Fitness Friday: Pilates Barre

Our second to last class on the Saturday of Fitness Fiesta was Pilates Barre.  I knew ‘Barre’ meant ballet, and I’ve done pilates in the past, so I kinda had an idea of what was involved.

Ben had just done Outdoor Military Fitness with the British Military Fitness Team, so he was expecting a chilled and relaxed class.  He had been to the odd Rejuventaion yoga class with me, soI think he was expecting something similiar.

However, he was to be disappointed.

Perhaps we should have done more reseach.  The guide states:

Bring Ballet movements into the Pilates session to target the small muscle groups with the emphasis on the arms & legs.

Should have flagged the ballet bit.  Looking online, ‘it’ seems to agree that it wasn’t to be an easy session.

Bring Ballet movements into the Pilates session. Pilates is a system of more than 500 controlled exercises that engage the mind and condition to total body. It is a balanced blend of strength and flexibility training that improves posture, reduces stress, and creates lean, long muscles without bulking up. Pilates works several muscle groups simultaneously through smooth, continuous motion — with particular concentration on strengthening and stabilizing the core (the abdomen, back, & pelvic girdle region)o target the small muscle groups with the emphasis on the arms & legs.

I have to confess, Carrol Crook, the instructor, put me off early on.  Ben was the only male class attendee, and while it didn’t bother him, it grated against me when she referred to him as “my little man” – Little???  He’s 6’6 for crying out loud.  She was shorter than me, and I’m only 5’3.

Carrol’s enthusiasm redeemed her somewhat.  I know some people loved her style, but it wasn’t really ‘me’.

The class being held in a hotel rather than a fitness studio setting meant there was no barre, we just kinda held onto the wall for the standing exercises.  There was also a fair bit of mat work, incorporating leg raises, abdominal exercises, flutter kicks etc that I am familiar with from my yogalates sessions.

The class was more intense than either of us was expecting.  Carrol was a stickler for ensuring we had good posture – a key component of a barre class, I’m sure.  She focussed on Ben, which was good, because he isn’t familiar with a lot of the moves, and suffers with poor posture (I think from his height, he has always tried to make himself smaller).

I enjoyed the music – some of the tracks were the same as ones in my regular yogalates classes, which I liked.  Chilled but motivating.

This wasn’t my favourite class, and I don’t think I’d do it again, but I’m glad I gave it a go over the weekend.

Have you ever tried a Barre class?  What did you think?  How important to you is a good rapport with your instructor?


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