The Stories

Barre Teacher Training: 12-Time Olympic Medalist, Dara Torres Shares her Perspective

February 20, 2018

Looking to change up her fitness routine after retiring from her widely successful swimming career, and recovering from a knee cartilage transplant, Dara started taking barre classes at The Bar Method Wellesley. As you would expect with any 12-time Olympic medalist, the training took a toll on her body, and although she knew she needed to adjust her approach to fitness, she didn’t necessarily envision it would include a ballet barre and a wall full of mirrors. Dara was a self-proclaimed jock, not a graceful ballerina. It didn’t take long for her to realize the results of The Bar Method and accept that this new workout was exactly what she needed! Dara has been doing Bar Method for almost 3 years now, and loves how sustainable the method is at any age. When the opportunity came up to invest and become a studio owner, she jumped right in. As a proud co-owner of the studio it all started in, it was a natural extension for her to become a certified instructor. Dara just completed her teacher training and had this to say about her experience and how it compared to training for the Olympics.

Q: What did you learn about The Bar Method that you didn’t know before starting training?

A: I didn’t realize how intense the training was! It’s designed to teach us how to multi-task on a level I didn’t think was possible. Everything from setting up the exercise, to making verbal adjustments to students who need it while offering hands-on adjustments to those who need a little more assistance, all while describing the mechanics and benefits of each exercise to keep the clients interested and working hard.

Q: What was the most challenging aspect of training?  

A: I’d have to say learning the barre lingo and knowing the 400 page manual with all of the set-ups, benefits, anatomy and modifications for every exercise. There’s a lot we need to know about The Bar Method! I had no idea.

Q: What was the most rewarding?

A: Being able to stand up on the last day of training and getting an “excellent” from my master trainer after successfully verbally and hands-on adjusting her in specific exercises. That was a proud moment!

Q: How would you compare The Bar Method teacher training to your Olympic training?  Any similarities?  Did anything from the Olympic training help you through?

A: It’s a little different because there wasn’t much studying with training for the Olympics, it was mostly physical. I think the biggest similarity is confidence! You have to be confident when you step on that block to swim against the best swimmers in the world, and in barre you have to present with confidence as you stand up in front of a room full of clients. They are relying on me to speak clearly, give thorough set-ups and provide valuable feedback on their form. It’s my job to give them the best workout I possibly can!

Q: What were you surprised to learn about yourself during training?

A: How excited I was to learn all about barre and become the best instructor I can be for our clients. It’s no easy feat, and it’s a long process, but well worth it!

Q: Did anything from the Olympic training help you through barre teacher training?

A: I think putting in the long hours swimming helped me with the long hours it’s taking to become the best barre instructor I can be!

Q: How has your perspective changed now that you’ve completed training?

A: I had no idea what it took it to become a barre instructor. I have a much greater appreciation for what The Bar Method stands for and how hard the instructors work to become great teachers.

Q: What do you think you’ll struggle with the most as a Bar Method teacher?  

A: It’s easy for me to see who needs adjusting and why they need the adjustment to improve their form, however, I struggle with explaining it to them so they can better understand the adjustment and the method. It’s the part of my training I will have to practice the most!

Q: What do you think you’ll excel at the most?

A: Talking over the mic comes easy to me because of my experience with public speaking. I’m also comfortable giving hands-on adjustments because of all of the body work I’ve had done over the years. I’m excited to share my knowledge of the body with my students.

Q: What inspires you most when you take class?

A: I’m always inspired in class and never get bored! I love how even though it’s always a full-body workout, it’s different because of the class design and the teacher.


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