Barre is a form of modified ballet-based training that promotes efficient movement patterns and strength. Benefits include; improving posture, balance and stability alongside building strength and flexibility, resulting in a body that moves easily and efficiently through day to day life. “Trying to find a suitable workout that allows you to rebuild strength and re-establish movement safely and progressively following injury can be challenging” says Florence Penny, owner of Flow Physio London. “Barre can be beneficial for those who are recovering from an acute injury or returning to exercise following a period of pain. It’s the perfect tool to transition through recovery and beyond,” she adds.
Here are 5 reasons why Barre is uniquely placed to help you on this journey:
01. A focus on stability as well as strengthening
Stability training is just as important as strength training, it complements and enhances overall performance and functionality. In the context of injury rehabilitation, we’re looking to re-establish movement safely and avoid causing any additional muscle imbalance along the way. With a focus on core strength and postural alignment alongside joint stability, Barre workouts are uniquely placed to help avoid excessive stress on joints during movement and promote increased stability which is “crucial for performing everyday activities effectively and efficiently,” says Flo.
02. Strong to the core
A strong and engaged core creates a stable foundation for the rest of the body, allowing it to maintain proper alignment during a variety of different movements and activities.
Flo highlights the importance of core engagement during any overhead exercise where “a strong core can help maintain proper alignment of the spine, preventing excessive arching or leaning backward, which allows the shoulder muscles to function more efficiently.” Strong and effective core engagement underpin every single Barre class which consistently brings the focus back to aiming for good postural alignment and ensures your core is in the optimal position for great function, allowing you to progress and build strength safely.
03. Highlighting muscle imbalances
“A physiotherapist’s role within injury rehabilitation & also preventative assessment is to analyse a person’s movement patterns, posture and joint function through various techniques such as manual muscle testing, gait analysis and functional movement assessments to identify specific imbalances,” says Flo. “Based on these findings, physiotherapists can develop specific tailored programmes to address such imbalances,” she adds.
The collaboration between a physiotherapist and a Barre fitness instructor allows both professionals to build out a tailored programme of support for individuals recovering from injury. Barre workouts combine unilateral as well as bilateral movements to give a varied total body workout, enabling individuals to target and strengthen weak muscles while addressing tension or overactive muscles. The intentional approach alongside the slow pace of a Barre class gives you the mind and body connection you need to become aware of muscle imbalances and potential weaknesses in your body.
04. Variety in how we move
A varied workout routine is key when it comes to your recovery journey and helps to prevent muscle imbalance. We need to challenge our bodies in all sorts of ways to make sure our muscles are working together harmoniously. A workout plan that incorporates functional movements that are reflective of day to day life is really important for overall recovery. Something you’ll quickly notice about Barre classes is that generally, no two classes are ever the same. The workouts are packed with variety, constantly challenging you to move in different ways, with the slower pace and low impact nature keeping safe throughout.
05. Keeping your brain engaged: Exercise with intent
“Exercising with intent is known as the mind-to-muscle connection”, says Flo. “Slowing down your movements to feel what you’re doing fires up your neurological pathways and sends signals to your muscle fibres to contract” she adds. With such a key focus on technique, Barre workouts are an education on movement, form and alignment which in turn gives you far greater body awareness and helps you to tap into this mind-body connection. Focusing on quality movement rather than the quantity of reps gives us the chance to slow down and focus on the muscle group(s) that should be driving each movement and helps us to avoid building incorrect movement patterns.
Flo is passionate about this when it comes to injury recovery. “With conscious, intentional movement we are able to explore new movement patterns and delve into areas of tension / stiffness and instability whilst calming the nervous system”, she says.
The journey through recovery, physiotherapy and injury rehabilitation is different for everyone but there’s no doubt that the end goal is often the same; getting back to feeling independent and self-sufficient through ease of movement on a daily basis.
Nurturing Your Journey: Meet the collaborating Barre & Physiotherapy specialists
Written by Gen Greensted, founder of The Barre Coach Online Studio. Gen is a fully qualified instructor who has designed a hybrid experience combining classical Barre techniques with functional strength training, low impact cardio and yoga. She’s passionate about supporting everyone on their fitness journey and making sure Barre feels accessible to all levels. Discover more about her method here.
Commenting in this article is Florence, founder of Flow Physio London a bespoke holistic approach to Physiotherapy and Wellness Optimisation. An experienced physiotherapist with over 11 year’s experience, Florence specialises in musculoskeletal pathologies, sports injuries and chronic pain with strong relationships with top UK orthopaedic and sports medicine consultants. She prides herself on a multidisciplinary approach drawing from hand-picked specialists in their field to provide complementary skillsets that assist in someone’s overall optimisation. Florence regularly recommends The Barre Coach & Gen’s methodological approach alongside a structured physiotherapy plan. Discover more about her services based in Soho, Notting Hill & residency at Hotel Cafe Royal Regent’s Street here.