The Barrecore Method Explained
Barrecore is intelligent exercise, integrating the fat-burning format of interval training, to exhaust each major muscle group, with static stretches which lengthen your muscles and offer relief. This combination of exercises effectively, efficiently and safely reshapes the entire body, creating the highly coveted barre body.
Come to class a few times a week and you will notice the following physical and mental changes in your body:
- Firm elongated muscles
- Reduced body fat
- Increased muscle definition
- A strong, flat abdomen
- A toned physique
- Lifted seat
- Increased strength and endurance
- Improved body alignment
- An increase in energy and sense of well-being
- Greater flexibility
- Spatial awareness and increased proprioception
- Improved mind and body awareness
- Better coordination
Throughout a Barrecore class are a number of key phrases and words you'll hear repeated often. We've demystified the most important two for you below.
What is an isometric contraction?
You’ll often hear our instructors use the phrase ‘isometric contraction.’ It sounds good right, but what does it really mean? An isometric contraction is one where neither the joint angle nor the length of the muscle changes during muscular contraction. It’s difficult to visualise but this static point is the sweet spot of calorie burning. The more you contract the muscle and hold it there, the more calories you will burn as it’s that stillness we so often speak of, that produces results.
And what about an eccentric contraction?
An eccentric contraction is the lengthening phase of the contraction. By lengthening a muscle, we effectively work the muscles to fatigue and create that long, lean look. The two contractions, isometric and eccentric, working against each other, lengthen and sculpt the muscle.
Isometric and eccentric contractions combined with active stretching (in Barrecore we use active stretches, these are used where you would normally rest in a HIIT workout) will create long, lean muscles, making you look great all year round.
The warm up. It’s exactly as it says on the tin. You’re warming up your body. In doing this, you’re engaging your mind with every major muscle group as it activates, you’re increasing your heart rate and you have time to focus on your breath.
Here’s a brief summary of exercises we focus on throughout our warm ups and why.
- Leg Lifts - This simple exercise helps to raise your metabolic rate and heart rate before getting down to the nitty gritty.
- Thigh Positions- These can include Wide Second, Lunge, Curtsy Lunge, Squats, Side to Side Plie and Speed Skater. Warming up your legs is super important, your quadriceps are the largest muscle in your body which means they’re quick to activate and they’re quick to dominate. These moves focus on your quads, hamstrings, inner thighs and your glutes, they will also help to stabilise your core.
- Planks - A whole body workout! The plank is a quick and great way to strengthen the entire body and focus on the abdominal wall.
- Press Ups - Whether or not you take the modified option and drop down to your knees, press ups are designed to strengthen the whole body with a particular focus on your arms, chest and shoulders.
- Tricep Dips - This killer exercise will either be your most loved or your most hated part of the class; it really works into your triceps and aids total body awareness. Although they never seem to get any easier, they will help tone the backs of your arms, a notoriously difficult part of the body to keep in shape.
- Weighted Arms - There are a number of weighted arm exercises. Generally these tend to strengthen your biceps, triceps (no bingo wings!) and improve your posture, help to open up the chest, strengthen your postural muscles, sculpt your shoulders, upper back and lastly, your chest.
- Unweighted Arm Circles - You’ll be relieved to put the weights down, but don’t get too settled. These tiny little arm circles that follow are deceptively difficult. Designed to lengthen and strengthen your shoulder muscles, sculpt the muscles of the upper arms, sculpt the armpit fold, this one is a real burner.
The second section of your class, done immediately after your warmup and probably the toughest part of the class, is the thigh section. This sections works your quads, abductors, hamstrings, glutes, your core, outer thighs and inner thighs. As the quads are the biggest muscle group, in working them first you get the heart rate up and enter the calorie burning zone a lot quicker.
As tough as it may be, don’t give up! When your quads are strong and lean, your body will burn more muscles around the clock and not just when you’re working out.
REMEMBER! Shaking is a good thing. If you shake it means you’ve hit that sweet spot, your muscles are tearing (don’t panic, these are tiny, microscopic tears) and then more muscle fibres are created as these little tears heel to create toned, lean muscles.
Here’s a little taster of some of the Barrecore exercises that your instructor will command throughout your thigh section:
- Wide Second
- Vertical V
- Vertical Parallel
- Vertical, Parallel or Wide Waterski
- Flat Back or Round Back Chair
- Thigh Surprise, otherwise known as a Hinge
We all want a perky bum right? Or in Barrecore terms, a ‘lifted seat’? Well that’s where the seat section of the class comes in, and a perkier bum is one of the first things Clients notice after being at the barre regularly. The seat section focuses on your glutes, hamstrings and back body and will often include inner and outer thigh work too. Some of the exercises even work your abdominals and obliques, what more could you want?!
During your seat section, your Instructor will change the tempo and/or choreography of an exercise. Although it might not feel like it’s doing a lot, this encourages the muscles to work even harder.
REMEMBER! It’s totally normal to feel these exercises in your supporting leg. It doesn’t mean you’re doing them wrong, the seat section strengthens your supporting leg and bone density whilst toning the muscles in your lifted leg.
Here’s a little sample of exercises used in the seat section:
- Standing Split
- Forearm Fold Over
- Push Up position
- Ice Skater/Full Fold Over
- Low Arabesque
- Standing/Kneeling Pretzel
- Clam Shell
- Back Dancing
A flat tummy is hard to achieve, but one of the more sought after barre body results. So how to achieve that flat tummy? The abdominal section is a killer, but if you put your all in you’ll see results fast.
This section of the class works your transverse abdominals, rectus abdominals (the part that gives you that six-pack!) and external and internal obliques. Not only does a flat tummy look great, but having a strong core provides a sturdy support for the trunk of the body and will improve your posture and the aesthetic of your waistline. Strengthening your core will also help with the flexibility and mobility of your spine and in turn, improve your spinal health.
In this part of the class, it’s important to really focus on what the Instructor is saying about the positioning of your spine, not only to protect your back but also to get the most out of the exercise.
Below are just a few of the ab exercises you’ll do in your class:
- Flat Back Abdominals
- Mid-Back Curl
- Round Back
- Flat Back up the Wall
- Dish Rock
- High Curl
- Back Extension
So why do we stretch so much in class? It’s important to stretch throughout and at the end of class for a number of reasons:
It helps lengthen the tissue, giving you that much desired long, lean look. It improves your range of motion and flexibility. The more you stretch, the more flexible you’ll become and the smoother and larger your barre movements will be. Notice how dancers, yogis and our Instructors flow swiftly and smoothly through each movement? That’s because they’re super flexible and their joints allow for a bigger range of motion.
Stretching also wards off soreness after a tough Barrecore workout. If you don’t stretch during and after class, chances are you’ll feel a bit stiff the next day. That’s why it’s so important to stay until the end of the class and reap the benefits of a good stretch. The stillness in a static stretch allows you to focus on your form and technique. This is opposed to ballistic stretches that mandate muscle lengthening through bouncing and can often result in injury.
In a Barrecore class these are just a few of the stretches you’ll experience throughout.
- Figure 4
- Straddle Stretch
- Pigeon Stretch
- Runner’s Lunge
- Split Stretch
- Downward Dog
- Hamstring Stretch
- Kneeling Quadricep Stretch
- Happy Baby
This is done at the end of every Barrecore class. It gives you time to rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit. The breath deepens, and the stress of the day and all the hard work you put in throughout class is released. It gives you a chance to reflect on your workout, think about areas of improvement and it’s the time to have one last stretch of the body.
What is Barrecore?
Barrecore is a series of movements designed to stretch every muscle group in the body. Using a ballet barre, your own body weight and isometric exercises, your muscles quickly transform, becoming longer, stronger, leaner and more flexible.
How many times a week should I come?
2-4 times a week! It’s the magic number. Those that increase their sessions per week from 3 to 4 days have a 50% increase in their results. The increase from 4 to 5 days a week results in only a 10% uplift, and may end up stressing the body. If 4 days a week is too much for you, then try and come regularly twice a week - this should be manageable and sustainable for your lifestyle.
Many Clients will see results after 8 to 10 classes. Frequency of attendance plays a big part in how quickly you produce results.
Once I've reach my goal, how do I maintain results?
Attending class 2-3 times per week is the perfect amount for maintenance and overall cardiovascular health, strength and conditioning.
Do I need to do cardio exercise as well as Barrecore?
No! Barrecore classes are resistance exercises mixed with low impact cardio bursts called interval training. Interval training is a very healthy form of cardiovascular training and is great at melting fat. If you want more cardio try our HIIT class.
Will I lose weight?
Most of our Clients lose inches in just 8 to 10 classes. We use a programme of resistance exercises, so you will build lean muscles. The more muscle you have, instead of fat, the more calories you will burn. Lean muscle takes up 20% less space in your body per pound than fat does.
Why am I gaining weight?
We don’t believe in weighing, and generally encourage Clients not to use scales. Muscle weighs more than fat, so whilst this lean muscle takes up less space in your body per pound than fat does, the scale may go up as your body fat goes down! Don’t worry, you will look leaner.
Will I plateau?
No - not if you are pushing yourself in class! The beauty of Barrecore workouts is that they are always changing and confusing the muscles. When muscles are ‘confused’ they have to work harder and more calories are burned. The key is to continue to find the shake and burn throughout class. Always push your limits and you will not plateau until you are at your leanest and strongest for your body type.
When you have been attending class for a while, your body finds a way to connect to the muscles on a deeper level, which then makes each set more intense right from the beginning. Increased understanding of the Barrecore Method leads to a deeper burn out in the muscles, making each section of the class a whole body exercise and not solely focused on one body part (e.g. thighs).
I'm injured, can I still come to class?
Barrecore classes are low impact and our instructors will constantly give modifications throughout class to help Clients that may be injured or deconditioned. Private Barre sessions will give you an idea of what to expect in class and can provide you with multiple options to support recovery and strengthen the area of your injury.