HEALTHY LIVING: 5 things to know about barre fitness in Berlin

HEALTHY LIVING: 5 things to know about barre fitness in Berlin

reporter photo

BERLIN – Barre fitness classes will be offered for the first time next month at Fitness by Design on Webster Square Road.

Here are 5 things to know about the ballet-inspired workout from studio owner Meaghan Massenat and class instructor Ashley Orozco.

Health benefits

Barre fitness targets a variety of muscles including glutes, hamstring, hip flexor and core. Tiny isometric movements are the focus. 

Orozco said the exercise is beneficial for lengthening the body and posture. She said barre is especially helpful for those that have a desk job and spend the day primarily sitting. The workouts can also help with sleeping disorders, like insomnia, as well as overall mental health. 

Types of barre

Massenat said barre is growing in popularity and has attracted former ballet dancers like herself to the dance-inspired workout.

The classes at Fitness by Design will focus mainly on the barre method, which uses stretching techniques in between workouts. Floor work is also incorporated into the barre method as well as dumbbells, resistance bands and small exercise balls.

Other types include barre3 and pure barre, which involve various workouts.

Warm-ups and stretches

Orozco said a 10-minute warm-up before starting workouts at the barre gets the heart rate up and warms up the muscles. Included in the warm-up is walking in place with high knees, lifting small dumbbells in time to music, as well as hip pulses, planks and push-ups. Toes are usually flexed or pointed.

Stretches are done in between workouts to warm the leg muscles. Stretching can also be used as a transition into the next workout.

At the barre

Like in traditional ballet, barre fitness moves include pliés, which are done by turning out the feet before bending and straightening the knees, relevés which involve rising up on the tips of the toes, and arabesques which involve extending one leg out behind the supporting leg.

Seat work uses these moves as well as a small exercise ball between the legs to work the core and glutes.

Class participants lean on the bar for balance while keeping their posture when doing more than a dozen different workouts. Orozco said she creates the workouts set to upbeat music similar to dance choreography.

Injury aid

Orozco said barre workouts improve posture and strength and can help with pre-existing injuries. She was not able to do much physical activity previously due to a hip injury and found barre to be the best low-impact workout.

Workouts can also be modified to fit individual needs. Because barre fitness is gentle on the joints, Orozco said anyone can participate.
Twitter: @KusReporter