Wat is een Barre workout?

De extended barre workout begint relaxed aan de barre met een heerlijke oefening waarbij je de grote spieren opwarmt. Daarna gaan we los: soms wat meer klassieke techniek, soms veel kracht en altijd enthousiast en aansprekende muziek. Na het eerste deel aan de barre te hebben gestaan met oefeningen gericht op flexibiliteit, kracht en souplesse wordt de les in het midden voort gezet. Invloeden uit dans-, yoga- en Pilateslessen komen voorbij. Dat zorgt dus voor een gevarieerde les met iedere vier weken een ander lesthema.

Hier tref je een mooi artikel over de combinatie duursport en krachttraining. 

I did a month of barre classes – here’s what happened to my running

Can a month behind the barre make me a stronger runner? 


15 JAN 2020

A high-repetition sequence of isometric exercises, I went into my first Barrecoreclass a little over confident and somewhat naive. Unlike the HIIT classes I had grown accustomed to, my heart rate wasn’t through the roof and I wasn’t a sweaty mess in the first five minutes; ‘this isn’t going to make a difference’ I thought, working through the warm-up, grippy socks on, exercise ball in hand. 

I’ll be the first to admit, I was completely wrong. Running home after my first class, my easy-miles felt tough on my tired legs. The next morning, my core ached. I soon began to realise that the ‘Barrecore shake’ wasn’t just something the teachers spoke about, it was switching on and working muscles I rarely used. I found myself having to stop and re-set in certain positions, when the tiny movements began to burn. Sure, the class wasn’t spiking my heart rate, but barre soon exaggerated the weaknesses of doing little other than running for a year. 

What to expect 

In barre, the smaller the movement the better. You won’t be moving through a whole lunge, you’ll be pulsing down an inch and back up, working the muscle in a different way. As Nicki Rein, Founder and Creative Director at Barrecore tells me, “The focus in classes is to strengthen the posterior chain (back, glutes and hamstrings), align the spine and overall posture which all helps improve gait and stride step-off. There is equal focus on lengthening every muscle in the body, especially the hip flexors, TFL and hamstrings where runners tend to be most tight. This unique way of strengthening these muscle groups integrated with flexibility training during classes help to avoid chronic pain and injury.”

Doing four classes a week for a month, I was worried I’d soon get bored of the routines, but despite following a similar format, the classes vary. Each class includes a warm-up, full-body barre focusing on the thighs and seat, abdominal floor work using various props and a savasana. The BareSIGNATURE classes work through this sequence, with the choreography changing based on the instructor. There’s BarreFORM classes for beginners with more of a focus on technique, BarreRESTORE classes with a focus on lengthening and stretching, BarreSWEAT which adds low-impact cardio and my favourite, BarreSCULPT which has the addition of resistance bands for a more intense practise. 

There are also a range of online classes, for runners who don’t live near the studios, dotted around London, Bristol, Chesire and Manchester. Like the four week challenge in-class, there’s a four-week online programme, designed to strengthen all major muscle groups. 

Why runners?

So why is barre great for runners and which exercises should runners focus on in class? I ask Rein, “runners are notorious for having weak glutes and tight hamstrings, but some struggle to engage their abdominals, which can make a massive impact on running efficiency. We highly recommend focusing on core engagement throughout every single exercise (even during arms) so it becomes second nature in any activity. Then, we recommend getting the most out of the gluteal series in each class making sure the glutes do the work and there is no loading in the, most likely, overdeveloped hip flexors”.

But should runners not be worried about working into their leg muscles so intensely? The answer from Rein is reassuring with a training block on the horizon, “Not at all. This should only help their running efficiency. That said, we would suggest skipping barre classes the two days prior to a big event so you have fresh legs and to be sure to follow the event with our BarreRESTORE recovery class for some much needed myofascial release as well as dynamic stretching.”

A month later 

Following Rein’s advice, I really honed in on my core during the classes. I worked on keeping my abs tight and engaged for the full 55-minutes, not just the specific abdominal section of the class. The result? I felt stronger and more stable when I ran. 

Previous instabilities in my pelvis felt more controlled, my deeper core muscles stopped my pelvis moving as much when I ran, preventing the sciatic nerve pain I’d been plagued with for months.

There is a trend for people to train more and more these days, adding new things in their already packed diary in an attempt to ‘mix things up’, but it more often than not results in over training and being too tired when it comes to the running part of life. I found barre to be a great supporting act to my running; unlike some HIIT classes I could tone down the leg work in class without feeling like I was cheating myself of a workout, knowing that the core work would be beneficial enough and the speed work session the next day would be far more enjoyable and productive without adding in some unnecessary quad DOMS.