So, by now you’ve maybe heard the words “pulse” and “plié” a thousand times, and you’re probably wondering what in the world they even mean (and how they can get you a great butt). Fair enough! Let’s talk about this barre lingo. But first, let’s back things up a bit: what is barre exercise anyway, and where did it come from?
Believe it or not, barre actually started in the late fifties when professional ballerina Lotte Berk was injured and wanted a way to still practice ballet despite her injury. Combining her ballet practice she loved with her rehabilitative exercises, Berk was able to develop an exercise program that was low-impact and effective. What came to be known as the Lotte Berk Method quickly took off and turned into a popular workout that focused on building long, lean muscles without being hard on the joints. As it was so accessible, Berk’s method was attractive to those with various backgrounds – not just ballerinas.
As Berk’s method grew in popularity, others quickly adapted her foundational program and tailored it to make it their own. The exercise evolved slightly, with most barre programs today gaining inspiration from elements of ballet, yoga, and Pilates. Regardless of each method’s twist, barre exercise — such as our own Local Method — continues to stick to its roots in being a low-impact, accessible, full-body workout.
In barre class, we like to focus on the following:
- isometric movements (when your muscles contract but don’t change length)
- building long, lean muscle
- low-weight, high-reps for muscular endurance
- improving flexibility
- improving balance
- strengthening the core
- improving posture
…and, of course, the classic barre “pulses”. Barre is about toning, toning, toning, so by adding teeny, tiny isometric movements, we work your muscles to fatigue to activate the smaller, accessory muscles (the ones that can be super tricky to tone!) If you haven’t heard the classic barre phrase “up-an-inch, down-an-inch”, you soon will a zillion times because we love to do high-rep/low-weight combos of these super small movements to build endurance rather than bulk in the muscles.
So what can you expect at a Local Barre class? Well, using the barre for support, we pulse (clearly!); plié (plee-yay…a fancy word for bending your knees) to some serious bangers; work on toning your arms with 2-5 lb weights; and perform various Pilates-inspired exercises that work your whole body (with an extra focus on the booty, of course). Classes are a package deal: The entire time we also focus on strengthening your core, and improving your posture, flexibility, and balance. We then finish things off with a cool-down stretch to calm and re-energize you for the rest of your day.
And get this: Lotte might have been a professional ballerina, but BY NO MEANS do you have to be. Bonus! The best part about barre is that absolutely no experience in ballet, yoga or Pilates is necessary. The low-impact nature of barre makes it a very accessible workout, so come check it out! We can’t wait to show the locals of YQR what barre is all about!