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What is BarreConcept®?

BarreConcept is a creative 60 minute workout, which combines the precision of Pilates, alignment of yoga and the grace and technique of ballet. Add to this the strength from sports conditioning and you have all the elements of a typical BarreConcept session.

This unique programme is designed to tone the thighs, lift the butt, sculpt the arms and flatten the abdominals. Full range muscular contractions are performed, followed by end range isometric contractions and then a static hold in order to fatigue the muscle. Stretches follow directly afterwards in order to elongate the muscles, creating that long, lean physique. Equipment such as balls, weights and bands are added to the class to challenge the body further.

Who is BarreConcept® for?

BarreConcept is for everybody! Our instructors are trained to cater for clients of all different ages and abilities. Teachers are equipped with specific knowledge to accommodate a range of commonly encountered health problems. Modifications, variations, adaptations, progressions and contraindications are an integral part of the training course.

This ensures that individuals with certain injuries or conditions who attend our sessions are protected in order to prevent injury. Our teachers are trained to offer varying levels of classes from beginner level through to advanced students, so there is a class for everybody and all individuals are encouraged to work at their own pace and listen to their body.

Is ballet experience required to participate in a Barreconcept class?

No ballet or prior dance experience is necessary. Many of the BarreConcept exercise positions are basic but it is how you maintain and control the body in position, whilst making small movements that proves challenging.

If you are taking a class for the first time, it is useful to undertake a BarreConcept taster workshop first in order to learn the basic movement technique. Prior knowledge and experience of Pilates is advantageous.

How does the method work?

Although most of the movements in a BarreConcept class are low impact, they are performed at a level of high intensity, working the muscles to fatigue, using the fitness principle of Overload. Small isometric contractions are performed in an interval training approach that burns fat and sculpts the entire body. Bouts of high intensity interval strength training are interspersed with deep stretches to allow the muscle to elongate and recover. This way, we achieve sculpted muscles without the bulk of other exercise regimes.

All the major muscle groups are targeted but emphasis is on the areas of the body that women most want to define. This workout attacks the butt, abdominals and thighs primarily as well as sculpting the arms. Clients notice the difference in just ten sessions. BarreConcept is the fastest, safest and most effective way to change your body. Posture, strength, flexibility and stamina all improve. Each class is set to high energy music to keep the class fun in a motivating environment.

What ability and age range is this workout suitable for?

This workout is suitable for all ages from 14 up to late sixties. All abilities can be catered for from beginner to advanced as the exercises can be modified and adapted as necessary. Sessions can be tailored towards a particular fitness group or level.

What should I wear?

Leggings and a well fitting top are ideal workout clothing so that your instructor can see your alignment and posture throughout the class. You may wear grip socks or ballet pumps on your feet. The legs and feet are kept covered in order for the body to retain heat, which helps assist our muscles to perform stretches during the flexibility training on the barre.

What are the benefits of practising this method?

Increased stamina and cardiovascular efficiency Improved posture in static and dynamic work Increased flexibility and joint range of motion Increase in muscle tone without the added bulk of some other regimes Decreased risk of injury due to an increase in core strength Motivating group environment helps to relieve stress Increased sense of wellbeing

How often should I practice the method?

As with many other exercise regimes, you can undertake this method every day if you so desired but the body should have at least 1-2 days of rest each week. The optimal number of sessions would be around 3-4 per week but anything is better than nothing. The more you practice, the better you get and the quicker you will see the results of your efforts.

Will I lose weight?

BarreConcept exercises require a certain amount of stamina. This will help improve your cardiovascular fitness and therefore your ability to burn calories. You will increase muscle tone, which also improves your rate and ability to burn fat. Many students become slimmer and lose inches within months.

How does the workout differ from traditional studio exercise regimes?

Pilates mat work is largely performed on the floor in various positions. In a BarreConcept class, around three quarters of the class is done standing up. At least half of the class exercises are performed at the barre itself. Yoga focuses on holding a position for a certain period of time, whilst concentrating on the breathing.

Pilates tends not to hold a position but instead goes for a specific number of full range repetitions. In a BarreConcept class, we not only go for full range repetitions but we also hold a position for a limited time period. However, the BarreConcept repetitions go one step further by focusing on tiny, small range isometric contractions in addition to the traditional Pilates and Yoga approach and that is where it differs from other mind body exercise regimes.

What is the difference between BarreConcept and other barre workouts?

BarreConcept is the only barre course in the world to gain international accreditation. We now have accreditation in the UK (Register of Exercise Professionals), America (American Council on Exercise and Pilates Method Alliance), Canada (Canfitpro) and Australia (Fitness Australia and Australian Pilates Method Alliance).

Our instructors are not only trained in the BarreConcept method but also on how to be a great teacher and role model for their clients. Each barre course will vary slightly in content and all will have a similar yet different approach, so there is a course to suit everybody. Our philosophy is that it takes a minimum of twp days to learn all of the comprehensive exercises and then choreograph each of the elements together in a flowing non-stop routine that is fun, challenging and enjoyable.

It is difficult to be a great teacher on a course that is less than two days as exercise knowledge and repertoire will be somewhat limited. Our ethos is to support our students and teachers and to create a warm, welcoming community environment which people want to be part of.

Not only do you receive a lesson plan that is already devised for you, so that you can get up and running immediately upon certification, but you are taught how to choreograph your own routine, so that your classes are always changing and therefore interesting as well as challenging for your clients. The ongoing educational support that our instructor members receive is via the online workouts. This assists our teachers in planning classes and takes the work out of choreographing routines.

Why do my muscles shake and feel the burn?

When you feel a burning sensation in your muscles, it is a sign that they are working anaerobically (without oxygen). This “burning” is a build up of lactic acid within the muscles, due to muscle fatigue. You will generally have to stop exercising momentarily in order to stop any further build up.

Once you have stopped for a few moments, the sensation will cease and you will be able to continue once again. The stronger your muscles get from regular practice, the longer it will take for this burning sensation to appear (if at all). Muscles can also shake during exercise and this is a sure sign that they are working hard.

This is a good thing but recognise when they are getting too shaky and you are losing proper technique, as it is time to rest when this happens.

What type of barre is required to perform the exercises?

Ideally a fixed barre, screwed into the wall is best. However, free standing, portable barres may also be used. In this instance, there are certain exercises, such as press ups and pull ups, which cannot be performed on a free standing barre.

However, around ninety percent of the barre repertoire may be performed using a free standing barre. Alternatively, many exercises can be done using the back of a chair.

How is a BarreConcept class structured?

Warm Up The warm up is performed in the centre of the room, away from the barre. Movements including knee raises, tendus and small plies are performed to upbeat music in order to warm up the body, mobilise the joints and increase heart rate and cardiovascular efficiency. Arm and feet movements should be included that reflect the basic five basic ballet positions. Barre Work The main bulk of the class (at least half of the lesson) is spent at the barre.

The main concentration of this section is focused on the legs and butt, although there are a few upper body exercises that may be performed here as well. In a traditional ballet class, the exercises performed at the barre are viewed as a preparation for the work done afterwards in the centre of the room. However, in a Barre class, the work done at the barre is viewed as the main workout and so follows a different emphasis and structure.

In the Centre Once the barre exercises have been completed, the workout then moves into the centre. This is where small, light hand weights may be included to work the upper body in terns of strength and endurance. Hand weight exercises are usually performed in conjunction with a leg movement in order to increase the heart rate and stamina. Power movements may be included at the end of the floorwork section such as ballet jumps in first or second position in order to burn body fat and increase stamina.

Floor Work Since there is limited upper body work and abdominal exercises that can be done at the barre, this work is included in the floor work section. Leg and butt work may also be included in this section although less emphasis is needed for these muscle groups, since the majority of the exercises involving those muscle groups have been performed already at the barre. Final Stretches Developmental stretches are performed at the end of the session, particularly for the legs and butt. Stretches for the arms are included where upper body work has been executed during the floor work section. Repetitions and Sets The number of repetitions performed for a given exercise is usually eight.

These are generally performed slowly and with great control similar to the Pilates method. Following the slow repetitions, certain exercises will involve twenty further repetitions, usually performed within a very small range of movement. Theses are generally performed right at the end of the range of movement with a pulsing type of muscular action similar to some sports conditioning techniques. Following the small pulses, certain exercises will then require a static hold similar to holding a yoga pose.

Slow, deep yoga type breathing is done during the static hold. This final position is usually held for around ten seconds, although may be more/ less depending upon the ability of the client group. A minimum of one set as performed above is required. Depending upon the ability, needs and wants of the client group, up to two more sets may be done as necessary. A typical exercise will therefore be performed as follows: Full range repetitions Small end range pulse contractions Static hold Stretch

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What Do Others Think?

"The videos are brilliantly demonstrated and I've gained so much knowledge”

"Just wanted to let you know how much I've enjoyed the Pilates Mat course. The videos are brilliantly demonstrated and I've gained so much knowledge about teaching from you. I'm a sports massage therapist so teaching is not a skill I've needed to develop and I've been a bit apprehensive about it, but your style of teaching has been a huge encouragement. "

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"Emma Newham is someone who truly enjoys and has a passion for sharing her Pilates knowledge. She has professionality, enthusiasm and care for your well being and also for your preparation as teacher. She is my BarreConcept teacher and she is so friendly and helpful even if long distance take us apart as I'm from Rome, Italy. When I have a doubt she promptly answer to my question. She is my best teacher."

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