The beginners guide to Barre

The Beginners Guide to Barre Classes

Barre is an accessible and beginner-friendly form of exercise for everyone, regardless of skill or fitness level. In this blog, we’ll walk through how barre was created, basic barre movements and terms, equipment used in barre classes, the unique benefits of barre classes, and explain everything you need to know before taking your first barre class.

What is Barre?

Barre was created in the 1950s by Lotte Berk, a ballerina who, after sustaining a back injury, began combining her traditional ballet routines with rehabilitative therapy exercises. Since then, barre has developed into a popular form of full-body exercise that combines movements and positions borrowed from ballet with low-impact, repetitive strength exercises.

Understanding Basic Barre Movements & Terms

Because barre borrows movements from ballet, several terms and movements may be unfamiliar to beginners. However, no prior dance experience or knowledge is required to participate in barre—you’ll get the hang of it in no time. To get you started, here are some common barre movements and terms to know:

Common Barre Positions:

  •  First Position: Standing on the floor with your heels touching and your toes apart, forming a narrow V shape.
  •  Second Position: Standing on the floor with your feet slightly wider than shoulder distance and your toes slightly pointing on an outward diagonal (also sometimes called “wide second”).
  •  Parallel: Standing on the floor with your feet straight and facing forward (like the number 11), either together or hip-width apart.
  • Neutral Spine: A relaxed position where your back is perfectly in line from the tailbone to the spine to the neck and head, not straining in either direction.

    Common Barre Movements:

  • Pulse: A small, controlled muscle movement typically done to the beat of music. Pulses involve a small range of motion, often indicated by the phrase “up an inch, down an inch.”
  • Relevé: Taken from ballet, this instruction simply means to lift your heel(s) off the ground.
  • Point/Flex: A point means to extend your toes pointing away from your body, lengthening your leg muscles outward. The opposite of a point, a flex means to pull your toes upward toward your body, stretching your calves and hamstrings.
  • Plié: Also from ballet, a plié indicates bending the knees then straightening them again, typically with hips and feet turned outward and the heels pressed together.

Gear and Equipment Used in Barre Classes

There are two pieces of equipment unique to barre classes: a ballet-style barre often used for support during exercises and a stall barre, which is a tall piece of exercise equipment with rungs of various heights often used for stretching and corrective exercises.

While many barre movements require only your body weight, barre instructors may incorporate light hand or ankle weights, resistance bands, exercise ballers, or sliders to further challenge and tone your muscles.

The Benefits of Barre

Barre is often praised for its ability to help isolate and tone lean muscle throughout all parts of the body, including your core, glutes, arms, and thighs/legs. The use of repeated slow, small movements allows you to work these muscles in a more focused way than traditional strength training exercises and target deeper muscles that high-intensity workouts might miss.

In addition to gaining strength and toning muscles, barre exercises help to increase flexibility, build a stronger core, and improve posture and balance. This increased mobility and range of motion are not only helpful for your workouts, but for the quality of your everyday life. The low-impact movements of barre are also easier on your joints than high-impact strength training, which means quicker recovery times and a lessened chance of injury.

Like all forms of exercise, barre is beneficial for overall physical health and longevity. And because of the emphasis on the mind-body connection, barre is also known for increasing mental clarity and reducing stress through the release of endorphins.

What to Expect from Your First Barre Class

What to Wear: Women should wear a supportive sports bra with an exercise tank top or fitted shirt. We like the bra built into our tanks for barre class. We listed our favorite barre tank that we have in every color below! For bottoms, fitted capris, leggings, or exercise pants are all appropriate, but wearing shorts is discouraged.

Most barre classes require grip/sticky socks, as no shoes are worn during the class.After testing various barre socks, we’re excited to recommend the absolute best. Our tried-and-true selection ensures unparalleled stability during your barre workout, offering a secure grip that outperforms other options. Crafted with the toes cut out, these Tucketts Allegro socks have proven to be the top choice in our assessments, providing the ideal balance of comfort and functionality.

What to Bring: All of the equipment needed for your class will be provided, except barre socks and hydration.

What to Expect: While classes vary in style and length, all barre classes will focus on a variety of mobility, range of motion, and strength/toning exercises. In most classes, these exercises will be timed to the beat of music.

Barre classes often rotate through sections focusing on arms, core/abs, and lower body, repeating small isometric movements until all muscle groups are fatigued and end with a cooldown/stretching period.

Modern barre studios in Grand Rapids may offer fusion classes that combine barre with another form of exercise such as cardio barre, HIIT barre, or pilates and barre. If it’s your first time taking a barre class in Grand Rapids, consider arriving a few minutes early to get familiar with the equipment and to ask any questions about the class format to the instructor. Your barre instructor is an expert there to help you succeed and get the most out of your class.

Ready to hit the barre in GR? Schedule a barre class at Fever | Yoga Cycle Strength today.

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What Muscles Does Indoor Cycling Work?

What Muscles Does Indoor Cycling Work?

Indoor cycling is usually thought of as a cardio activity rather than a strength workout, but when done intentionally, it can provide both benefits. In fact, indoor cycling actually helps strengthen and build some of your biggest and most important muscle groups! So, what muscles does indoor cycling work?

Indoor Cycling Strengthens Your Lower Body

Because indoor cycling is mostly a lower body focused workout, most of the “burn” is felt throughout the legs in the thighs (hamstrings and quadriceps), calves, and in the glutes. These are some of the largest muscle groups in your body, and when strengthened, help to improve your overall health and physique.

The higher the resistance on your bike, the more strain you will feel on the muscles in your legs when seated. Rising up into a standing position (“out of the saddle”) and hinging your body forward while indoor cycling is particularly effective in targeting your gluteus muscles.

Selecting the right indoor cycling shoes is a game-changer for your workout routine. Experience heightened comfort and reduce the risk of injury with well-fitted shoes that provide optimal foot support during intense cycling sessions. Clipping into the pedals with our recommended indoor cycling shoes not only enhances power transfer and efficiency but also ensures a smoother ride, amplifying the benefits of your workout. Elevate your cycling experience by upgrading to gear that prioritizes comfort, efficiency, and overall enjoyment of your indoor rides. Click the image below to purchase our recommended brand.

Indoor Cycling is Great for Your Core

Your core is the key to proper form when indoor cycling. A strong core will help ensure that your body stays in the correct upright position both in and out of the saddle—leaning forward toward the handlebars, but without any strain on your back or weight in your arms. As you strengthen your core, you’ll notice increased stability and strength in all of your workouts and routine daily activities.

Indoor Cycling Build Strength in the Arms

When practicing proper form on your bike, there should be little to no strain on your arms. However, some indoor cycling classes will incorporate your upper body into the workout through bodyweight push-ups on the bike or through the use of added dumbbells or a weighted bar.

Indoor Cycling Works Your Heart and Lungs

Your heart is arguably the most valuable muscle you can develop. All forms of cardio exercise, like indoor cycling, help to increase the output capacity of your heart as well as the ability of your heart and lungs to consume oxygen (called your VO2 max). And improving the health of your heart and lungs is vital to overall health and quality of life.

It’s clear that indoor cycling provides numerous benefits for your body, both in stamina and strength. Are you ready to get started building muscles in a fun and approachable way? Schedule your first spin class at Yoga Fever.

Is 30 minutes of indoor cycling enough?

Is 30 Minutes of Indoor Cycling Enough?

Indoor cycling classes often range from 30 to 45 or even 60 minutes. You may see a 30 minute class and think: is 30 minutes of indoor cycling really enough to lose weight and be an effective work out?

 

The Ideal Length for Indoor Cycling

 

Leading health organizations recommend that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, every week. That means we should be getting around 20 minutes of moderate-intensity physical exercise 7 days a week, or around 30 minutes 5 days a week.

 

Depending on the class and your personal output, indoor cycling could fall in either the moderate-intensity or vigorous-intensity activity category, which means 30 minutes is actually a great length for your daily workout.

 

Your calories burned during a 30 minute indoor cycling class will vary based on a variety of factors, including your weight, age, gender, and as mentioned, the intensity of your workout. As a general reference, though, average riders report 250-400 calories burned in one 30 minute class.

 

Over time, you may notice that as your stamina and endurance increase, and that your 30 minutes of indoor cycling is no longer physically challenging. If that occurs, try bumping up your cycling sessions to 45 or 60 minutes!

 

Maximizing Your 30 Minute Indoor Cycling Workout

 

It’s important to focus on the quality, rather than just the quantity, of your workout. So, when taking a 30 minute indoor cycling class, focus on giving your maximum effort from start to finish. Giving your best and challenging yourself to push for the full 30 minutes will ensure optimal results, but do be careful not to overexert yourself to the point of harm or injury. Take rest and water breaks when needed.

 

Whether it’s for 15, 30, or 60 minutes, indoor cycling is a great way to build your strength, increase your stamina, burn calories, and release those feel-good endorphins.

 

Schedule an indoor cycling class at YogaFever | Yoga Cycle Strength today!

Best Cardio Exercises

The Best Cardio Exercises

It’s no secret that regular cardiovascular (cardio) exercise is one of the keys to a healthy heart—and when it comes to different forms of cardio, the benefits and options are endless! While all forms of cardio are beneficial to your overall health, here are some of our personal favorites.

Indoor Cycling (Spinning)

Indoor cycling has gained some serious hype in the past few years (we see you, Peloton and SoulCycle) and it’s not hard to understand why. Indoor cycling classes are usually fast-paced and high-energy, getting your heart rate up and your endorphins pumping with each spin. It’s also a great workout for those who need a more low-impact form of cardio—cycling is easy on your joints while still targeting your legs and glutes (some classes may incorporate arms as well). Like all cardio exercises, indoor cycling can help lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and combat high cholesterol. With a great instructor to guide you and some hype music to keep you motivated, indoor cycling can feel more like a party than a workout!

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a general term used for workouts with short periods of intense exertion followed by recovery periods (40 seconds of work with 20 seconds of rest, 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest, etc.) The actual exercises done within this format vary from running to jumping rope to cycling to bodyweight exercises (burpees, jumping jacks, etc.), with the expectation that work periods are intense.

HIIT is an especially effective form of cardio exercise because it produces similar results in improving aerobic capacity (ability to use oxygen well) in a much shorter amount of time than other forms of exercise. HIIT has also been found beneficial in reducing heart rate, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar (hello, healthier heart!). HIIT typically burns more calories per minute than most other exercises and increases your metabolism even after the workout is complete, so it can be a great form of exercise to incorporate in a weight loss journey.

Circuit Training

Circuit training describes a workout format of cycling through multiple exercises targeting different muscle groups in a pattern without much rest in between. These exercises are often a mix of cardio and strength training, making it a great full-body option and the perfect routine for those with minimal time or a shorter attention span. Like HIIT, circuit training is known to boost your metabolism and increase fat burn. By pumping up your heart rate and targeting a wide range of muscle groups, you challenge your whole body and burn major calories in the process. All of that red-faced, heavy-breathing work contributes to a healthier heart and a healthier you!

 

Ready to start trying out these heart-healthy forms of cardio? Join us for a class: https://feverycs.com/classes/cardio/

Benefits of Cardio Exercise

Benefits of Cardio Exercise

Cardiovascular exercise (“cardio”), or aerobic exercise, is fundamental for health and overall well being. Aerobic just means “with oxygen,” so any exercise that gets your body moving and your breath heavy can be cardio exercise. These exercises that increase our heart rate help to increase our aerobic capacity (how well we can use our oxygen) and offer numerous benefits for our heart and overall physical health. Let’s explore what these benefits are and see why cardio is so important.

Benefits of Cardio Exercise

You might gather this from the name, but yes, regular cardiovascular exercise improves overall cardiovascular health! This helps to reduce risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Regular physical activity also helps regulate blood sugar and strengthens our immune system.

Cardio exercise is often associated with weight loss, and it’s true that the blood-pumping, heart-racing, heavy-breathing state burns serious calories. Compared to most other forms of exercise (like weight lifting, yoga, or pilates), cardio does burn more calories per session. And unless you’re doing vigorous high-impact workouts, cardio doesn’t require the same recovery period as strength training or weight lifting, so it can be incorporated into your daily routine with ease. When paired with a healthy diet, frequent cardio exercise can be a great strategy for losing weight in a healthy way.

Cardio isn’t just good for your heart—it’s also great for your mind. Cardio exercise sends endorphins to your brain that will leave you feeling happier (think “runner’s high”) and reduce stress, leading to increased energy during the day and more restful sleep at night. Regular cardio can even improve memory capacity and help fight against the loss of brain tissue that comes with aging.

Examples of Cardio Exercise

Convinced yet? If you’re ready to start incorporating cardio into your routine, the good news is that most forms of cardio are simple and free. Examples of cardio exercise include:

  • Brisk walking or running
  • Swimming
  • Indoor cycling and outdoor bike riding
  • HIIT or high intensity interval training
  • Elliptical or stair climber
  • Jumping rope
  • Dancing
  • Sports such as soccer, volleyball, basketball, etc.

Because the key to a healthy routine is long-term sustainability, be open to experimenting with various forms of cardio exercise until you find an activity that you truly enjoy (dance party, anyone?).

If you’re ready to experience the physical and mental benefits of cardio exercise, join us for an indoor cycling class: yogafevergr.com/classes/schedule/

What is Cross-Training?

What is Cross-Training?

What is Cross-Training?

Once you find a style of workout you enjoy, it’s easy to get stuck in a routine. Other forms of exercise might seem difficult or intimidating, so you avoid them altogether and stick to what you know. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with focusing on one form of exercise, you might be missing out on potential results and the opportunity to increase your overall strength. Cross-training is one way you can keep achieving results and avoid getting in a rut.

Understanding Cross-Training

Put simply, cross-training means practicing a different form of exercise than your typical routine, or regularly incorporating a variety of workouts that target different muscle groups. The purpose of cross-training is to improve your fitness and performance by increasing your overall strength and fill in any gaps or shortcomings created by your typical form of exercise.

Although any exercise is good exercise, being intentional about the type of cross-training you choose can help you achieve your goals and build strength in specific areas you want to improve. For example, a runner might swap out one run a week for a 30 minute HIIT, or add an indoor cycling class to their weekly routine to increase their endurance. Someone who practices yoga frequently might benefit from adding in strength-training sessions to build their overall muscle, flexibility, and core strength.

Benefits of Cross-Training

In addition to helping you build strength, one of the main benefits of cross-training is avoiding mental boredom and burnout. No matter how much you love your yoga sessions or your cycling class, you may find yourself feeling complacent and seeing slower results if you focus all your energy on one type of exercise. Trying different types of workouts might be the boost you need, challenging your mind and body to stay engaged and achieve new goals.

Incorporating different workouts in your routine will not only help you keep things interesting, but it will also help you avoid injury from over-exertion. Cross-training allows certain muscles to rest and recover while you focus on others, and will even allow you to continue training if you do experience injury in one muscle group.

Focusing on full-body conditioning will give you a higher level of strength in whatever workout you choose to do and improves your overall endurance, agility, and balance. Switching up your workouts also keeps your body from getting too well-adjusted to your routine and will help you continue to see results over time.

This week, challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone and incorporate cross-training into your routine. The options are endless:Feverycs.com