Health & Beauty | 25 September 2015What Is Barre Fitness? Why This Trendy Workout Works Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Elizabeth Halfpapp and Fred DeVito, the co-creators of Core Fusion Fitness Program, have teamed up to bring barre workouts to our living rooms. Their new book, Barre Fitness, includes a bevy of exercises to be performed just about anywhere for anyone looking to slim down, tone up and be challenged physically. Photo from Fair Winds Press What exactly is barre fitness, other than a trendy workout term? Barre workouts developed out of the training ballet dancers would use to hone their craft, which also resulted in long, lean muscles and stamina. Lotte Berk, a German dancer who injured her back in the 19502, started teaching a similar exercise technique, that resulted in her students having stronger backs and abdominals. Half a century later, barre method has been changed and honed by experts, such as DeVito and Halfpapp. Here’s an introduction to barre fitness: WHAT IS BARRE FITNESS? A barre is typically a fixed and sturdy horizontal pole attached to a wall that dancers use for balance, stability, and support as they perform specific moves for dance training. But you do not need an actual barre or experience as a dancer to do these exercises. Photo from Fair Winds Press The barre exercises described in this book will teach and demonstrate the proper form for the most classic barre positions for the legs and gluteals. You will also use the barre to brace yourself during abdominal exercises. Some moves are compound, using double leg action, and some are single leg, which means you would need to complete each side with the same amount of emphasis and focus. For each of these movements, we provide a position setup and an easy-to-follow progression. As the level of the exercise advances, your priority is to make your position and form more precise and more accurate, before then adding repetitions. The exercise positions are designed to target the major muscles of the body, such as your abdominals, thighs, glutes, chest, shoulders, back, and arm muscles. The strength work and flexibility training are meant to challenge you. Push yourself! We take a balanced approach to the workout that enables you to realize a strong core and a supple, vibrant, and youthful body. WHAT YOU NEED If you don’t have a barre at home, you can use a sturdy high-back chair or counter top. Some of the exercises, especially for the abdominals, are done on the floor using an exercise mat. Wear comfortable clothes and either wear grip socks or exercise in bare feet to avoid slipping. If you have a mirror, you can use it to check your position in your side view. Don’t forget to stay hydrated and take breaks when you need to. BENEFITS OF BARRE FITNESS Exercise doesn’t have to beat you down to be effective. On the contrary, people who suffer from overuse injuries are better able to heal in a barre class. We use props, belts, blocks, resistance bands, and a light free weight section to allow for steady progress over time. Men and women who come in exhibiting sports injuries feel less pain and more flexibility. Barre fitness becomes therapy for people rehabilitating minor injuries as long as they participate consistently in the program with commitment. In fitness-minded folks from weekend warriors to professional athletes, the barre exercise system produces real results. Barre fitness exercises the body in a balanced way, improving strength, core stability, flexibility, and bone density. It also reduces stress and improves your sense of well-being. HOW BARRE WILL TRANSFORM YOUR BODY? When barre exercises are taught with a focus on proper position and alignment and are performed with a focused effort at least three times per week, you can expect to see the following results. Increase Bone Density: As women age, they will start to see a decrease in their estrogen levels, which can lead to a loss of bone density. This can begin prior to menopause, and within five years after menopause, women lose as much as 25 percent of bone density. This can lead to an increased risk of the development of osteoporosis, a disorder in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. Older adults with osteoporosis are most likely to suffer bone breakage, which severely limits their mobility and independence. You can take steps to increase your bone strength and reduce your chances of having a fracture. You can combine calcium and vitamin D supplements with weight-bearing and weighttraining exercises. Most barre exercises require standing on either one or both legs, using your own body weight as resistance. Th e more that a muscle pulls on a bone during physical activity, the greater the bone density needs to be for stability. You can adjust the barre exercises in our book in both intensity and duration with a progressive approach to help improve bone density gradually. Body Shaping: You will obtain long lean thighs, a high round butt, and flat abdominals with barre fitness. Strengthening work is complemented by stretches that elongate the muscles, especially the legs. The strengthening exercises for the glutes, for example, involve moving your leg against the resistance of the pelvis braced by your core, thereby working your butt. Many of the movements, from forearm plank to the curl position, involve “pulling in” the abdominal wall to produce flat abdominals. As your core gets stronger, you can increase the difficulty of your exercises, resulting in better and faster results. Photo from Fair Winds Press Improve Muscle Elasticity: Muscular elasticity is maintained and sometimes improved with flexibility training. Muscles will lose elasticity as you age, and as muscles shorten, the tendons that connect the muscle to the bone can be compromised, leading to inflammation (tendonitis). When your muscles have an elastic property to them, this increased suppleness will allow your muscles to stretch without strain, and this keeps your body feeling more youthful. If you are active in any sport, your range of motion is important. Barre fitness promotes flexibility training as much as the strengthening exercises. And you can improve your flexibility over time using the three Ps: Persistence, Perseverance, and Patience. Buy from an Online Retailer US: Step up to the barre and strengthen your core with 100 at-home barre exercises!Infused with elements of ballet, barre classes were introduced by Lotte Berk in the 1970s as a new way to combine dance with traditional exercise. Just about any barre class will involve a lot of reps of small, pulsing movements (lifting and lowering limbs a mere inch or two) at the barre, with a heavy focus on the legs, glutes, and core and emphasis on form and alignment.Barre Fitness provides 100 at-home barre exercises from the fundamentals to more complex moves with a focus on building strength and improving technique–no barre required! Trained at the ground floor of the prestigious Lotte Berk Method NYC (where barre fitness originated), Fred Devito and Elisabeth Halfpapp bring first-generation teaching and training experience and the acclaim of the Core Fusion(R) brand to this guide to at-home exercise, geared toward your fitness goals.This book breaks down the set ups, progressions, and sequences for all of the classic barre exercises to empower you to perform them at home with clear photographs and easy-to-follow descriptions and program routines. Each exercise explains the benefits and how they can be combined for different results. Learn how to integrate these barre exercises into your daily workout routine, while mindfully incorporating healthy eating and stress reduction habits, for living a healthier lifestyle regardless of your age or fitness level.Whether you want to tone and shape your muscles (without gaining muscle mass), build your core strength, lose weight, increase flexibility, combat aging, rehab from injury, or supplement your current fitness routine (or any combination of these), Barre Fitness offers the solutions you’re looking for. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.