I recently began taking Cardio Barre, a ballet-style exercise class that combines barre work and weight lifting.
I’m a “get-it-over-with-on-the-treadmill” kind of girl, so a barre class for my cardio seemed like a nice change.
Little did I know that this seemingly graceful, cute little exercise routine would whip me into shape. My last dance class was over 10 years ago.
Cardio Barre is a high-energy cardio class and caused me to break into a sweat immediately. The exercise class focused on butt, legs, torso and arms, using modified barre and ballet techniques, in order to sculpt muscles and elongate the appearance of your body. The 60-minute class integrates fun dance movements that require a bit of coordination, but can be quickly picked up. The dance movements were fun, and made me wish that I had taken ballet when I was younger (so that the ballet technique could come more easily!)
The day after my Cardio Barre class, I was as stiff as the Tin Man in need of oil. No joke. I had not stretched, before nor after the class. The muscles in my thighs and buttocks and calves tightened and I could barely walk, for days.
The muscles are worked in a way that is completely different from what I do at the gym. Whereas squats and lunges seem to bulk my muscles, the barre exercise strengthens muscles that I otherwise don’t target, such as quads and calves.
There were women of all shapes and sizes in the class – some women were heavier, some were older than 60, some were regulars with tight, built bodies, and there were even a few men.
No one was unable to do the exercises, but we were all feeling the burn – even the class pros.
I am now discovering that ballet is an exercise in postural alignment, muscle and joint flexibility, and essential muscular strength building, all exercises my body craves after sitting at my desk all day. Flexibility, I realize, is so important and helpful to my body. In fact, the exercises are certainly more low-impact than my old treadmill routine.