As you scroll through the list of exercise classes at your local gym, you’re bound to find some which promote hardcore calorie burn, and others which offer stretch, strength or deep relaxation.
You’re less likely to find one claiming to improve your love life or bring a saucy sparkle to your eye.
Yet the whisper in changing rooms at gyms up and down the country is that one class is secretly doing precisely that. It’s rarely openly discussed, but it seems ‘barre’, one of Britain’s fastest-growing fitness trends, is enjoying a huge surge of popularity — and not just because of its toning effect on thighs and shoulders.
Whether you opt for ‘booty barre’, ‘core fusion barre’, ‘Barrecore’ or ‘barre3’, you’ll do a sequence of strenuous ballet-style moves to pumping music. For much of the class you’ll have one or both hands resting on a ballet barre, and you will be told to make tiny repeated movements until your legs or arms start to shake.
It might look and feel like any other exercise, but every move is underpinned by a focus on building and maintaining ‘core strength’. This is the small, deep-seated network of muscles which wrap around the base of your spine and the organs in your abdomen, and, significantly, include the muscles of the pelvic floor.
Pregnancy and childbirth will typically give these muscles a battering and pelvic floor strength is known to nosedive at menopause, as diminishing hormone levels cause the muscles to weaken.
Niki Rein, founder of the ‘Barrecore’ method, says: ‘Barrecore workouts are a fantastic way to strengthen the pelvic floor. Nearly every signature posture begins by contracting this core muscle group.’ And she admits it can have a positive impact on your love life.
Interestingly, barre’s origins are deeply sexual. Its creator, Lotte Berk, was a free-love revolutionary who began teaching it in the U.S. in 1959. She invented the workout to help her recover from a back injury, but found the ballet moves, rehab exercises and yoga combined for a liberating atmosphere in her bedroom.
In those pre-Pill years, her message was nothing if not racy. At the time, Cosmopolitan Magazine pitched the workout as the best way to ‘build sexual confidence and competence’.And the fringe benefits are no different now. At regular intervals throughout a class, you are instructed to ‘engage your core’ with a conscious lifting and squeezing of the pelvic floor muscles. Plies or squats will be peppered with ‘pelvic squeezes’.
Lotte Berk didn’t pull any punches. She gave her barre exercises names like ‘The Prostitute’ and ‘Naughty Bottoms’. One was simply called ‘The Sex’. Devotees could even — allegedly — hope to achieve a ‘coregasm’ (an ‘exercise-induced orgasm’).
The small repeated actions are disarmingly exhausting and it can leave these little-used muscles in and around the pelvis burning. Most class members collapse in agony (and laughter) afterwards. There is clearly something special about an exercise class that also reaps dividends in the bedroom. And who is going to argue with that?
This is a write up by Daily Mail. Read the full article here.
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