There is something about a barre class that helps to ignite your inner Misty Copeland — maybe it’s the powerful postures making you feel long, lean, + strong or the atmosphere of a dance studio fit for a ballerina. The problem is that most barre class attendees have never stepped foot into a professional dance setting — let alone slipped into a pair of ballet slippers, which can make the unfamiliar positions a challenge to get the hang of. BUT that’s exactly the point of a barre class — to give normal people access to the ballet-like experience + the fitness results to mimic those of a professional dancer. If you fall into the *takes barre classes for fitness purposes//not a professional dancer* category, then it is extremely important [like it is for every workout you do] to master your form + practice good technique. You will lower your risk of injury + make your workout as efficient + effective as possible! To ensure you are on the road to your desired results check out our 7 common mistakes made in barre class + how you can make small adjustments to correct them.
1] OVERARCHING YOUR BACK INSTEAD OF ENGAGING YOUR CORE
*Tucking* your hips is usually a new concept in barre classes + typically leads to you overarching your back instead of engaging your abdominals, especially when you start to get tired. When *tucking* you want to curl your hips forward or scoop your hips under, while pulling your abdominal wall backward like someone is tugging on the back of your shirt. Keeping your core tight will take the stress off of your lower back + create a long, lean core.
2] HOLDING YOUR BREATH
When exercises get difficult you tend to hold your breath, but instead focus on deep chest expanding breaths. The power of your breath can push you past your limits, boost your energy, + allow the oxygen to flow through your whole body.
3] USING WEIGHTS THAT ARE TOO LIGHT
Some instructors will suggest using 1-3 lbs weights, but you aren’t changing your body if you aren’t pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. Play around using weights that are challenging [8-10 lbs] + grab a couple different sets of weights to drop down to if the heavier weights become too much.
4] *WHITE KNUCKLING* THE BARRE DURING THIGH WORK
Gripping the barre too tightly [*white knuckling*] only creates more work for your arms + does not serve the area you’re supposed to work — your thighs. You are taking the work away from your core + thighs if you delegate the work to your tight grip. Loosen your *white knuckles* + let your thighs shake just like the Pitbull song.
5] SOCKS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU THINK
Surprisingly, grippy socks are more purposeful than promoting the barre studio via the soles of your feet. They actually help with stability + correct form — if your feet are sliding around, you most likely aren’t in the correct position [knees too far over your toes//hips not set properly].
6] SKIPPING THE STRETCH PORTION OF CLASS
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t be that client interrupting the end of class by leaving before stretching happens because you don’t think it’s important — it actually is incredibly important. Stretching helps increase blood flow, which jump starts your body’s process of repairing sore muscles. It also releases any built up muscle tension from the class. Stretching is like *dessert* at the end of a meal — who wants to skip out on dessert?
7] WORRYING ABOUT OTHERS AROUND YOU
Barre is designed to be challenging + push you out of your comfort zone — if you are worrying about looking *good* or trying to compete with the person next to you, it will inhibit you from pushing past your limits + can mess with your form. Because of the way barre studios are arranged you might feel like everyone is staring at you, but rest assured that everyone is just trying to survive the workout + they most likely aren’t even looking at you.
Whether you’re a veteran barre goer or a rookie ready to hop on the barre train, these rules can be applicable at every fitness level. Barre is a difficult workout, but it has the ability to make you feel beautiful + girly while simultaneously empowering + strengthening you mentally + physically. As the inspiring Misty Copeland says *strength is beauty*, ++ being the happiest + healthiest version of yourself shows strength.
++Delaney [@delaney_inchaarg] // UC CHAARG