barre-bar method-young woman in bikini

The 4 Best Barre Exercises to Sculpt a Bikini Body

One of the most attractive things for a woman to wear is confidence. There’s nothing more confident than a strong, graceful woman rocking a great suit on the beach or at the pool. Barre class is one of the best workouts to sculpt a bikini body and these 4 Bar Method exercises are the best of the best! All of these exercises work multiple muscle groups in your body, as well as your core, resulting in a more efficient and full-body workout. This will ensure you feel and look good next time you slip on your suit!

1. “U-shaped bent elbow lifts” to tone your back and shoulders

barre-bar method-shoulder exercise

Taking time to train your back and shoulders will leave you looking taller and leaner. When your posture improves, so does the shape of your body. U-shaped bent elbow lifts sculpt your arms, shoulders, and back muscles in one fell swoop. This exercise also teaches you to work from your center and engage your core for more stability. You’ll feel the burn immediately and see the results quickly!

  • Pick up a set of 2-4 lb weights
  • Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and raise your arms to shoulder height
  • Draw your weights out & down in an arching motion to behind your waist while maintaining the 90 degree bend in your arms
  • Reverse the direction back to shoulder height
  • Continue for 2-3 minutes

2. “Pretzel” to carve your waistline and glutes

barre-bar method-glutes exercise

 

Most of us fall into two categories: 1. We love our backside or 2. We hate our backside. If you fall into category two, it’s time to bring sexy back with our favorite booty lifter – pretzel! Pretzel is the triple threat! It carves your glutes, tones your hamstrings, and whittles your waist. So, go ahead and buy the Brazilian cut bottoms because less is more on the beach!

  • Sit down and place one leg in front of you at a 90 degree angle and the other leg behind you at a 90 degree angle
  • Place your supporting hand in line with your front knee
  • Lean your torso away from the working side at a 45 degree angle
  • Slide your back leg in line with your hip until it locks in place. Press your hips forward
  • Using your glutes, lift your working leg off the floor
  • Lift 20 times & press back 20 times using your glutes. Repeat 3 times

3. “Narrow V” thigh work to narrow your thighs

barre-bar method-quadriceps-thigh exercise

 

Working your thighs on a regular basis is required to feel and look good in your bathing suit. Narrow V thigh work is great for narrowing and elongating the look of your thighs. Not only that, but it spikes your heart rate and works your core muscles. You will experience a full-body burn that will make you want to ditch your cover-up next time you take a stroll down the beach.

  • Press your heels together and open the balls of your feet 2-3 inches apart into a narrow v shape.
  • Raise your heels about an inch off the floor, and bend your knees and come down to your lowest point.
  • Relax your glutes and calves.
  • Move down an inch, up an inch by bending your knees. Do 10 reps slow and 20 reps at pulse speed. Repeat 3 times

4. “Low curl” to define your six-pack abs

barre-barmethod-abdominal exercise- six pack abs

 

There’s no denying that your abdominals are on display in a bikini. Having toned, flat abs will surely make you feel more confident on the beach. The Bar Method incorporates several great abdominal exercises, however low curl is one of the most well-rounded targeting all four main abdominal muscles. You can either hold the position and breathe, or add little isometric curls for a deeper burn! Let go from the backs of your thighs for more of a challenge and you’ll aerobically burn away the fat calories!

  • Come down onto your elbows (on a yoga mat or soft surface)
  • Grip your glutes and anchor your low back down
  • Hold onto the back of your thighs and bend your elbows to the side
  • Lift both feet off the floor to a tabletop position
  • Use your biceps to bend forward as much as you can
  • Do 10 curls slow and 20 fast. Repeat 3 times

 

Now that your body is ready for the bikini, treat yourself to a new suit from one of our favorite brands below:

https://marysiaswim.com/

Marysia is high fashion swim, bikinis and resort wear for women and children. Designed in LA, the fashion forward collection is stylish and chic.

https://us.zimmermannwear.com/explore/swim-resort/

No one does beachwear better than Australian brand Zimmermann. When you need some fun in the sun, reach for the creative offerings dreamt up by the Zimmermann sisters. From cut-out one-piece swimsuits to printed string bikinis, there’s a style to suit every body shape out there, so there’s no excuse not to book that next vacation in the sun.

https://www.tavik.com/womens/swimwear

Beach born and city raised, TAVIK’s swimwear features eye-catching silhouettes, patterns and colors perfect for any occasion.

http://mi-ola.com/

Mi Ola are sexy bikinis that stay on! Whether you surf, swim or paddle, you don’t have to worry about your suit moving around on you when you wear Mi Ola.

https://www.acaciaswimwear.com/

The perfect low-cut Italian bikini and the classic Brazilian fit. Acacia mixes effortless femininity with sophistication.

https://www.lspace.com/

A sun-kissed California lifestyle brand whose love of the seaside drives them daily. L-Space designs focus on that chic, yet unfussy coastal – cool lifestyle, making waves on and off the beach.

https://www.vixpaulahermanny.com/

Designed for women who appreciate beauty, quality and attention to detail, ViX combines the bold sexiness of Brasil with the coastal allure of California. Vibrant colors along with unexpected details, collide with charming prints and solids to create swim, resortwear and accessories that celebrate the sensuality of a woman’s body.

https://www.jcrew.com/c/womens_category/swim2

Classic look, reversible styles and dependable quality are what make J. Crew the go-to swimwear brand this summer and every summer.

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barre-barmethod-mens workout

Is Barre for Men?

Let’s face it, men and women are not built the same. They have varying strengths and weaknesses and generally choose to workout in very different ways. When asked what their go-to workout of choice is, most men don’t typically mention barre class. In fact, most men have an aversion to such a workout because of their preconceived notion that it’s a ballet class “for women” and not designed for a man’s body.

The truth is, there are some incredible benefits of barre for men that might surprise and even encourage you to invite your male counterpart to the barre for a workout.

1. It’s Adaptable:

The Bar Method is based on physical therapy and uses special equipment in its classes to make it adaptable for students with physical limitations and injuries. There are lower barres (stall bars) for students with tight hamstrings, straps to assist in the active stretches, and risers for back support during the abdominal exercises.

2. It’s Non-Impact:

Men love sports and unfortunately, most sports are not so gentle on the joints. As we age, it becomes especially important to choose non-impact workouts that are sustainable, safe, and effective. The Bar Method pays special attention to joint safety and alignment while packing a powerful punch to the muscle groups most responsible for change.

3. Improves Core Strength:

A man’s center of gravity is his chest and shoulders, making it easy for him to “muscle through” upper body exercises, like push-ups. However, The Bar Method teaches students to engage core muscles along with arms, chest and shoulders to become more powerful and controlled during those exercises.

4. Enhances Endurance:

Getting through a barre class from start to finish is similar to running a race; it starts with a warm-up, moves into an endurance round, and finishes with a sprint. The analogy can also be made within each of the individual exercises in class, therefore making it an excellent cross-training activity to improve stamina and endurance for his favorite sports and activities.

5. Improves Flexibility:

Most men have tight, stiff bodies. And most are not stretching enough. Stretching can be boring and tedious when forced into it, which is why most of us don’t do it. But it’s so important in warding off injury. The Bar Method weaves in active and passive stretches throughout the hour-long class making it easier to loosen up tight muscles and improve flexibility little by little and without even realizing it. Most men feel the “shake” right away as their tight hamstrings create resistance for their quads.

6. Relieves Back Pain:

Men (and many women) are no strangers to back pain. Whether we’re very active or not at all, back pain can creep in and disrupt our quality of life. It usually stems from strains, sprains, and spasms in the back muscles caused by stress and muscle tightness. The Bar Method helps with this problem by strengthening students’ cores, stretching the muscles in their backs and legs, and improving their alignment and body mechanics.

 

Share this article with the men in your life and encourage them to give barre class a try for something different and challenging. It might just be the perfect cross-training for him. Not to mention, it doesn’t hurt to be surrounded by beautiful, strong, confident women!

barre-barmethod-stretch

4 Ways Barre Class Improves Your Inner Strength

Anyone who’s taken a barre class knows that carving your quads and lifting your seat are only part of the story. The unspoken truth is that The Bar Method puts your inner strength to the test just as much as your physical strength. Each time you take class you are encouraged to tap into your “inner super-hero” to get through the difficult, and at times uncomfortable, moments in class. Instructors and fellow students motivate you to stick with it no matter what. But where does our inner super-hero get the strength and how does The Bar Method contribute to that?

4 ways barre class improves your inner strength:

1. Requires focus & attention:

The Bar Method is not one of those workouts you can just show up to half asleep, with the exception of the early morning classes, in which case we understand you might be a little groggy through the warm-up. Nevertheless, barre workouts demand a high level of concentration and attention to detail that ultimately strengthens your mental muscles as much as your physical body. This type of focus clears your mind and prepares you for the many challenges you will face in your day, week, month and year!

2. Improves trust:

You learn to let go of control and trust your instructor in a barre class. In the beginning, the exercises and stretches are unfamiliar to us. It becomes crucial to allow yourself to be guided by the instructor, and supported by your fellow students. The moment you realize your barre family wants to see you soar, your inner super-hero won’t be able to hold herself back!

3. Releases your potential:

Taking barre class has a brilliant way of fanning the fire inside of you. It is a strong force and was created to rekindle itself under pressure. The challenges presented to you in barre class reinforce your mental and physical core, making you more prepared to conquer whatever you set your mind to.

4. Builds confidence:

When you start to see the changes in your body from taking regular barre classes — sculpted arms, flat abs and lifted seat — you feel good about yourself and your capabilities.  And you begin to realize you are authorized to initiate change in other aspects of your life; with that comes great confidence and liberty. Not only does your physical body look more toned, tapered and strong; your inner super-hero feels more empowered and invincible.

 

Show off your inner strength with this cute new tank from our online store. Use promo code: INNERSTRENGTH to get 20% off until June 15th!inner strength womens tank-barre-barmethod

Now, next time you take class focus more on the benefits and less on the burn and admire how strong you truly are, from the inside out!

How has The Bar Method helped you develop your inner strength? Leave us a comment below!

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barre-barmethod-prenatal workout-pregnant woman exercising

4 Tips on How to Make The Most of Your Barre Workout While Pregnant

We are celebrating Mom’s all month long in May, and that includes moms-to-be!  In recent years, as the guidelines for exercise and pregnancy have changed from “rest as much as possible” to “stay active and continue to exercise,” barre has become the workout of choice for women while pregnant. The focused and controlled nature of The Bar Method workout along with the non-impact and isometric moves make it ideal for students with a baby-on-board.

The majority of classes at our 100+ studios across the country (and Canada) are suitable for all mixed levels, including prenatal students. The Bar Method is safe and effective. It will prepare you physically and mentally for labor and delivery. Not to mention, you can count on your strong barre-body to bounce back quicker and more toned than it was pre-baby.

Follow these tips to make the most of your barre workout while pregnant:

1. Consult with your physician

It’s always recommended to consult with your physician before working out when pregnant (even though it’s generally encouraged!). Typically, if you were physically active before you were pregnant, it is likely safe to remain active during pregnancy. More than likely, your doctor will tell you to remain active, as long as it is comfortable and there are no other health conditions or contraindications.

2. Learn your modifications

The Bar Method was developed under the guidance of physical therapists to create a non-impact, safe, and effective workout for all ages, body types, and experience levels. We continue to consult with our team of physical therapists on a regular basis to edit and evolve the method as the needs and desires of our clients change. We suggest the following modifications for our prenatal students starting at 20 weeks.

  • Stretches: The increase in certain hormones released during pregnancy makes you more flexible. Enjoy your newfound flexibility, but be mindful not to push yourself beyond a safe range of motion. We advise against taking the split option or performing twist stretches from your waist after 20 weeks. Your instructor will walk you through the best stretches for your level.
  • Seat Exercises: Post 20-weeks your uterus becomes heavier and in some cases can put additional strain on your back. For this reason, we modify your position when working your glutes to keep your back on a diagonal or upright. This will allow you to maximize your effort on your glutes and minimize the discomfort for your back.
  • Risers for back support:  Pregnant students post 20 weeks do round back and abdominal work with three to four risers under their regular mat to tilt their pelvis slightly forward and support proper blood flow. The amount of risers a student needs will depend on the size of her belly. Without this important equipment, the heavier uterus could likely fall back toward the spine and puts additional pressure on the aorta and vena cava. This causes blood to pump down to the lower extremities and away from the brain and heart, causing a pregnant woman to become faint. Secondly, it can cause terrible calf and uterine cramping if the blood back ups in the lower extremities. Therefore, it’s very important to work with proper back positioning in these exercises.
  • Abdominal Exercises: Abdominal exercises during pregnancy are not only safe, they are encouraged. Once your back is properly supported with risers, as stated above, there is no reason you can’t do The Bar method curls. We suggest keeping your feet down during all of your abdominal work to ensure your pelvis stays tilted in the proper position. Listen to your body and do as much as is comfortable for you. If the curls become too much, you can simply hold the position and focus on your breathing to strengthen your abdominal wall in preparation for labor.

3. Listen to your body

One of the best qualities of The Bar Method is it’s warm, supportive community. The studio environment is non-competitive and non-judgmental. Everyone is working together with the same goals: to be stronger, more flexible, and ultimately the best version of themselves. Listen to your body when you take class. Allow yourself to take the options when you’re feeling strong and don’t be afraid to pull back when you’re feeling weighed down. After all, you are working for two and you should be applauded for showing up and giving it your best. Regardless of whether you do all three sets of thigh without resetting or finish that second round of push-ups without stopping, you are inspiring those around you without even knowing it. Each day will be different and your body will communicate that to you!

4. Center your mind

Most Bar Method classes are one hour long, with the exception of our newest class format “Bar Express” which is 45 minutes. Take advantage of this time to practice your deep breathing and deep focus in class. You know once you have your baby, you won’t get this time back. Don’t let it go to waste…use this time in your barre class to disconnect for one hour so you can connect more deeply when your newborn arrives.

We would love to hear about how The Bar Method treated you during your pregnancy.  Leave a comment to let us know!

 

barre-barmethod-barre fitness

IS THE BAR METHOD “BARRE FITNESS?”

Fitness-June-Cover-242x334An editor at a national fitness magazine contacted our office a few weeks ago to ask if I’d contribute to an upcoming article. Usually, I’m delighted when the press calls, but this time, the subject of the article gave me pause. “Would I write a piece about the benefits of barre fitness workouts?” the editor asked. Her question presupposed that barre fitness workouts share the same benefits and that as creator of The Bar Method I would be a good person to speak about them. The truth is, I am not an expert on barre fitness workouts, not having taken more than a few of them, and do not consider myself qualified to talk about their benefits. I understood where the editor was coming from, but I turned her down.

Now if she’d asked me to talk specifically about The Bar Method, I would have felt confident about giving her this list of its benefits:

  • The Bar Method adheres to the principles of exercise physiology and was designed under the guidance of physical therapists. It is thereby safe for the joints and highly efficient at changing the body.
  • Blog on barre fitness 4 editIts workout is mindful. Students experience a heightened mental focus during the class, which helps them to precisely target muscles and gives them increased self-confidence and well-being.
  • Its technique places a special emphasis on posture and good alignment.
  • Its students are multi-generational. The class gives both 20-year-olds and 70-year olds a challenging, result-oriented workout.
  • Its teachers receive among the best training and ongoing guidance in the fitness industry.
  • Its teaching is consistent across all of its studios.
  • Blog on barre fitness 3 editIts studios are beautiful and comfortable environments.
  • Its desk and teaching staff are welcoming and supportive.
  • Its student communities are closely bonded and passionate about The Bar Method workout.
  • Its studio owners are all teachers themselves and serve as mentors and guides for their own teachers, a system that sustains an overall high quality of teaching throughout The Bar Method.
  • Its brand continues to introduce new and innovative Bar Method workouts.

Are these Bar Method benefits also “barre fitness” benefits? I have no evidence that they are. Our students rarely mention the bar (or “barre”) when they tell us why they love The Bar Method. They talk about the results, the quality experience and the supportive community. Take, for example, the students’ comments in this three-minute video recently posted by our Seattle studio, which I admired and share with you here:Seattle video shot edit

All considered, barre fitness may not even be the best classification for The Bar Method. It might be a better fit in an upcoming fitness group called “studio workouts,” a collection of service-focused brands that has gained a reputation for giving its students personal attention, community, results, and a well-honed, well delivered experience. But then, where else but from The Bar Method can students achieve supremely sculpted arms, beautiful posture and increased flexibility? With so many benefits to be gained from taking its class, it may simply be the best workout in any category, bar none 🙂

If the thought of helping people change their lives from the outside in resonates with you and the thought of creating a community where people feel welcomed and encouraged inspires you, then you might be just who we are looking for.   Email us at franchising@barmethodhq.com or fill out our online inquiry form to find out just what it takes to be a Bar Method studio owner!

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