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BC in Review: Barre Fitness at the Plex

When was the last time you thought to use a ballet barre to get a high-intensity workout that combines strength, cardio, and flexibility into a one-hour session?  Unless you were previously a ballerina, probably…never?  Well let me tell you about barre fitness, the new workout craze that has fitness and dance enthusiasts rushing to the dance studio for a challenging and dynamic workout- and get this, it’s at BC!

For those of you who may not be familiar with what I am talking about, let me explain the concept of a barre class.  Barre fitness combines Pilates-based strength exercises with ballet dance moves to create a high intensity but low impact workout.  The exercises performed are featured around a ballet barre (obviously), but also include movements with light hand weights, resistance bands, and a small exercise ball.  For those of you with dance-phobia, you should not be afraid to try it!  Although the class is centered around a ballet barre, very little prior dance experience or knowledge is necessary.  The class works almost every part of your body from head to toe, including, your arms, chest, back, abdominals, glutes, thighs and calves.  The intensity is created by intervals of very small, repetitive movements, typically in an “not-so”comfortable position (for instance, in a squat or standing on your tip-toes).  

With barre fitness rising in popularity over the past year or so, I was super excited to see that BC began to offer its own barre fitness class at the Plex.  I had been to a few of these classes at various barre studios in the area, and was interested to see how the BC class compared.  The class is called “Barre Fitness” and is offered Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays at a variety of times.  On the Plex website, the class is described as “Pilates, ballet moves (without dancing), and strength training combined to give you a burn-inducing fun class!” and is instructed by teachers, Hilary and Sarah, both are fantastic.

I tried this class at BC and loved it!  It contains all the elements of a typical barre class and proved to be a challenging yet fun and energizing workout.  The newly renovated MPR room at the Plex is a perfect space for the class, and the equipment, which is all provided, is new and unworn. 

The class begins with a warm-up, which includes some marching in place, plank-holds, mountain climbers, and push-ups.  After everyone is sufficiently warmed up (aka already sweating), we move to the ballet barre to begin the real workout.  We use the barre to stabilize us while performing toe-raises, squats, and lunges.  While pulsing up and down in these various positions, my legs start to feel the burn almost instantaneously.  But the upbeat music and encouraging instructors motivate me to give it my all.  After the barre portion, which works mostly the lower body, we move on to the upper body, using light hand weights, and the abs, with Pilates exercises on the mat.  

It is a challenging workout and I definitely am sweating by the end.  It is also a fun and energizing workout that I enjoy because it combines both cardio and strength.  If you are looking for a new and enjoyable way to mix up your workout routine, I would totally recommend you try one of the barre fitness classes at the Plex.  You might not be able to walk down the stairs the next day, but you definitely won’t regret it!  

For more information and schedule information, visit here!

 

Photo Sources:

 

http://www.bc.edu/content/bc/offices/rec/programs/fitness/group/descriptions.html

http://dailymom.com/portal/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/The-Barre-Fitness-Craze.jpg

http://www.maurawayman.com/images/Professional/140_Thigh_work_barre_Fitness.jpg

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