Wellness

Ask A Fitness Expert: Brinn Strange

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There is a new kind of bar sweeping the nation, but instead of cushy lounge chairs and fruity libations, you’ll find a full body workout paired with high intensity music. Brinn Strange, owner of Gainesville’s Barre Forte, breaks down the barre workout and shows us how the barre is still a place to gather with friends for a fun time.

Brinn Strange, owner of Gainesville’s Barre Forte, breaks down the barre workout and shows us how the barre is still a place to gather with friends for a fun time.

VJ: What are barre workouts, and what makes them so effective?

BS: The creator of the barre workout was a dancer who, while recovering from an injury, decided to blend her ballet strengthening moves with physical therapy, as a result, the format requires no-impact on one’s joints and is appropriate for nearly all fitness levels. The barre classes offered at Barre Forte are a unique combination of ballet toning moves, Pilates core conditioning, and Yoga stretches. Our classes utilize small, isometric movements to overload muscles—building endurance and definition, followed by stretching the muscles to help them become long and lean.

VJ: How would you describe a barre workout?

BS: Barre workouts offer total body toning set to high-energy music with motivating, welcoming instructors. At Barre Forte, our classes begin with a short warm up followed by upper body strengthening using light weights held away from the body with high repetitions. Then, relevés, or calf raises tone the backs of the legs while plies work the quads. We also focus on the inner thighs by repeatedly squeezing small Pilates balls and outer thighs using a Pilates band. Next, the hamstring and gluteus are targeted before moving on to additional core building exercises followed by more stretching. The goal is to isolate and overload muscle groups before stretching and elongating them. It is normal to experience some shaking in the muscles as you work them to fatigue. Expect to feel sore (in a good way) the next day—and likely the day after that.

VJ: What should I expect when attending a class?

BS: The environment is eclectic and energizing. Clients are greeted and encouraged to find a spot at the barre and to grab a pair of light weights. It is recommended to keep a water bottle close by and to wear sticky socks, which provide traction on the flooring when participants are up on their toes (which is where they will remain for a large portion of class).

VJ: Is barre an effective cardio workout?

BS: Yes! While some clients supplement their barre workouts with additional cardio, barre classes get your heart rate up in the warm up, and keep it up during class through continued movement and sustained intensity. Clients will begin to turn fat into muscle, which will also help them to burn calories throughout the day.

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