For many of us, a new year represents new beginnings, a fresh start and new adventures to look forward to. January can be a fantastic time of year to set goals and think about the year ahead. So this year, instead of making a list of the things you resolve to stop, why not focus on some of the things you want to achieve instead? Starting with shaking up your exercise routine.
For the next five weeks, we’ll be straying from our normal exercise routine to try out some unusual fitness classes. Can an exciting and out-of-the-ordinary new workout give you just the kick you need this January? We’ll be reporting back to you on what we thought.
Forget spending hours on the treadmill – this New Year, think Hula Hoops, trampolines and pedalling in the pool.
What is barre?
Barre is a ballerina-inspired workout which combines movements from ballet, yoga and pilates. Classes are low-impact, and claim to target your core, arm and leg muscles. By using small, controlled movements, barre works on those hard-to-reach muscles and is thought to improve strength, balance, posture and flexibility. Depending on the class, you might use a mat, hand weights, resistance bands, an exercise ball or a barre (a traditional handrail used in ballet for support).
The class - here’s how it went
The barre studio had a lovely calm atmosphere. It was a simple room complete with dimmed lighting, candles and a waist-height handrail spanning mirrored walls. Our instructor gave us a run through of what to expect, and told us to grab a mat and set of light hand weights each (0.5kgs, 1kg or 1.5kgs).
The class started with a challenging warm-up, which incorporated lots of planks, side-planks, downward dogs and very slow mountain climbers. We then progressed onto shoulder presses, squats, push-ups and balance work.
After an intense session on the mats, we moved to the barre. Using this for support, we pliéd, stretched and pulsed, working deep into our legs. Each move was slow and controlled, using light weights and high repetitions to work deep into the muscle. There’s no doubt about it – our shoulder, tummy, back and glute muscles were working very hard.
We returned to the mat to finish off the class (and our abs!) with a session of sit-ups, Russian twists, leg scissors and leg raises. Apart from modern music (we were anticipating a Swan Lake style playlist), the class definitely achieved what it claims to and met our expectations.
The class was very challenging and definitely a great core workout. I’d recommend it to anyone with a medium to high level of fitness who is looking to really challenge and improve their core strength.
But please avoid this class if you’re new to exercise, don’t include core work in your usual routine, have irritable lower back pain or shoulder problems. Would I try it again? Absolutely!
This information was published by Bupa's Health Content Team and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence. It has been reviewed by appropriate medical or clinical professionals. Photos are only for illustrative purposes and do not reflect every presentation of a condition.
The information contained on this page and in any third party websites referred to on this page is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice nor is it intended to be for medical diagnosis or treatment. Third party websites are not owned or controlled by Bupa and any individual may be able to access and post messages on them. Bupa is not responsible for the content or availability of these third party websites. We do not accept advertising on this page.
For more details on how we produce our content and its sources, visit the 'About our health information' section.