Before you Barre
Xtend Barre instructor Jordan Sibley shares some advice for you before you hit the barre!
Barre (pronounced “bar”) is more than just a fitness industry buzz word. Ballet-based group exercise classes are a fun and effective way to tone and lengthen the entire body. Nola Pilates, established in Lakeview in 2007, brought Xtend Barre to the New Orleans fitness scene in 2008. The studio owner, Kim Munoz, brought Xtend Barre back with her from her post-Katrina stay in Boca Raton, Florida where she met Xtend Barre creator, Andrea Rogers.
Xtend Barre is Pilates and dance amplified. It brings in elements of dance, ballet and Pilates to create an adrenaline-fueled workout that strengthens, lengthens and chisels the body. Each class features an elegant yet energetic combination of movements that enhance flexibility, improve balance, and challenge the core.
Before you brave the barre, brush up on the below tips to keep your body on point! (pun intended)
Bigger movements do not equal better movements
Whenever and wherever you exercise, focus on moving as effectively as possible. Using momentum or improper form to achieve any movement will not improve the body’s ability to perform, master and progress the exercise over time.
Knee and ankle alignment is crucial
It’s important to pay attention to your knee and ankle alignment during class to ensure you are protecting the knee’s delicate structure. Many exercises involve flexion and extension of the knee joint. In barre classes these movements are often in the form of a plie (pronounced plee-ay. Do not allow your knees to bend past your toes. In positions involving turnout of the foot, ankle and leg bones, keep the knees tracking in line with the first three toes on each foot.
Focus on neutral spine
Whether standing, seated or lying down, focus on maintaining proper posture in a neutral spinal position. Your spine is shaped with a gentle “S” curve to allow for absorption of body weight. Overuse of a posterior tilt (tuck) or anterior tilt (arch) can cause imbalanced muscles and back pain. Focus on allowing your spine to maintain its natural shape, especially during core work. Don’t smoosh your spine flat into the mat and don’t arch excessively. (Remember, bigger movements do not equal better movements).
Stop watching your neighbor
The worst thing you can do to yourself, in any exercise class, is compare yourself to your fellow classmates. We are all shaped differently. We move differently. We have varying levels of coordination. We exercise at different intensities. So on and so forth. Come to class to focus on yourself, not to try and compete with the barrebie standing next to you. No matter how easy your neighbor may make it seem, they’re gritting their teeth through the last few reps just like you are!
Listen to cues
Your instructor will give you verbal corrections throughout class. Pay attention to the cues and take a mental inventory of how your body is moving through space. Can you lengthen your spine a little taller? Can you straighten your leg a little longer? Can you engage your abdominals a bit more to support your body? Focusing on cues and improving each movement will help you achieve your desired results safely and effectively.
We hope to meet you at the barre soon!