January 2014

Raising the Barre: The latest fitness fusion to take Hilton Head by Storm

Author: Karen Weiner & Lynne Anderson

If you’ve ditched your leotard and leg warmers for Lululemon and a yoga mat, be advised: now it’s time to belly up to the Barre. This fitness phenomenon delivers a long and lithe dancer’s body without a tutu to be seen. Barre workouts improve posture, balance, coordination, flexibility, strength and cardiovascular fitness. It’s a full-monty physical fitness combination unlike any other.

Ballet-inspired, Barre classes are a coordinated combination of exercises designed to give you a bikini butt, shapely legs, flat abs and a strong back—think long, lean and seriously toned. From plies to pelvic thrusts, each movement tightens, strengthens and stretches your body while high-energy music takes your mind away from the inevitable burn.

All Barre regimens, and there are many (Pure Barre, Barre3, Burn at the Barre, Physique57, BarreConcept and BarreReflections to name a few), are based on the Lotte Berk Method. Movements are small, intense and isometric, working the muscles to fatigue, then immediately followed by stretches. Barre combines the precision of Pilates, the alignment of yoga, the grace and techniques of ballet, the strength of sports conditioning with the cardiovascular stamina provided by running, spinning or Zumba.

While Barre has worked magic on such high-profile followers as Madonna, Natalie Portman, Drew Barrymore and Demi Moore, who swear it tones and hones, it also benefits the muggles among us. Why? Because Barre targets smaller muscle groups, fine-tuning your entire body like the delicately balanced machine it is. Barre works to reshape and tighten the body, and it works quickly.

A glimpse of the local barre scene
Core Pilates Yoga & Barre took the lead on Hilton Head, opening up a private room dedicated to Barre work at their new south end island location in the Courtyard Building on Office Park Road. In addition to their already successful Pilates Mat and Pilates Playground Equipment classes, Core offers their unique brand of Barre recipes, which include OM Barre, a Yoga-Barre blend, Ballet Barre and Core, a classic approach, cardio-inspired Barre & More, and BarreReflections, the perfect blend for all levels.

In a typical class, the first round is an aerobic warm-up done in the middle of the room. Designed to get your heart pumping and body warm, it also begins to mobilize your joints.

For the second round and at least half the class, you befriend the Barre for an unrelenting series of plies, releves, grand battements, attitudes, curtseys, lunges and press-ups, sometimes using a small bouncy ball to keep the inner thighs engaged. After multiple repetitions, your muscles scream for a break. Smooth choreography strings a series of movements together, contributing to the flow of the class.

Hand weights buy the third round, toning arms and upper body with a flurry of bicep curls, chest presses and tricep extensions, all while maintaining a healthy heart rate. With only two rounds left, a Pilates-inspired cocktail of core work helps tighten the abs. Last call is the long anticipated stretch sequence, sometimes including shivasana.
After a 55-minute shot of serious Barre indulgence, 2x to 3x times per week, a strong, sculpted, flexible body is guaranteed. It’s a safe bet to belly up to this new Barre in town.

For more information, visit workthatcore.com or call (843) 681-4267

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