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Have you ever wondered how ballet dancers get their incredibly toned physique? It’s because of all the ballet moves that they’re practicing to perfection. We can all learn a thing or two about fitness from ballet dancers. Try my ballet-style barre workout and dance your way to fitness.
Trends in fitness come and go, but effective styles live forever. Some of the fitness trends that tend to be successful spin off from traditional dance or athletic moves that have been around for years. Barre workouts (using the bar that you’d normally see in a dance studio) are here to stay. This style of training is made up of traditional ballet moves that have been modified to suit people of all levels. A ballet bar is used as a prop to help you balance while doing exercises that focus on isometric strength training (holding your body still while you contract a specific set of muscles). This is combined with high reps of movements with small range of motion.
I’m sure you want to ask this question: Is a barre workout effective? I have to answer: Yes. I believe this ballet-style of exercise combines a lot of elements that are important to look for in a balanced workout routine. Any exercise format that seamlessly combines gentle body-weight strength movements mixed with elements of flexibility and coordination is a good choice. Performing slow and purposeful movements places a huge emphasis on gaining muscular control and core stability. These points make barre workouts great as standalone workouts, or something you choose to add to the end of your routine.
Another great thing about a ballet-style workout is that you can perform some of these exercises anywhere. Sometimes official classes can be too expensive for your budget, or studio schedules may not work for you. If that’s the case, don’t let that stop you. There are so many great resources to help you learn what you need to know. So, keep moving and gain some body confidence while improving your health.
Here are a couple moves to get you started that you can do using a ballet barre, your kitchen counter, a chair or park bench.
Targets: thighs, abs, ankles, and feet
How to do it:
Targets: glutes, thighs, abs, ankles, and feet
How to do it:
Remember that your body can adapt to change well, so don’t be afraid to jump out of your usual routine.
Try a new class and you may be surprised at how much you may enjoy a barre workout.
Using a ballet barre for exercise is a great way for new exercisers to gain confidence, because it can provide a little extra support. It’s a good idea to keep your overall body goals in mind, as this will help you to decide which style of exercise routine is best for you.
If you have any specific body concerns or old injuries, check in with the instructor before the class in case you need to modify any exercises. Many instructors welcome questions before a class gets started. The last thing they want is for you to have a poor fitness experience or risk injury.
I love any fitness trend that promotes safe exercises based on traditional moves, so choosing a barre workout was a lot of fun for me. This style helps people discover new muscles, and they walk away glowing. Your personal safety should always be your number one priority with any activity, so be careful not to push yourself too hard.
Samantha Clayton is responsible for all activities relating to exercise and fitness education for Independent Herbalife Members and employees. Through in-person training sessions, educational tools and materials, and her blog (www.discovergoodfitness.com), she ensures that the important role of exercise as part of a healthy, active life is understood by all. She also helps create, organize and promote employee fitness programs and activities as an integral part of the company’s corporate wellness program.
A native of Liverpool, England, Samantha initially worked as a consultant for Herbalife for two years and led the Herbalife24-Fit program, the company’s first comprehensive fitness training program and DVD series.
Before joining the corporate ranks, Samantha was a professional athlete. She represented Great Britain in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in both the 200m and the 4x100m relay events. Prior to the Olympics, she won two medals in the Olympic AAA trials – a silver medal for the 200m and a bronze for the 100m – as well as a silver medal in the 4x100m relay during the European Junior Championships in 1997. Her personal records include 11.40 seconds in the 100m and 23.02 seconds in the 200m.
Samantha is a personal trainer and group exercise coach through the American Fitness and Aerobics Association (AFAA) and International Sport Science Association (ISSA).