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Barreistas

Some frequently asked questions we get from clients...

What IS Barrecode?

Barrecode is an experience. In a typical class, we strengthen and lengthen almost every muscle in your body. We focus on training the most powerful muscles properly to ensure lasting functional strength, on synergistic accessory muscles through rotational and directional isometric movements, and we stretch and lengthen musculature to promote and enhance functional mobility as well. There’s pushups, planks and tricep dips to ignite fat burning metabolism. There’s lots of heavy breathing, lots of pulled faces, and lots of laughs.

We are not Pilates. We are not Ballet. We are not Yoga. We are Barrecode.

How is it different from Pilates?

Our classes utilise most of the Pilates fundamentals such as breathing, focus, postural awareness and so on, however the moves we perform as well as the class format itself are very, very different. Pilates is a whole of body method which principally uses machines and mat work to re-align the core muscles by working the small muscle groups in precise, flowing movements. In comparison Barrecode uses the body’s own weight against gravity to isolate, strengthen and sculpt all major muscle groups, while making tiny rotational changes to ensure the synergistic or accessory muscles are also targeted. Pilates exercises are largely performed in a sitting or prone position while our classes take place both at the barre and on mats.

While the two modes of exercise are relatively different, we at Barrecode highly recommend practicing Pilates, as well as Yoga, in conjunction to your classes with us whenever possible. The three methods are hugely complementary to each other, and we believe that barre as an exercise format will soon be held with the same high esteem as Pilates and Yoga as an effective, safe, whole of life exercise modality. 

Where did the moves come from?

Ironically, back in the 1940's, while Joseph Pilates as in New York honing his amazing workout, across the world in London a German Dancer named Lotte Berk was also developing her own all encompassing, core conditioing workout, initially to rehabilitate her back after a bad car accident. Being a dancer, she knew her way around a ballet barre, and with the help of an Osteopath friend, came up with the standard format that we follow in our class which quickly healed her back. Loving the strength and tone the moves created in her own body, and knowing that she couldn't continue dancing into her later years, she opened a female-only exercise studio - unheard of in the day! - and soon developed a league of loyal clientele, including celebs like Barbra Streisand, Britt Ekland and Yasmin LeBon.

Fast forward to today, and similarly to Joseph Pilates, it seems Lotte was ahead of her time, as her method over the past few years has taken the world by storm.

"...surely it is worth a little hard work to acheive a super shapely body that works well, a body full of vitality that makes you happy to be alive..." ~ Lotte Berk

So what's the go with the Ballet Barre?

The underlying premise of the workout is to strengthen our deep stabilising postural muscles as well as the strong ones that serve us in our daily life, such as the thighs, buns and abdominals. In order to ensure strong, injury-proof posture we perform most of our our moves while standing, using the barre for support against gravity. The support allows us to effectively perform weight bearing moves in correct form over and over, in many rotations, strengthening and building large and small muscle groups at a time - translating through to daily life as perfect posture, strong bones and no niggles!

Is cardio necessary as well as Barrecode?

Not really. Barrecode is a cardiorespiratory workout routine as much as it is a strength building routine. If you do feel like you should do a cardio workout of some sort, it’s best to do it STRAIGHT AFTER a Barrecode workout, as you will remain in the all important ‘fat burning zone’ and won’t waste the first ten minutes of the cardio workout getting TO the fat burning zone.

Why are there no Beginners classes?

One of the things we LOVE is that the format of our class is adaptable for all levels of fitness.  For sure, your first class will have you thinking "what just happened...?!" when you walk out, but your second, third and hundredth class will still challenge you, even after having done it so many times. It's the hardest thing to explain, you'll have to come along to see what we mean.  :)

How many classes should I do a week?

We recommend four or five times a week for massive results. Otherwise three times a week is optimal for active people who do other forms of exercise as well. You’ll still find you get amazing results in terms of strength and mobility that you wouldn’t get in other areas of exercise.

Can I do Barrecode on consecutive days?

Yes! Barrecode can be done on consecutive days safely. Although our work with weights is challenging, we do not use weights that are overly heavy with an excessive amount of reps such that muscle fibers might tear as with some strength training programs that use heavier weights and require a day of rest to recover. Also, it’s been proven that consecutive days of exercise actually help the ‘delayed onset muscles soreness’ (DOMS) that you may experience in your first few classes.

If I stop getting sore after classes, does that mean I've reached a plateau? Or do I just need to work harder, squat deeper, etc?

Your muscles have reached a point where they have become accustomed to the hard workout, however this does not mean at all that you aren't getting anything from your time in the studio. When you start at Barrecode, you are causing damage to many many 'weak' cells within the muscles. If you haven't worked out for a while or are new to the Barrecode moves you'll be waking up a fair few of them! But soon they'll be strong and will know what to expect - as long as you work to fatigue where you can, you are definitely working out effectively and progressively building strength and tone.

I feel like I have to stop so many times in the thigh set, I mustn’t be doing it right.

it's a love hate relationship but we have to do it to see changes. Trust us, if it were easy everybody would be doing it! Be proud of your efforts and take tiny breaks when needed but jump right back in. If it's burning it's working!

Why do we focus so much on leg work?

A number of reasons: firstly, your thighs, glutes and hammies are the largest, strongest fuel burning muscles. Your feet, calves and ankles are super important at keeping you upright, mobile and stable. Strong and balanced hip stabilisers hold your pelvis in alignment, which then creates optimal position for an aligned neutral spine.  Working with a neutral spine and balanced hip stabilisers allows us to properly engage our core muscles throughout the workout, with the aim of ensuring postural strength and less chance of back injury.

It seems like my thighs are bulking up!

When you first start your Barrecode journey you will start building some serious new muscle. Freshy toned muscle is a little bunchy to begin with, until it 'relaxes' and leans itself out and tightens up around the underlying bone. HOWEVER the truth is that unless you plan to dedicate most of your days to grueling workouts, eat a high-calorie diet along with high amounts of protein, have unusually high amounts of testosterone or use anabolic steroids, you will not bulk up - it is impossible!

There are some changes going on that are different to what you are used to: your muscles are getting F.I.R.M. When a muscle firms up, it's not as pliable as a muscle which doesn't get used a lot. Those firm toned muscles feel very different in clothes if you are not used to being lean.

Second, in the beginning of a strength training workout regime, newly strengthened muscles retain miniscule amounts of water. We fatigue muscles in class in order to cause the tiny tears that is required to strengthen them, and the resulting soreness causes the surrounding tissues to swell a tiny bit until things calm down.  After the first few classes you won't feel the muscle soreness like you originally did and your muscles will think that a gruelling class is just like any other day.  You'll still feel that burn though!

Third, fat becomes an issue when you’ve just started shaping your muscles. Many clients start out with a higher body fat percentage than regular exercisers. Unfortunately, fat takes a lot longer to get rid of than muscles do to change shape. Keep at it though and the Barrecode 'Dynamic Training' sequences will see you start shedding the kilos.

Last but not least, check out our Barreista Maggie's legs, as an example. Maggie has been religously attending three and four classes a week for over two and a half years. Definitely no bulk there!! 

What alternative is there to the pretzel move, I just can’t seem to pick my legs up!

The pretzel move is one of the most isolating, targeted moves for waists and hips, however it is a challenge! Try leaning your body towards your supporting leg and come onto your forearm. Make sure to keep your working leg behind your hip bone, abs engaged and shoulders out of your ears.

I can’t get the breathing right.

DON'T STRESS! Just breathe! The breathing will come as you get to learn the moves and can listen to the Barreista more closely. In general though, you want to inhale on the way down, exhale on the exertion up. That will give you extra power to get your body up!

My shoulders always come up to my ears, I never know it!

Postural alignment is an ongoing commitment. Of course the more you practice the more it will become second nature but it is hard to think about form constantly. Try giving yourself mental check lists of proper form for each exercise and then take note of quality vs quantity! i.e if you can't go all the way down during thigh work then go to your lowest point at your absolute best.

My wrists hurt in pushups, tricep dips and planks.

This is a common complaint in class, as most of us are tied down on computers most days of the week, typing madly and causing repetitive tightness in our wrists. In class you can try making a fist and pressing your knuckles into the ground for pushups and tricep dips making sure your wrists are directly over your fists (so that you're not flexed at the joints). Also, you can try rolling up the mat once or twice so that your hands hang mainly over the edge and you decrease the flex at the joint. Be sure to continually stretch at work too, healthy wrists should be able to hold up body weight in most circumstances.

My knees are not good at all, can I still come to class?

Dicky knees of Hobart are being strengthened like never before with Barrecode. With our focus on the inner quadricep in a lot of moves (ie: with the pilates ball in between the thighs!), the kneecap gets aligned and the ligaments around the knee strengthened. Even calves have a big part to play in knee health, and we sure do a lot of calf strengtheing! In your first few classes don't take your seat too low to your feet, and keep your range of motion smaller in thigh work.

How do you modify for tennis elbow?

First of all go to your pharmacy and get a brace for your elbow (like an elastic sock brace) and that will hold the tendon in place to prevent further inflammation. Try to keep your range of motion smaller with your weight work and with your push ups. If push ups begin to hurt you, you can always hold a forearm plank.

How about dodgy backs?

Our abdominal sequence has been developed to ensure that backs in particular are well looked after while we work on strengthening the abdominals. The golden rule is, if it hurts, stop the exercise. Make sure to concentrate on contracting your pelvic floor and lower abs to stabilise your lumbar spine. A small tuck under in standing buns work will help if you are feeling an impingement in the lower back. Also, a stretch of the hip flexors can often help, as a lot of times a sore lower back is usually a result of tight hips.