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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How indoor cycling benefits your mental + physical health

How indoor cycling benefits your physical and mental health

Indoor cycling studios are quickly taking the fitness world by storm. While there are plenty of ways to get your workout these days, spinning stands out as one of the best. Stationary spin bikes allow you to focus on what’s happening in your workout. Your speed and resistance help you build muscle through strength training while weights and choreography make it a full body workout. The benefits of indoor cycling aren’t just physical either. Making spin class a part of your regular fitness routine can have a positive impact on your mental health as well.

If you are looking to step up your cardiovascular health and take care of your bones and joints look no further than your local indoor cycling studio. A typical spin class will combine resistance training and speed intervals with choreography intended to give you an intense full body workout that can burn anywhere from 300-600+ calories in one class. In addition to the benefits of combining cardio and strength training, it’s easy on the knees. Cycling uses repetitive low impact motions that can help strengthen bones and keep joints lubricated which can help you avoid future damage, while also being a great option for individuals recovering from previous injuries. Research has shown that regular cardio exercise can boost your natural energy levels, increase endurance and improve your oxygen uptake which means more oxygen, blood and nutrients are flowing to your muscles. Cycling is an excellent low impact workout with maximum results.

Investing in the right indoor cycling shoes can significantly enhance your workout experience. Proper gear, like well-fitted shoes, ensures optimal foot support, reducing the risk of discomfort or injury during intense cycling sessions. When you clip into the pedals with recommended indoor cycling shoes, you gain improved power transfer and efficiency, allowing for a smoother ride and maximizing the benefits of your workout. Upgrade your gear for a more comfortable, efficient, and enjoyable indoor cycling experience. We recommend Shimano indoor cycling shoes with Spd clip ins for the best ride.

In addition to the physical benefits of spinning, you will likely begin to see an improvement in your mental health as well with regular spin classes. Cardio exercises release endorphins, also known as happy hormones that help to lower stress and cortisol levels. These endorphins can also help relieve the physical symptoms of anxiety. Indoor cycling workouts can increase your focus and mental clarity as well as improving your rest and sleep habits. If you are struggling to pick up a new workout routine, it is important to find exercise you can enjoy doing so that making it a part of your day becomes fun. Taking classes at your local cycling studio allows you to meet and join a community of people who have similar interests and meet new friends.

Our favorite part of spin classes? The high energy music that keeps you going! Indoor cycling is gaining in popularity and for good reason. Combining a calorie scorching cardio workout with resistance and strength training, indoor cycling builds lean muscles, boosts energy and keeps your bones and joints healthy. Not to mention improved focus, less stress and better sleep. If you haven’t given spinning a try yet, join us for a class and see what you’ve been missing! 

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barre vs strength training: which is best for your workout?

Barre vs. Strength Training: What is Best for Your Workout? 

The vast array of fitness classes and workout options available today can be both exciting and, let’s face it, overwhelming. With so many styles to choose from, it can be difficult to know what workouts best suit our lifestyle and will benefit us most in the long run. 

In this blog, we’ll unpack the basics of two popular workouts, barre and strength training, discuss the unique benefits of each workout, and explain what workout is best for your fitness goals.

Understanding Barre vs. Strength Training 

Barre is a form of full-body exercise that combines movements and positions borrowed from ballet with low-impact, repetitive strength exercises, designed to isolate and strengthen muscles. Barre classes often rotate through sections focusing on arms, core/abs, and lower body, repeating small, isometric movements targeting one muscle area until all muscles are fatigued. While barre can be done without equipment, classes typically incorporate a ballet barre and light weights, resistance bands, sliders, and/or exercise balls.

In our years of experience, barre at home can be just as effective if you have a portable barre system and the right guide. We encourage our home fitness folks to try the Booty Kicker for home barre success. It’s compact enough to slip into the closet, is sturdy (that’s a big one) and has slats at the bottom for free weights. 

Strength training (also known as resistance training) is a form of exercise focused on gaining muscle mass, building strength, and increasing endurance. Strength training encompasses a wide variety of exercises, using body weight or equipment, with a focus on building muscle mass in all major muscle groups. Bodyweight exercises like lunges, squats, push-ups, and planks are examples of strength training, as are movements that incorporate weights and resistance machines. 

For at home or in studio strength training, we prefer SPRI dumbbells lined in vinyl. If the weights are not protected, they will start to peel and shed rather quickly. You can purchase a range of sizes (recommended) to gain gradually and safely. If you’re new to strength training, start with a low weight of 2 or 3 pounds. After curling a few reps, those light weights will feel much heavier. Continue to progress to heavier weights until you meet your new “edge” and comfortability.

The Benefits of Barre 

Barre offers a full body workout, toning your core, glutes, arms, and thighs/legs. Due to its use of small, isometric movements, barre often targets the deeper muscles in the body that are missed in other workouts. And, because barre is low-impact and easy on joints and muscles, there is a decreased chance of injury and recovery is often faster than higher-intensity workouts. 

Barre classes focus on both strength and flexibility, often incorporating stretching and lengthening exercises throughout. These exercises contribute to increased mobility and range of motion that are beneficial in everyday life and lead to better posture and balance, as well. 

The mind-body connection and focus required for barre classes help reduce stress and increase mental clarity—not to mention the feel-good endorphins that come after. 

The Benefits of Strength Training 

The most obvious benefit of strength training is an overall increase in muscle mass and a toned physique. However, strength training also helps build bone density, joint flexibility, and balance—all of which lead to a higher quality of life and a lower risk of injury overall. 

Strength training may also be an ideal form of exercise for those pursuing fat loss, as increased muscle mass leads to a higher resting metabolic rate. This means that your body consistently burns more calories when at rest, rather than just during your workout. 

Alongside its physical benefits, consistent strength training also contributes to overall health and longevity, better sleep, and mental clarity. 

Barre vs. Strength Training: What is Best for Your Workout? 

The simple answer is that both exercises can be extremely beneficial for your overall health and what workout is “best” will depend on your unique fitness goals and preferences. 

We recommend incorporating a combination of barre, strength training, and other exercises into your routine to increase your overall strength and help you avoid injury, mental boredom, and burnout. Switching up your workouts will continue to challenge your body and help you see more consistent results over time. 

However, when it comes to exercise, it’s also important to do what you love—if a barre class gets you excited to wake up in the morning, do that! If a strength training plan helps you unwind after a long day, do that! Prioritizing the forms of exercise that you 

enjoy the most will ensure you stay consistent over time and see exercise as a gift to your body and mind, not a punishment. 

Whether it’s a strength class, a barre class, or one of our fusion options, Fever would love to be a part of your fitness journey. Schedule a class today. 

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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