On the 1st January 2017, I decided to be a massive cliche and book a pack of Barrecore classes. Barrecore is something that had intrigued me for ages and I’d been meaning to add a weekly workout to my schedule ever since moving home from Hong Kong. A mix of ballet, pilates, yoga and HIIT, the workout classes take inspiration from ballet and fuse it into a sweaty ol’ class. And I mean, sweaty.
Having danced since I was 4, Barrecore seemed like a perfectly natural choice when I decided to ‘join a workout class in 2017’. My main motivation for joining a class was mostly to just get out of the house and meet new people and really push myself into trying something new on my own. I worry constantly that I’ll fall into a rut with my freelance ways, never meet new people and I loved the idea of having a weekly ‘thing’ to go to, you know? And so I booked in for a course of classes and I don’t think I’ll ever look back. I’m not based near any of the Barrecore studios so the class I take is a ‘BarreConcept’ one, my instructor is fully qualified, it’s pretty accurate to what I’ve seen online though and is totally a workout and a half.
Is it difficult?
I mean… Yes. It’s as difficult as a new fitness class is. The classes are all mixed ability and it’s a balance of fun and fitness, so it doesn’t feel difficult. We begin with a 10-minute warm-up before progressing into 45 minutes of working out. This combines barre work, resistant strap work and floor work, each designed to fatigue your muscles with repetitive movements to get the most out of you. In eight weeks, I’ve learned that I started with a tense back and terrible strength in my calves and upper body, but that now I’ve improved posture all-round and gained lots of upper body and core strength. Not bad at all. I still get the infamous post-barre shakes though, I don’t think they’ll leave me for quite some time.
Do you have to know ballet?
Not at all! Instructors will ask if you have dance experience, but they will also guide you throughout the class and teach you your positions, plies and more. It’s pretty confusing when French phrases get shouted at you but it’s nothing you won’t pick up after attending regular classes. Barre takes most of the positions in ballet and transforms it into a full body conditioning workout. I’d totally recommend barre even for hardcore non-dancers!
What does it involve?
Like I mentioned earlier, BarreConcept is a mix of all sorts of things. It isn’t a bouncy dance class but it isn’t a controlled, elegant ballet lesson either. The workout is split between the barre, floor and equipment work: we use straps, deflated balls, small foam balls, hand weights and resistance rings, each combined with the barre to work the hell out of each muscle. A lot of it is done with heels off the floor on your toes, but that is the ‘tougher’ option and you can always opt out to take the edge off. If you enjoy Pilates and yoga, you’ll really enjoy barre!
What are your thoughts?
I honestly wax lyrical about barre to almost everybody I see. I genuinely, hand-on-heart, look forward to my classes and catching up with my instructor and sweating from the front of my neck. It makes working out fun and it even motivates me to top up the class with regular workouts throughout the week. I’ve noticed that my posture is improving every week and my BarreConcept class works my mind too, as there is so much involved in working each part of your body as well as maintaining positions, posture, breathing, etc. My upper body strength has improved tenfold: when I started, I could embarrassingly only manage two press-ups, whilst last Thursday I hit 32 without a moment’s thought! There are parts of the workout that I absolutely dread (i.e. anything with that bloody deflated ball!) but my instructor is amazing at motivating me and really pushing me when I’m half-arsing it.