Barre was originally founded by Lottie Burke, a German born ballet dancer. She created a fitness workout that supported a dancer’s training, alongside their requirements to stay strong and toned, but also lean and supple. This was hugely popular in the 1980’s and she quickly became a household name in London. So although Barre workouts have recently been popularised in the fitness industry, they have in fact been around for quite some time!What makes Barre different to other forms of fitness?
Compared with gym-based weight training, HIIT workouts or Pilates, Barre stands out from the crowd because it is suitable for all abilities and age ranges, and you don’t have to be the most flexible person in the world to participate. It is all low impact and supports the joints with light weights and body weight exercises.
Barre is a safe and supportive workout for the whole body; the key being in isometric muscle contractions. This is where the magic happens and what differentiates it from anything else. By holding a static position or making very small movements, isometric contractions fatigue the muscles – it’s a very effective way of strengthening the body and stabilising the joints. Emphasis is on posture and form, using the ballet barre to assist the body in more challenging positions.
“I started teaching Barre classes in London about 10 years ago (back then we were one of the only Barre studios around). I was still dancing professionally and it was the perfect job to use as a ‘buffer’ between dance contracts.
It kept me fit and in shape and it was a fun thing to do whist I was auditioning. I also used it to help my injury rehabilitation post knee surgery. It was such a safe and effective way to get myself back to full strength.
Since then I’ve completed my 200hr yoga teacher training and I find that the 2 complement each other wonderfully. The high intensity and challenging strength exercises are balanced out by a gentle yoga flow and it’s a perfect combo to me! It also helps to keep creative inspiration flowing, it’s essentially another string to a teacher’s bow!”