Tips To Getting The Most Out Of Your Barre Class

March 18, 2015 · 11 comments

We’ve all hit the workout plateau before. After you’ve been taking a certain fitness class for a while, it’s possible you’ll hit a weight loss plateau, a stagnant level of perceived challenge, or a need to reignite your passion for the exercise.

Keeping in mind tricks like these always seem to help me push myself a little further, so maybe it’ll do the trick for you. 🙂

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Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Barre Class

 

1. Set a goal before every class.

It’s one of my favorite things to say during plank work: “Set a challenge for yourself for these 55 minutes.” Choose one thing you put special focus on during class, whether it’s a place where you really struggle, a section of class you’re never sure you’re tackling correctly, or your absolute favorite exercise you’re going totally rock today.

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When I do this for myself, I almost always burn more calories in each class I take.

2. Listen closely.

It is really easy to zone out and not listen to a teacher when she sets you up for each exercise. The set ups are just about the most important thing she will say in class, as they keep you working what you should be in the safest way possible.

Try to make an extra effort to listen very closely to everything your teacher tells you to do when setting up for each exercise. Of course, your teacher will correct you if you’re not in the correct position, but being there from the get-go is the best for your body.

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3. Use the mirror.

You might feel like an exercise narcissist, but checking yourself in the mirror as you work in bare is really, really important. It’s really hard to keep perfect form if you can’t see what your body actually looks like. If you notice talented teachers taking class with you, I guarantee they are constantly checking their form in the mirror.

Grab a spot where you can see yourself. If it’s an exercise at the barre, choose a place with a mirror in front of you. As you listen to setups and choreography, check your form every few seconds to make sure it’s doing what you think it’s doing (strangely, sometimes it’s totally not). See if you can get your leg higher/straighter than the person next to you. Tell yourself you can get your heels one inch higher, or maybe sink your hips two inches lower. Whatever the choreography and setup calls for. Push yourself, and you’ll notice immediate changes in the way you take class.

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4. Watch other teachers in class.

Before I was a teacher, I loved having teachers in class to watch and mimic. I was clueless when I began taking classes (like, really, really clueless… thank God there is no video footage of my first class). To realize exactly what I was supposed to be doing and what my movements should look like, I would try to stay in view of a teacher taking class and do exactly what she was doing.

Once I did that for a few classes, I started to understand on my own what things should look and feel like. But even then, I still would compare my work to the teacher’s to push myself further and make myself stronger in class.

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5. Ask questions.

If your teachers are anything like me, they love talking about Pure Barre and the technique. Never feel like you’re bothering your teacher if you ask her questions about form after class. I always want clients to ask me questions so I can further explain things I can’t delve into in the 55 minutes of class. There have been so many times a client has approached me with something like, “…in the part when we are under the barre… can you explain that further?” and when we go through it together, she raves about how much of a difference she feels now that she understands what she’s doing. Ask your teacher anything (“It hurts when I…” “I don’t feel anything when we…” “How can I get better at the exercise when we…?”, and it will make you a stronger barre client.

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Heck, you can ask me questions here, too. Anyone who knows me well knows I can’t stop talking about barre. 🙂 While we’re at it, let me know if y’all want me to cover anything specific barre-related here. I love knowing what clients want to hear.

Now onward, rock stars. I can’t wait to hear all about how you’re killing all your barre classes (or see you, if I get to hang with you at Pure Barre Richmond – Short Pump)!

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kelsey @ Snacking Squirrel March 18, 2015 at 3:01 pm

amazing!
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2 Brittany March 19, 2015 at 9:48 am

Do you wear a certain type of watch or a fitbit/activity tracker that tracks your calories burned during your pure barre workout?? I just started pure barre and would like to find something that can tell me how many calories I’m burning each class!

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3 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss March 19, 2015 at 11:53 am

@Brittany, I do! I received mine through Sport Chalet — it’s a Garmin vivofit, and I love it because I never have to charge it, it tracks my steps, connects to myfitnesspal, etc. 🙂 I sometimes wear my heart rate monitor that goes with the vivofit to track how much I burn when I take and teach class.

http://www.sportchalet.com/product/garmin+vivofit+fitness+band+-+black+bundle.do?sortby=ourPicks&carousel=true

Let me know if you have any other Qs about it!

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4 Natasha March 19, 2015 at 8:56 pm

Hi Alyssa! Talked me into it, tried my first pure barre class this morning!

It was really hard and worked muscles I haven’t worked in years! One thing though–once I got home, I noticed I could barely bend over and I feel like my lower back is in pain. I think it’s from the tucks? Is that normal?

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5 emma @ be mom strong March 20, 2015 at 7:07 am

Still need to get over and shake with you! I’m constantly telling my class to ask questions… barre can be very easy or very hurtful if you’re doing it wrong. I always try to tell them where they should be feeling it and if not, to tell me!
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6 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss March 20, 2015 at 10:11 am

@emma @ be mom strong, ASBOLUTELY! I love getting questions. Come on over… there’s still a few slots in my 8:30 am tomorrow! 😉

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7 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss March 20, 2015 at 10:13 am

@Natasha, I’m so glad you tried it. YAY!

That *is* normal, but not necessarily good. It’s really important to pull your naval to your spine (flex your abs) as you tuck your hips to protect your lower back. Is it a pain, or a soreness? If it’s pain, I would tell the teacher next time you take class so she can watch you and ensure you’re doing it properly. 🙂

That being said, it IS normal to feel really sore in your lower back, because Pure Barre targets ALL your abdominals, including the ones that wrap around your lower back! So, if it’s more of a sore feeling than a pain, it’s a good thing!

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8 Ashley @ Sweet Carolina Belle March 20, 2015 at 11:57 am

I was racking my brain today in class of questions to ask. Then we did seat work on the floor and it hit me! My arms are give out by the time we do seat work and I have to take lots of breaks if we are on all fours due to my arms getting weak. Any way to help with that so I can focus on getting the best seat work?

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9 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss March 20, 2015 at 12:44 pm

@Ashley @ Sweet Carolina Belle, Ashley, YES! That is totally normal, especially as Pure Barre aims to work your entire body. There is always the option to come down to your forearms while you’re doing work on all fours. Have you tried doing that? It shouldn’t compromise any of the seatwork you’re doing, it will just put less pressure on your arms and shoulders. 🙂

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