Sleek Barre Technique TM is one of our most effective classes. Whether you’re grabbing a chair and joining a class in the online studio or streaming in your own time, you’re going to feel it work. As dancers, myself, Victoria, and all the Sleek team have spent our daily lives hitting the barre. It’s a mental as well as physical challenge. But what are the benefits and why should you make time for it in your weekly workout regime. Read on to find out.
The Body Benefits
Victoria and I create your barre workouts from the roots of classical ballet. With Sleek you really are working through an authentic barre sequence. Moving through exercises and stretches in a set succession and with a specific purpose warms up, lengthens and strengthens the muscles in the lower body and core.
Pliés and slow tendus focus on the feet and legs, helping to develop technique for the rest of the class. Fast twitch muscles are worked with snappier exercises like quick tendus and glissés. Already you will have worked every inch of your lower body, your muscle tone will be firming and your strength and technique increasing. Add in your arms (port de bras) if you want the extra challenge, and your upper body will be engaged. Holding your arm in second position for long periods during your workout is going to give you a beautiful back and toned triceps in no time.
As you move through the barre, balance, core stability and flexibility are tested in exercises like fondu and adage. You’ll have the chance to practice extending your leg off the ground during these movements, creating those long, lean dancer muscles everyone talks about. Battements improve flexibility as well as strength and will lift your heart rate for a final fat burning blast before you cool down.
It sounds tough but you have a reliable partner to support you throughout…
Balance it out
Your barre (or chair) is there to help you gain your control and improve your technique and confidence. But don’t drag it down. You should only have a light hand resting just in front of you as you stand facing or side on. Lose the tension too. Aim for a gently slope of the holding arm from your shoulder to your elbow and onto your wrist. Don’t wrap your fingers around the barre for dear life either. No one is going to take it away from you! Holding a barre correctly will help your body to shift and navigate changes of weight which in turn helps your balance and strength. It’s well worth practicing your holding barre arm before you start class. And keep checking in that you’ve not resorted to gripping it though out your workout.
Barre for your Brain
We all know that the mental benefits of ballet are significant. By becoming familiar with the order of a barre sequence you are stimulating your brain as well as your body. Concentration, focus and attention to the choreography are required, all of which help reduce the risk of diseases including Parkinson’s and Dementia. And barre work also brings great calmness and stress relief. It is a trusted friend to professional dancers and becomes that same reliable tool to all of us. Want to feel less stressed? Hit the barre and zone into your body.
Every plié counts
Short on time? You can work through all your these exercises from plié to stretch in as little as 15 – 20 minutes. Even though the choreography will change from class to class, once you know the sequence of the exercises, it will feel like second nature. I’ll meet you at the barre then!