"Barre" is named for the wall-mounted barre (bar) used for balance during this low impact, highly challenging total body class. Each class uses a combination of resistance and body weight training (while emphasizing form and alignment) to sculpt lean muscle and burn fat. Barre is based on principles of pilates, dance conditioning and strength training, though it really is its own unique discipline. We use a systematic approach to fatigue each muscle group before moving into a therapeutic stretch. This method of strength then stretch will increase flexibility, improve posture, rehabilitate injuries, and help sculpt long, lean muscles without added bulk.
Who will benefit from barre?
Most people can benefit from improved strength, balance, and flexibility -- in addition to core strength and better posture. All of these things make our daily lives easier outside the studio - whether it's lifting a child, running, or improving your golf swing.
Our technique is extremely challenging but very low-impact and customized for every fitness level, from fitness newbies or those recovering from injury/pregnancy, to athletes and regular fitness enthusiasts.
We take pride in providing a non-comparative, non-judgmental fitness environment and recognize that each individual's fitness goals and journey is very personal and very different. So push yourself, but honor your truth.
Our classes emphasize form and alignment over movement and the exercises can be modified safely with the help of a certified barre instructor trained in injury and pregnancy/postpartum modifications (like our team). However, a doctor's note clearing you for exercise is required prior to taking your first class while pregnant, even if you have already been exercising elsewhere.
The core-centric nature of barre classes will improve athletic performance and posture by strengthening both your midsection and back. The core work in barre is unique in that it emphasizes the deepest layer of the abdominal muscles called the Transversus abdominis - quite literally the muscles that cinch in your waistline.
Barre resistance training also strengthens often neglected stabilizer muscles and protects joints/ligaments used in all types of activities from running to golf to yoga. Flexibility training incorporated into each barre class will increase range of motion over time, while an emphasis on balance and alignment will enhance almost any other physical activity you enjoy!
How often should I take class?
It depends on your goals, but most people will achieve the best results when they commit to classes 3-4 times per week. Expect to start feeling and seeing changes in your body, along with increased strength and flexibility, within 8-10 classes. Like anything, consistency is key!
Why we've "Raised the Barre"
All of our barre teachers are certified through the industry's most rigorous barre certification for independent studios. exhale's 40 hour barre certification is the only barre training program currently undergoing the demanding accreditation process and requires 3x the number of hours of typical barre certifications. Our instructors are specially trained in form, alignment and safety in addition to injury and pregnancy/postpartum modifications, and have each spent close to 200 hours studying and perfecting our method before they teach independently. While the barre technique continues to evolve, we stay true to the roots of barre while emphasizing a neutral spine and impeccable form -- to provide clients the most effective and safest workout possible.
Time Under Tension
The emphasis in barre is on "time under tension," meaning that unlike traditional weight training where you set down a weight between sets (giving your muscles a chance to recover), barre fatigues each muscle in it's entireity before resting. We work to strengthen the entire length of the muscle in all 3 ranges of motion: full, mid and short (aka "pulse") which helps build longer and leaner muscles versus short compact muscles. When barre is taught with proper emphasis on form and position, each movement is precise and focused. You will quickly learn that class doesn't really get easier as you get stronger, because you can push yourself to go deeper, hold a few seconds longer, or take fewer breaks. You will learn to appreciate the barre "shakes" - when your muscles quiver uncontrollably - because that's where change happens. Embrace the shake!
Strength in Stillness
We often use a "hold" where we have you hold a barre position for an extended length of time. This is called an isometric (no movement) contraction. Just because you're not moving doesn't mean you're not working extremely hard -- the muscle fibers are still firing and working to fatigue. Some barre moves use this same approach, which is why you will hear us repeat "strength in stillness" often!
Strength and Stretch
Barre is a systematic approach that uses a combination of your own body weight and light weights to fatigue each muscle group in a specific order, before moving into a deep stretch that will keep the muscles pliable, increase flexibility, and help give the appearance of longer, leaner muscles.
Is it Cardio?
While barre class is NOT a dance class or cardio in the traditional sense, you will feel your heart rate elevate because you're working so hard! Class is low impact but moves quickly to help keep the heart rate up, and you may find that you spend more time in your heart rate's "fat burning zone" -- which is ideal for losing inches and building lean muscle mass.
The History of barre
Barre workouts are not a recent fad. The technique originated in the 1950's by a german dancer named Lotte Berk who injured her back while dancing. With the help of her physical therapist, she created a fitness technique to rehabilitate herself and build strength while protecting her back, and named it The Lotte Berk Method. In the 1970's, an American student of hers licensed the technique and opened the first barre studio in Upper Eastside Manhattan. Since then, the technique has continued to evolve and has recently exploded in popularity as people begin to search for a challenging, effective, more sustainable way to exercise.
Elizabeth (Lis) Halfpapp and Fred DeVito were among the very first barre instructors at the Lotte Berk Method in NYC and taught 6 classes a day, 6 days a week for 22 years. In 2002, Fred and Lis joined forces with Exhale(R) Spa as the creators of the Core Fusion barre program offered exclusively at exhale spas worldwide. Since then, many of Fred and Lis' original Lotte Berk students went on to create their own franchises of barre, and the technique has been growing in popularity ever since, though the true Lotte Berk technique has been diluted over the years.
In an effort to provide independent studios with TRUE barre training and QUALITY workouts, Fred and Lis offer the industry's most rigorous barre certification for boutique studios (like us!) and their training program is approved/accredited by the National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM), ACE, and AFAA - meaning it is the gold standard of barre certifications.