Among committed male gym-goers, talking to them about the benefits of barre workouts can be emasculating.
First of all, barre workouts are inspired by ballet. You don’t have to wear a tutu, but you will be stressing small muscle groups you never knew you had.
Keeping your toes flexed as you curtsy on repeat, performing a dainty plié will set your oft-ignored calf and glute muscles on fire.
Barre will give your body a full-on workout with a variety of poses drawn from ballet, yoga and pilates.
The dynamic exercise achieves multiple goals – builds strength, enhances endurance and improves flexibility.
Men are among the clientele at the fast-growing WeBarre. The barre studio first opened in 2016, now has three outlets in Singapore and expanded to Hong Kong.
“The men in the class fumble, at the end of the class they are surrounded in puddles of sweat,” says WeBarre instructor Shaan Eng. “Barre works out muscles which men tend to miss out during their gym sessions. Feel the burn from little action like heel lifts.”
The forgotten muscles will get their due attention in barre class. Raising the heels actives activates and strengthens the calf muscles.
The classically trained ballerina Shaan shows us five barre poses which will test the fittest among us. Are you ready for the test?
Targets the calves and improves hip flexibility
All photos by Alan Lim
Hold the barre with your right hand, keeping your left hand by your side. Standing with your toes pointing out, cross your left leg behind you.
Cue the curtsy. Bend both knees as you sweep your left arm up and over your head and stretch towards the barre. Lift left knee up to the sides, bringing your left elbow down towards the left knee. Repeat 12 to 16 times as quickly as you can. Switch sides.
Want to burn more calories? The faster you move, the higher your heart rate.
Guys often have trouble lifting their legs to the sides. They could do with improving hip flexibility, and the curtsy works into the hip flexors, the muscles connecting your upper leg to the hips. These muscles can tighten up from sitting down too long, or from intense exercise like weightlifting.
Hold one hand on the barre for balance. Stand in the passé position by placing your left toes above the right knee to form a triangle. Bend both knees, planting both feet on the ground. Return back into the passé position. Repeat the motion 12 to 16 times. Switch sides.
Men, the fast repetitions of the short movements will be a test of your balance.
Targets the butt muscles
Up the ante with variations. Fold the outstretched leg upwards towards the glutes, bend the supporting leg and pulsate. This exercise activates the gluteus maximus, or the fleshiest part of the butt.
Glutes Side Lying Series
Targets the side butt muscles
Lie on left side and prop the torso up with the left arm. Push your right hand against a barre ball placed near your waist. Bend the bottom leg towards the back, keep the top leg extended.
Lifting the extended leg works into the side butt muscles. Raise it and bring the leg down, or pulse the lifted leg in the air. Up the challenge by moving the leg forward and backwards.
Targets the core, thighs and quads