If you haven’t tried barre before, you might be mistaken in assuming it’s a dance class. But let me get one thing absolutely clear, Xtend Barre is not just a workout for dancers. People with dancing backgrounds often love Xtend Barre (myself included) but it’s a workout that can be enjoyed and sustained by anyone.
Every workout is certain to challenge you (in a good way) and get you engaging muscles in ways you’ve never felt before!
Go into your next class mindful of these key tips for your barre technique – so you can get the most out of each and every movement!
Draw your belly button in towards your spine
Every movement comes from our centre. Our core is important for stability, which our body relies on to hold a position steady. To activate your core – and give you a strong base to move from – think about drawing up your pelvic floor muscles (like you’re stopping yourself from going to the bathroom) and drawing your belly button in towards your spine.
Keep your knees over your toes
To have your knees positioned in the right place, try pulling your butt cheeks towards each other and activate your glutes to keep the knees supported. Think of your knees as pointing out over your second toes when moving into a bend.
Bring your head to the ceiling
Imagine someone pushing their knuckles just between your shoulder blades, melt open your chest, put your head on top of your body instead of in front of it, and then pull up tall. It might sound funny to put your head “on top of your body”, but we are all familiar with what it looks like to have the shoulders slouched inwards and the head coming forwards. People who sit at a desk for hours each day are especially prone to this posture. Our Xtend Barre movements can help to combat this – bringing your shoulders wide and extending your spine.
Bring your heels over your second toes
When lifting your heels, keep your heels in line with your second toes. Concentrate on pushing the heels up higher, while keeping your ankles straight.
Keep your elbows up when bringing your arms out to the side
Embrace your inner ballerina when holding your arms to the side. With your arm held to the side, try to rotate your elbow upwards rather than letting it droop down and then feel breadth out to your palm. By keeping your elbows lifted, you’ll improve your balance and get a better workout overall by working the arms from the back.
Remember to breathe
Lastly and most importantly, remember to BREATHE. Listen to your instructor, they are there to guide you through the motions. Aligning your breath with your movements is essential for good barre technique – and just like everything in barre – practice and persistence makes perfect.
Suzie Combemorel is the owner and an Instructor of Xtend Barre St Lucia. Suzie’s past international dance career saw her perform for the Moulin Rouge and the Royal Opera. She also studied Pilates in Amsterdam.