Barre is the popular low-impact workout that promises improved posture, increased muscle definition and elongated limbs. We headed to leading studio, Barrecore, to try it for ourselves over four weeks of classes. Stay tuned!
Words Helen Brown
What is Barrecore?
With a fan base comprising Jourdan Dunn, Poppy Delevingne, Darcey Bussell and a troop of Victoria’s Secret angels, it’s no wonder that barre-based classes made serious waves in the world of wellness last year, with the trend looking set to stay long into 2019. The workout is built around a series of small repetitive movements designed to lengthen the muscles, improve posture, strengthen the core and increase flexibility. Sold by the many benefits brought on by the barre, I set off on a fitness series with leading studio, Barrecore. Founded in London in 2011 by celebrity trainer Niki Rein, Barrecore currently has nine studios across the capital and a handful around the rest of the UK, all individual in their own way and with a set of earnest followers. Each studio offers a range of classes for all levels so I begin with the Lite and the Signature classes.
Having been a long-time adherent of HIIT and classes focused on explosive, compound movements, the isometric exercises and tiny motions of barre take some getting used to. Minimal movement and pulses burn out the muscles at a specific joint, working to lift, tighten and strengthen without putting strain on joints. My muscles burn in a way I am not used to, but respite comes after each set of exercises with stretching and common yoga moves like Child’s Pose and Downward Dog. With a slower pace and detailed instruction, Barrecore’s Lite class is a brilliant introduction to the workout and its principles. I try this at the Chelsea studio with Barrecore Teacher Trainer, Gemma. She is attentive throughout, fixing postures and making tweaks to the alignment of each student in a manner that is encouraging and informative. The class focuses on technique but it’s still a pretty formidable workout; I leave with wobbly limbs and a feeling of lightness that only comes after a vigorous massage.
With a better understanding of the workout and its terminology, I try out a couple of Signature classes. The original and most-popular class, this dynamic workout uses a combination of bodyweight resistance, light props, work at the ballet barre and high repetitions to exhaust all major muscle groups. Each follows a structure of warm up, arms, thighs, seat, core and warm down and every instructor offers variations on movements so that you can build on your technique each session. My limbs shake with the effort of each movement and I soon come to realise that my core lacks strength, but after two or three classes I become accustomed to the flow of the class. The end of each workout also brings on an overwhelming tiredness and I spend the last few minutes stretching and trying to conceal yawns. I think this comes as the tension of a long day at work is released, and it feels incredibly satisfying. Pair this with Barrecore’s enthusiastic instructors and slick studios, it’s easy to see why the workout becomes addictive.
Try it for yourself at barrecore.co.uk