Heading to the barre is super healthy, especially if it's not the bar but the barre. Surely you've heard of these workouts by now--they have a cult following, with studios popping up seemingly everywhere in the last couple of years.
And no, you don't have to be a dancer to do the classes. At all. In fact, it's pretty far from actual ballet. Check out my article about the difference between Barre and Ballet here for clarification, but really, you just need to know a few things about what you need for barre class and why you want to go. Studio Barre is the best if you have one of those studios near you (shoutout to Studio Barre Encinitas!!)
1. Attire: leggings and grippy socks. Why? Because A) you want to keep your limbs warm for a safer workout and more energy expenditure and B) you'll be lifting your legs a ton so nobody wants to see up your shorts. As for grippy socks, A) safety: they keep you from sliding around and B) hygiene; do you really want to be stepping on someone else's sweaty footprint? nothankyou.
From sexy knee high grip socks to mary-jane and ballet styles, Tavi Noir is one of my top picks, (and not only because I used to work at the studio the company's founder taught at). My other fave is Pointe Studio because they are super affordable, unique and cute. Where else can you find tie dye ankle grip socks with palm trees on them? They are fab for the studio or around the house and with code Maiah20 at checkout at pointestudios.com, you can get 20% off your order! You're SO welcome!
2. What. Is. Tucking. If you do it right, your abs will let you know it. Engage your glutes, roll your tailbone down/under, suck that belly button to your spine and there you basically have it. The tuck move keeps your core engaged and protects your low back, so when the instructor says tuck, you tuck, mothertucker.
As Dr. Norman explains: “The simple act of tucking your hips, if done with intention, helps to engage your abdominal muscles. Additionally, when you tuck your hips, creating a neutral spine, you can work on activating the deeper abdominal muscles which are found to help support and stabilize your low spine" -Dr. Hilary Norman, PT, DPT
3. Stretchy Bands. These bands are kinda fun, kinds hell but SO great to strength and tone. Also you can't cheat or the slack band will be a huge giveaway. Get your own set for home too; they are less than $10! Bands are so versatile and you can work any body part. I am a huge fan of using them for injury recovery as well as injury prevention. If you've sprained your ankles before, for example, get on strengthening moves with this band. It will 100% prevent more spraining and will strengthen your weakened ankle according to me (I am not a doctor FYI just a fitness lover that likes to share my experiences!) Currently I am using bands to strengthen my foot after 2+ months in a boot (barre is helping with that a ton, too!)
4. Squishy Ball. Okay that's a little misleading: some studios have SUPER squishy balls and some have firm ones but either way, you will be getting some toned and hard inner thighs by squeezing the ball between your legs while working out. Seriously, I'm not kidding: barre targets every major muscle group (and every little muscle too) leaving nothing (especially your inner and outer thighs) behind.
5. There is a feeling of being in a tribe/community of strong-ass women. I've never been in a studio where people chat so much before and after class and are genuinely excited to be there. Ballet studios have an air of competition it seems, with lots of side eye and subtle comparing of leotard-clad bodies, and yoga studios tend to be more quiet and zen, with people slipping out quietly after savasana. With barre, I've made some great friends, and feel the love so much more than other studios I've been to (and as a former dancer/sometimes current fitness instructor I've been to a LOT).
There you have it! Not so intimidating now, right? Stop procrastinating, wear a full tank and tights, grab some grip socks and head to a (Studio) Barre studio near you!