Class Review – BarreConcept!
I have been doing a bit of research lately into my local fitness scene, mainly to see what’s on offer and also to find some new things to try. I love trying new classes and always on the search for the next workout. Reading fitness blogs written by people in big cities such as New York and London gets me very jealous of the fitness classes smaller cities like mine just don’t offer. So imagine my complete excitement when I realised that Perfect Balance, Mind and Body, one of the only studios (possibly THE only!) in South Wales to offer BarreConcept, is a 10 min walk from my house!!
For those of you who haven’t heard of BarreConcept it is a workout that mixes Ballet Barre moves with Pilates, Yoga and Sports Conditioning. Basically it’s a lot of Plies and balancing on your toes which works your core strength and improves your posture. And let’s face it; have you ever seen an out of shape ballerina??
So after a lovely Facebook chat with the owner I turned up on Wednesday night with my TuTu and tights on (only joking, I wore leggings and a vest) and got ready to hit the bar Barre.
There were roughly 10 other women taking the class so I got chatting to some of them while we were waiting for it to start. One lady, Fiona travelled all the way from Abersychan (11 miles away) just to take this class as it’s the only one of its kind around here. Fiona explained the types of moves we would be doing and said it was hard but really good fun, exactly what I like a class to be like.
The instructor Bethan came over to introduce herself which I always love when joining a class for the first time. Bethan was really welcoming and friendly and advised me to take as many breaks as I wanted and to just take it easy as it was my first week.
After a quick warm up consisting of some stretches (if I’m honest I can’t remember what we did!), we found a space each on the barre and began the class. There were moves such as:
- Pelvic tilts -side to side first, then forwards and backwards getting lower with each tilt stretching back up onto your toes on the last one.
- Plie squats in first and second position
- Squatting down then going up onto your tip toes staying in the squat position and only moving your legs, your head should stay at the same height.
- Leg extensions from a Passe posistion (where your foot is against the knee of your supporting leg and you bend your knee outwards to the side.
One of the hardest moves was keeping a small ball squeezed behind your knee, holding onto the barre and keeping your knees parallel you move your bent leg outwards without dropping the ball. Another hard one was when we were asked to put our heel up onto the bar (for anyone who hasn’t seen the bar, it is about waist height) and stretch your arms all the way to your raised heel and then back down in the opposite direction to the floor. Luckily Bethan remembered I was new and gave me a child size bar to use. Thank god she did as I would never have got my heel up on the real bar, that will definitely take some practice.
All these moves are really controlled and not to be rushed. You can really feel the stretching in your legs as you do them and it feels great (and hard!). The way you move your arms with each move really makes you feel like a ballerina which was one of the things I loved most about the class.
For the last part of the class we were given a choice, weights or planks. Unsurprisingly most people picked weights (who would pick planks ergh!!). We all grabbed a mat and dumbbells, I was ambitious and grabbed a pair of 4kgs which was a bit silly considering I didn’t know what moves we would be doing. We did a set of 4 different exercises, reps of 4 repeated 3 times then reps of 8 for the last time. The exercises we did were dumbbell curls, tricep extensions, deadlift with back row and my absolute least favourite – lateral raises. If I’d known we were doing lateral raises I would of grabbed a pair of 3kg’s. This is my worst move and I really struggle with it, by the last set I could barely lift my arms.
After this we did some planks (even though we had chosen weights!) and then did some Yoga/Pilates stretches to cool down.
Bethan was clearly well trained in Ballet and made the moves look so graceful. I’m pretty sure I looked like a baby elephant stomping around and my legs did not bend in half the shapes they needed to for this class.
This was an amazing class and I’m so glad I found it. I wish I could remember the moves better and could describe them better. In fact I wish I could have just taken you all with me to the class so you could see exactly what I mean. To help you picture them I have set up a Pinterest board with Ballet and Barre Corre moves. You can find it here. Give them a try and let me know what you think (or if you are anywhere near Wales come with me to Perfect Mind, Balance and Body studios for this class, you won’t regret it!)
I really felt the benefits of this class and all the stretching and I think regular sessions would definitely improve my core strength and posture. It’s more fun and challenging than any Yoga or Pilates class I have been too. In fact I enjoyed it so much that I am going to add it into my weekly workout routine for the next month or two to measure my improvement. Who knows one day I might actually be able to do the splits!
Have you ever tried a BarreConcept class? Is it something you would be interested in trying? Question for any male readers, is this something you would try or do you think it’s too feminine? Would love to hear your opinions in the comments!
You can find more details for Perfect Balance, Mind and Body Studios here