1. Please could you describe what ballet barre is?
BarreConcept is an all over body conditioning workout for all ages and abilities. A BarreConcept workout contains the grace, moves and posture of ballet, the core strength and control of pilates and the alignment of yoga. BarreConcept is a low-impact workout which stretches and sculpts the muscles whilst burning body fat. It is an up beat class with a focus on physical results and pure enjoyment.
2. How is this different from other forms of exercise?
BarreConcept combines a few different exercise types and has lots of variety depending on if you are a beginner or advanced exerciser. You can still manage to raise your heart rate and burn body fat without it being a high impact class that could put strain on your joints and old injuries. Because the class consists of many exercises put together in a fluid motion, you can easily practice a few individual exercises, broken down, at home in between your regular classes.
3 Why do you love it?
I love it because firstly it really does work & you see results very quickly but also I come away feeling energised, lengthened and my muscle tone feels firmer. Also for people who clock watch during a class, Barre is fantastic as we do 35 mins exercise at the Barre followed by a sequence of arm toning and core exercises followed by a deep stretch and relaxation. It’s so varied there is no time to get bored!
3. How long did you train for?
You have to be trained in either dance, pilates or yoga to sign up for the teacher trainer course in BarreConcept but once you have that I did an intense weekend Barre course followed by a practical and theory examination.
4. Why do you think this type of practice is particularly good for anyone recovering from surgery or illness/cancer?
Firstly, as it is not a high impact class, someone who has been away from exercise due to surgery and recovery will not find it an exhausting cardio class. Each exercise is modified depending on your specific body, injuries and post op specifications. Many people attend who have knee and hip replacements, breast surgery/reconstruction, back issues, running injuries etc to name a few. We do nothing in the class that will cause strain on areas of the body that are in recovery, each individual is asked to listen to their own body, stop when they need to or we modify exercises to suit you.
5. What would you say to anyone who is thinking about starting a class but is a bit nervous (for whatever reasons!)
Basically there is not a single person that cannot participate in a barre class, we cater for all and this is understood by everyone who comes to class. Even the very fittest student who runs marathons has their area of improvement such as not being able to reach their knees to stretch or has totally no balance. The main misconception is that people think its going to be a ballet class but it’s not at all we simply use the posture of a ballet dancer and positioning while performing the exercises. It’s such a feel good class, you’ll be comfortable participating from the start!
1. BarreConcept is a ballet-inspired, low impact workout that tones and sculpts the muscles using isometric movements and stretches. The method is a fusion of ballet, pilates and yoga and the combination of these three methods is an optimum regime for burning fat, increasing core strength, toning muscles and developing flexibility, not to mention relieving tension and stress. It's great fun, upbeat and hard work!
2. It's different because it brings the best of several methods together, in one hit. In one class, you'll experience the grace of dance, the burn of a legs & bums workout, the power of a pilates core-strengthening session and the stretch and relaxation of a yoga practice. Not bad for 60 minutes!
3. I love it because it reminds me of my youth as a dancer, it feels like I'm really working my body and actively changing it's shape and I don't have to jump up and down to loud dance music in a hall full of sweaty people! Plus, I know it's developing muscles that look after my joints and spine and I'm less likely to get injured doing it than something high-impact. I love teaching it for similar reasons - it just offers the perfect package and I enjoy seeing people develop in confidence over the course of a few weeks.
4. I trained to teach BarreConcept, which is a trademarked version of Barre (and there are plenty more out there!) over a 3-day course, but you have to be a qualified Pilates or Yoga teacher to join that course. I have a dance background which also helped.
5. Barre is great for people recovering from surgery or cancer treatment primarily because it makes you feel good! Once you are given the ok by your doctor to exercise, it's the perfect way to get back to living actively, working every part of the body back to health. Over a relatively short period of time, you will see a noticeable difference in energy levels, muscle strength and tone, flexibility, body shape, posture and breath control. Classes including relaxation also allow the body to slow down, release and regenerate new cells. This is vital in the healing process.
6. It's natural to feel nervous about joining a group class, whatever the method. My advice is to speak to the instructor before the class (by phone or email) about how you feel, and about your medical history. A good instructor will help you to feel included, supported and able - there is nothing worse than feeling you can't keep up....and an instructor should offer different levels of any exercise to cater for all the participants in the room. If they don't know about your history though, they won't be able to adjust things for you...so be brave and ask them to keep an eye on you! And it always helps to take a buddy along....
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These are a collection of blogs written by other cancer patients, survivors, friends and family as well as wellbeing and health therapists who wanted to share their expertise to help inspire and encourage us with recovery and healing. Over the last thirteen years I have put a lot of time and focus into my own self care and I have explored many activities and products that I wanted to share, so I have written a few too! Enjoy xx