The BARREtique Technique
Barre-based fitness has evolved from the disciplines of pilates, ballet, Lotte Berk, yoga and core conditioning. At BARREtique you will find that our classes combine the alignment of pilates, the grace and beauty of ballet, the distinctive and precise exercises of the Lotte Berk Method, the restorative stretching of yoga and the intense focus of core conditioning. BARREtique classes are unique in that they combine the classic exercises that made barre fitness effective and popular, with engaging new variations, changes in tempo, and easy to follow choreography. Your BARREtique teacher will be focused on your form and alignment – knowing that if you master this, that your barre experience will be safe, effective, and results driven.
We use ballet barres for stability and for achieving precise positions for exercises, however in any given class you could spend an equal amount of time away from the barre doing exercises on the mats or in the centre of the room. We are conscious that although we want to make our exercises flow and be beautiful, it shouldn’t feel like a dance class or require any choreography. No dance experience is required, but at the end of class we hope that you feel the posture of a dancer!
Below, you will find more details about the areas we concentrate on in class. While all our classes have common elements, classes are not formulaic or repetitive. Each of our classes is specifically designed to give you a balanced, full body workout with exercises that are fun and never formulaic. Think about it as a one-to-one class in a group setting.
Class starts with a standing warm-up that begins with leg lifts and subsequent stretching to ensures that the legs, arms, back and torso are stretched and warmed up at the beginning of class.
Engaging the core immediately is central to a BARREtique class, which is why the plank is always our first exercise. This is followed by upper body conditioning. Here you can expect exercises such as push-ups, reverse push ups, and work with light hand weights to effectively sculpt the muscles of the arms, shoulders and upper back. The upper body series finishes with stretches for the shoulders, pectorals, and triceps.
Working the quadriceps, calves, and hamstrings is the focus of the next segment of class. Several exercises may be performed on the mat – such as knee dancing or lean backs, but others such as relevés, pliés and leg lifts require the support of the ballet barre. Each class includes a variety of positions – parallel, small v, wide second, fourth position, lunges, etc. You may use a playground ball to engage the inner thighs, a ring to work the outer thigh or hamstrings, or foam block for balance. The exercises are all designed to work your muscles to exhaustion. It is common (and desirable!) to see your leg muscles shake throughout these exercises – this means that you are working your muscles to exhaustion – which is what we are aiming for. BARREtique exercises involve performing a large number of reps with a small range of movement, through precise motions at varying tempos to achieve this result.
A hallmark of a BARREtique class are our stretches. We ensure that the legs are fully stretched and warm at the start of the leg series through our first barre stretch, and the series culminates in a final restorative quadriceps stretch that is designed the lengthen the muscle fibres that have been contracting throughout the exercise.
This is often the most defining element of any class. Exercises to engage the gluteal (bottom) muscles can take many forms – a long lever arabesque, a pretzel, or perhaps a clam! When doing bottom exercises, you might find yourself standing at the barre, sitting at the barre, or on your back or side on the mat – the possibilities are endless! (Sorry if we get a bit over excited about bottom exercises!) Often, your teacher will guide you through a variety of positions to ensure that the entire outer thigh and gluteal region is worked.
However, as your teacher guides you through these variations, and provides feedback on form and how to increase effectiveness, know that we are constantly looking at your form, and focusing on positioning, alignment and muscle engagement to ensure that you get the most out of the exercises.
When clients come to BARREtique, this is often the area that they wish to work on the most. A strong core is fundamental to good posture, a healthy back and injury prevention. (Not to mention also feeling great about how you look in your clothes!) This is precisely why we start our class in a plank position, as this is the type of core engagement and alignment that we want students to remember throughout the class whether they are doing a plié or the pretzel.
While we reinforce core engagement throughout the class, in the abdominal section you will be instructed through a concentrated series of positions such as c-curve, flat back, pilates V, seated round back, and others. Exercises may be seated, laying or positioned under the barre. BARREtique teachers always provide modifications for injuries and students working at different levels.
First time students are often surprised that we challenge ourselves right up until the end of the hour long class! We have lot to pack into the hour – but you will leave after a luxurious full body stretch feeling a bit taller, certainly more aware of your muscles, stronger than when you arrived!
BARREtique is excited to introduce a new class format called BARREtique Stretch. While the name implies leisurely long stretching – of which there are many – it is designed to be an active and advanced class. We start with a 10 minute muscle warm up, then provide a full body workout over 30 minutes, followed by 20 minutes of restorative stretching to finish the class.
Set around the barre, the class is limited to 10 students to ensure an optimal experience for everyone. The warm up and stretching incorporates muscle rollers. Whereas the barre exercise elements of the class often work more than one body part at a time – for example, leg work while working the arms with light weights.
Always challenging and highly rewarding, this active class set to distinctive choreography is designed to leave you feeling energised and refreshed – toned and lengthened. This class is designed for students with a familiarity with barre exercising who are working at an intermediate or advanced level. We will require (strongly encourage!) you to pre-book your space in this class by using our booking form or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org