Confessions of a Power Barre Newbie

Ever feel in awe of what your younger self could do like it was no big deal and your current self can barely complete?

That’s kind of how barre is for me.

From kindergarten through my senior year of highschool, I took ballet, tap and jazz lessons. Eventually, I went en pointe and taught classes for elementary age girls. At the time, gracefully flouncing around on the tips of my toes did not seem particularly impressive.

Recently, however, I started taking Power Barre classes at the Balance Loft, and it’s raised a few questions for my past self. Namely, how was my body ever physically able to do this stuff all the time?

Getting back into barre work has been fun and challenging. It’s also not exactly what I expected. Here are three things I found surprising stepping up to the barre for the first time in eight years:

1. The “power” in power barre is serious business.

I’m pretty sure I sweat more at my first power barre class than I ever have in my entire life. I came in expecting the slow burn of a traditional ballet class, where in an hour you might not break a sweat at all. Not so in power barre! This class is set up to burn serious calories and build muscle and it’s pretty much nonstop for the full hour. I feel like I got such a better workout from these intense moves than I ever did doing endless tendus and plies.

2.  It’s not just a lower body workout

I always thought barre classes were specifically a leg-only workout. Even when I used to dance regularly as a teenager, my legs were in far better shape than my arms. So I was pretty surprised when I came into my first power barre class and was told to grab weights. Throughout the class we incorporated arm exercises into the workout and in the days following, my arms were just as sore as my legs. I generally dislike arm workouts because I find curls and triceps extensions extremely boring, but by combining them with other moves and incorporating it into the full hour, I found I didn’t mind it at all.

3. It’s a lot harder than it looks

One thing I’ve heard said several times at the barre classes I’ve taken so far is “small movements, big results.” So far, I’ve found that to be very true. Form is everything in barre and much like ballet, it looks easier than it is. When I see someone leaning on the barre and raising their leg behind them, my first thought is “that looks like a piece of cake” (second only to “my ballet teacher would KILL me for gripping the barre like this”). When actually trying it though, I found that with the proper form, it’s roughly 1000Xs more difficult than it looks!

Already after only taking a couple classes I can feel myself getting stronger. Even more impressive, at least for me, is that my balance is improving. Barre definitely works those little muscles you never knew you had and at every class I can feel it getting easier. I can’t wait to see how I look and feel in a few months! I’ll keep you posted.

-Cristin