Barre fitness, unfortunately, has still a reputation to be a “girly” sport, designed only for women. However, more and more men are taking barre classes. Surprisingly, I was so happy to hear that professional athletes such as football and rugby players, now do barre workouts as well, breaking the stereotypes associated with ballet and men. So why is barre fitness so good for men too?
Let’s break men’s preconceived beliefs about a barre workout
- It’s like taking a dance class
It is true that several professional football players and athletes actually do take real ballet classes but barre fitness is different from ballet training.
It is a dynamic whole-body fitness workout inspired by ballet moves, mixing them with bodyweight, Yoga, and Pilates exercises. It uses core ballet techniques and adapts them to the format of a fitness class.
There is indeed a ballet barre involved… and some of the vocabulary used for the moves is still in French such as “plié” for a squat.
- I am not enough flexible
One of the main reasons why men believe they can’t do barre is that they think that they are not flexible enough to perform the stretches. They are right! However, you don’t get flexible overnight and barre fitness helps you become more flexible. The key to seeing results is consistency.
- Stretching is boring
Where is the fun in holding a certain position for 30 seconds? Well, stretching is not about having fun like playing a football game, I must admit. But over time, as you start feeling the positive changes in your body and the health benefits to your joints, you get addicted to it and start asking for more because being inflexible is too painful in the first place.
Read here “Why is stretching so important?”
- It’s too easy and not challenging enough for me
There is only one answer to this belief: just try it, at least once in your lifetime! I have read that many guys are very surprised at how hard and challenging a barre workout is.
A lot of the exercises are isolated movements that target specific muscles that are “hard-to-hit” muscles. It is an intense workout with almost no rest between exercises, a bunch of repetitions on your toes, isometric holds, and quick pulses that set your quads and calves on fire and make you shake like crazy, yet relieving joint pain.
Barre Fitness is a great addition to complement your gym workout routine. As an example, many exercises in barre target the mid-glutes and if your mid-glutes are weak while doing your squats, that’s when you injure your back.
Barre will improve all your compound moves like deadlifts. You will work out the insides of your legs which are often forgotten at the gym.
You will also learn how to engage your core, focusing more effectively on your stabilizing muscles.
- To get a good upper-body workout, you need heavy weight-lifting
If your goal is to get huge “Hulk-like” arms, yes for sure! Barre fitness does not aim at getting you to look bulky but it does challenge your arms and core, hitting all those intrinsic muscles that you don’t target at the gym and neither use in everyday life. It is a brutal arm workout that makes you feel so sore.
The shaking that you experience while trying to maintain various positions, fires up your twitching muscle fibers, causing so much discomfort and pain. However, the trembling is how your body builds strength by breaking down muscle fibers.
Read here “Why do muscles shake during a workout? is it a good thing?”
Why do footballers and other professional athletes take ballet classes?
It can never be overemphasized how important flexibility is. On a football field, it helps players catch passes, avoid defenders, and decrease their chances of getting injured.
Ballet dancers need a good balance to perform all those jumps, poses and turns.
In the same way, a great balance helps the players stay stable when opponents try to tackle them and it optimizes those leaping catches.
Targets deep ignored muscles
Practicing ballet or barre fitness strengthens muscles that are not used during traditional body training.
Ballet improves your focus. Dancers need twice the concentration to perform challenging precise movements that appear effortless and gracious. Football players can only benefit from it on the field!
Ballet is an intense aerobic “HIIT workout” that requires great stamina. Players need a lot of endurance to keep them running on the field!
Improved running Speed
Strong legs, knees, and ankles boost your running speed. A lot of exercises in ballet are done on your toes, thus reinforcing those ankles. Speed is decisive on the field!
Read here “What is ballet barre fitness?” to learn some more about this subject.
I hope you understand better now why a barre workout is super beneficial to men and athletes of all kinds. What is most interesting to me is that it highly complements any traditional gym fitness routine because it targets smaller muscle groups (deeper muscles) that are missed.
What about you? Have your preconceived opinions (if you had any) been broken? I am curious to know your thoughts on this subject, so please don’t hesitate to leave your comments below.
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