for a Barre Class?

Do you need existing knowledge or a background in fitness, dance, or another movement-based activity? The simple answer to this question is — no. Even though athletic adults who have a history of participation in other fitness or dance classes may have an easier time with barre at first, you don't need a special workout background to join a barre program.

If you're new to the world of physical fitness:

  • Talk to your medical provider first. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, are sedentary, or have any concerns about starting a new physical activity, talk to your medical provider before you begin barre class.
  • Don't put too much pressure on yourself. It takes time to learn the movements required in class. Give yourself a break, and don't expect that you'll master barre immediately.
  • Start slow. If you're winded or excessively tired after class, start small. Don't push yourself to go farther than your body can take you.

Do you feel lost? Are you unsure about the class or the expectations? Talk to the instructor and bring any concerns to them. They'll help you to set realistic goals and provide pointers for getting the most out of barre classes.

What Should You Wear to a Barre Class?

Like other physical fitness classes, you'll need to dress comfortably for a barre session. But that doesn't mean you should wear loose, bulky sweats. As you choose your first barre class outfit consider:

  • Your comfort level. Select fabrics and styles of clothing you feel comfortable in. If tight yoga pants bind or a spandex-heavy fabric irritates your skin, select an alternative. You want to focus on the class — and not your clothes.
  • What the instructor sees. The instructor needs to see how your body moves during class in order to guide and help you. Loose-fitting clothes can prevent this. Swap out billowy clothing for form-fitting workout gear.
  • Breathability. Does the fabric breathe? If not, you may feel sweaty or constricted during your workout. Fabrics such as bamboo, nylon, and polyester are breathable and can wick sweat away from your body.

Along with what you wear on your body, think about your feet. The tennis shoes you wear for your aerobics workout aren't part of the barre class. Instead, you'll take your shoes off and either go barefoot or wear sticky-bottomed socks — depending on the program's rules and regulations.

Is barre the right exercise program for you? Contact the Great Miami Valley YMCA for more information on classes.