The stationary handrail commonly utilized for ballet warm-up exercises was initially for the dancers themselves. Over the past few years an exercise craze using this common dance fixture has exploded into one of the hottest workouts being added to Pilates Studios and elite fitness centers around the world. Today, Barre is toning, tightening, chiseling bodies and changing lives. The evolutionary journey of this workout is a unique story in itself.
Barre as is it commonly referred to was an exercise method developed in the late 1940’s by Lotte Berk. The famous European dancer was severely injured in a car accident that left her to rely on a wheelchair. The determined dancer rehabilitated herself by developing her own exercise method based on her formal dance training. She made a full recovery by focusing on strength and flexibility in the hips, pelvis, abdominals and lower back, commonly referred to in Pilates at the Powerhouse. With her new formulated exercise method for rehabilitation, Lotte berk began teaching her work to others out of her London studio.
In 1969, Lydia Bach a physically fit American began taking Lotte’s classes. Lydia had a hard time completing the movements but was amazed by the workout. She decided to study under Lotte for a year. Returning to the United States in 1970 Lydia purchased rights to the Lotte Berk name and technique. She combined the work with her own knowledge of dance and yoga to open the first Lotte Berk Method Studio in Manhattan. There this core focused, strengthening, cardio method which transformed bodies all in one workout was born.
Today, Barre can be found perfectly integrated with Pilates. The unique similarities of controlled movements which result in elongated muscles. The flow and precision of each exercise becomes a focus on the individuals mind body connection.
Have you tried a Barre class?
Summer is finally here and for many of us that means time for getting away. Whether you planned a family vacation, a little weekend getaways or you simply travel for work. It is always a challenge to stick with a workout schedule when you are in and out-of-town. No need to sweat, you have so many workout options available that this blog post would be very long. So here are some simple tips to get this series started. Stay tuned for more LOVA on the Go! I have ideas, tips, meal planning and some workouts to share.
WHERE ARE YOU GOING? Do a little research on your destination. Knowing what is available to you will help in planning your trip.
- Contact the hotel or facility where you will be staying. Is there a workout gym? Ask what type of equipment they have i.e., treadmill, bike, weights, etc. That way you know what to expect.
- Take your workout outside – find out if there are any public parks with hiking and running trails. If you like to bike, see if there is a bike rental close to your hotel.
- Some gyms may accommodate you if you have a membership at a participating gym. For example, if you have a Bally’s membership you may be able to utilize another Bally’s facility. Check your existing membership for information.
- Another thing about gyms and fitness centers, you may be able to get a week pass for free or for a small fee during your stay. Inquire with gyms near your hotel.
- Check out Groupon or Living Social websites for deals from your destination. You may find a classes like yoga, Pilates, barre, Zumba, bootcamps, etc. you can take at special coupon rates.
- Are there any interesting “tourist” things to do? Just seeing the sights for a day will get you exercise. If you are on a tropical beach vacation, there may be volleyball, surfing and other water sports. When I traveled to Boston, I walked everywhere including the Freedom Trail. I got my history lessons during that trip.
TIME TO PACK! Yes I know not only are there clothes, toiletries to pack but don’t forget your workout gear. Depending on where and what you have planned you need the appropriate workout clothes.
- If you plan on hiking or running you are going to need the appropriate clothes (jacket, pants, and shorts) and foot gear.
- Hitting the gym your plan you will need gym bag along with clothes and your gym membership.
- Small props travel easy. Resistant bands, light hand and ankle weights do not take up much room. A yoga mat may fit in your suitcase or bring it as a carryon in a mat bag. (You might be able to get some items in that bag too!) Even a small ball that can be blown up and deflated makes a great workout prop.
- Don’t forget your MP3 Player!!!
EATING HEALTHY…I feel this is the biggest challenge when traveling. Eating out makes it so easy to lose sight of maintaining a healthy diet. For starters, we have no idea what goes into preparing the food we order. Salt and non-healthy oils, not to mention some restaurant food is processed, so you can be consuming empty calories.
- At the restaurant, request dressing and sauces on the side for dipping your bites instead of being poured all over your food.
- Order fruit or vegetables instead of fries, pasta, etc.
- If your hotel room is equipped with a small refrigerator, make a trip to the local grocery. This will allow you to make healthy food choice and keep some money in your wallet.
These simple tips will help keep unwanted pounds off during your travels. You may even return home a little lighter. But wherever you may go I know there is always an adventure and with new adventures may come new workouts!
This intermediate exercise is a great challenge for the abdominals, especially the obliques. Similar to Roll Over but with a ‘twist’, Corkscrew is a challenge for maintaining stability in the shoulders. I strongly recommend working with the beginner steps first then progress to advanced.
From Open Leg Rocker – Bring legs together and reach arms to a high diagonal (Teaser) Roll upper body back to the mat lengthen legs up to 90 degrees
- Arms active by the sides of the body or place hands under sacrum
- Lengthen legs to the ceiling
- Beginner – Pull both legs into the Powerhouse then circle legs down and around in one direction then reverse while keeping tailbone anchored into the mat
- Intermediate - Pull both legs into the Powerhouse and lift the last 4 vertebrae off the mat. Lower with control towards one hip, circle the legs around. Repeat to reverse direction
- Advanced – Pull both legs into the Powerhouse to bring legs overhead parallel to the floor. Roll through the spine towards one hip, circle the legs around with the Powerhouse. Lift hips up and over to reverse the circle.
Corkscrew – Circle Legs Around
Pull knees into the Powerhouse
This exercise is all about control while articulating the spine to the mat while challenging the Powerhouse with asymmetrical movement. You will feel the obliques (side abs) ont this one. This is the first exercise to incorporate slight rotation of the spine. Try to keep the legs straight and hugging into the midline. Maintain shoulder stability by keeping the blades anchored to the mat towards the hips. Make sure you advance the exercise with progression. Master each variation before taking on the next challenge. As you circle the legs away from the body deeply engage the Powerhouse to stabilize the spine. Refrain from allowing the lower back to arch.
For tight hamstrings, slightly bend the knees. This exercise is not recommended for individuals with osteoporosis or other bone density conditions and is not suitable for neck issues.
Click here for the next exercise in the mat repertoire - Saw
Previous exercise – Open Leg Rocker