Turnout—a combination of rotational flexibility and the strength to properly hold that rotation—is fundamental to barre. Before you get frustrated that your feet do not turn out as much as the person next to you, remember that not everyone (actually, hardly anyone) is born with 180-degree rotation . Keep reading for the dos and don’ts of improving your turnout.
Do cross train
Turnout requires a rotation that starts at the head of your femur and continues down the chain all the way to your feet. It starts at your hips, but requires a lot more than just hip flexibility.
Turning out correctly requires a great deal of core strength. Both the muscles in the front and the back of the midsection need to be strong in order to lift your body weight out of your hips. Think about how much lighter on your feet you feel when you engage your core… go ahead, try it! Now think about how much less pressure is being put on your hip joints with the core engaged and how much easier is it for you to externally rotate from the tops of your femurs.
But wait…. There’s more!
Do turn in
Turning out properly also requires strength and balance in the adductors and abductors. Focus on strengthening the muscles of both your inner and outer thighs and your glutes to create a well rounded foundation.
Once again, it comes down to moderation and balance. If all of your movement involves turning out, the rotational muscles that are responsible for that action will get over-trained and tight. In addition to practicing yoga to stretch these muscles, it’s just as important to exercise the muscles that turn in every now and then. Pilates or Gyrotonics are good exercise choices to encourage turn in without much impact on the joints
Don’t try to walk or stand with a turned out stance during daily activities
Some people are naturally inclined to walk with their feet turned out, and some are not. Forcing yourself to walk with your feet outward all the time will not improve your rotation. In fact, it can actually lead to ankle, knee and hip pain.
Don’t force your turnout to the point of discomfort or pain.
Just remember that pushing your turnout isn’t the same as forcing it. Never turn out to the point that your hips, knees and ankles aren’t aligned in plié, your hips are tucked under, your feet are rolled in or your back is swayed or there is any pain or pulling in the hips.
Not only will you risk acute injury to your hips, knees and ankles, but eventually you will create lasting imbalances that can have serious impact you posture.
DO remember that more isn’t always better! Be mindful of your body and its limits and listen to what it tells you!
I often get asked why we don’t use light weights in a traditional BarreFlow class and my answer is typically… why do you want to?
The most common answers from students are “for strength training” or “to build muscle”, and my honest feeling is that we can do that just as well with out own body weight as we can with the small weights that we would be using in a barre class.
When I ask the same question to instructors, the answer is typically that they feel pressured because students ask to add weights. They hear that students want to “feel strong” or “are bored with the same old thing”. My answer is the same…. can’t we create a strong and empowering class with our own body weight?
I realize that this position may be unpopular, but take a moment to consider a few things:
– The majority of people that take group exercise classes still need help doing a true plank, push-up or squat. Are we really doing them a service by ignoring the flaws in the foundations and adding extra resistance?
– The basis of a weight training program is volume- so in a class setting where we are lifting 1-3 pound weights, how many repetitions would we need to do in order to REALLY make and impact on our muscle strength? Does it add intensity to the workout? Absolutely… but if we are allowing our students to believe that this is significant weight training, are we really doing them a service?
Please make no mistake about my position on weight training. Weight training is a VERY important component to every fitness routine. There are so many reasons that we should be lifting weights, but I don’t think that we need to everything in one class.
We all know that I am a firm believer in the benefits of barre- but I do not believe that it is the end all be all! I think barre once or twice a week is a great balance for a regular weight training and cardio routine.
I could go on for days about this stuff, but I’ll leave you to think about what I’ve already put out there.
Thanks for reading!
Are you planning on attending SCW Mania next weekend in New York City? If you are a fitness professional in the NYC area and don’t know what Mania is, go to http://scwfit.com/mania/ and check it out!
We are beyond excited to be included among the many talented presenters at Mania this year. Please join us at the barre for a 90 minute booty kicking BarreFlow class on Friday morning at 11:30 and learn all about the dos and don’t of the infamous barre tuck in our What the Tuck workshop on Saturday morning at 7!!
Hope to see you in NYC!
Core, everyone nowadays has heard about it and hopefully has tried to improve theirs. One of the struggles of working on core is squeezing your stomach and breathing at the same time. Think of the last time you tried to do a plank. As you performed the exercise longer it got harder and harder to breath didn’t it? How much more productive could the exercise be for you if you could breathe more efficiently?
Whether we’re talking about planks on your forearms or on your hands, the body position will dictate if the exercise becomes a breath taking experience. Let’s start with your feet and work our way up to the hand position:
Step 1: make sure your feet are in alignment with your hips and positioned straight. (squeeze your glutes to prevent your hips from dropping)
Step 2: tuck the bottom of your ribs into your spine (this will allow your stomach to engage without over contracting)
Step 3: bring your shoulder blades together comfortably
Step 4: elbows remain under your shoulders
Step 5: separate your hands (this protects your shoulders)
That’s all! Five easy steps to put your body into the proper anatomical position. Notice step number two, why isn’t it recommended to over engage your Ab muscles? A lot of the time if you try to squeeze your stomach too hard you will end up arching your back and you won’t allow your diaphragm to move. If your diaphragm can’t move your lungs can not fill with air. When you can’t get enough air your burn out quicker. Your key to success is starting in the right position and getting enough air to hold the plank.
by Travis Webb, Fitness Professional
When a trainer or group instructor tells you to “tuck your tail”, what do you picture? What do you do?
The term “tuck” has become almost as much of a buzz word as “functional” on the fitness scene, and it’s starting trump the latter as my least favorite fitness term.
The term was originally intended to cue a neutral pelvis. Because most of us have certain degree of an anterior pelvic tilt, tucking our tail slightly returns our pelvis back to a neutral position that protects our lower back. BUT… More is better tends to be the way things go in fitness, so the tuck gets more severe and not only do we start to look like Steve Urkel, but we start to put our bodies at risk for injury!
Did you know that too much or a tuck can actually hurt your lower back?? Cause sciatica? Add to tightness of hip flexors and quads? Actually weaken your abs instead of strengthen them??
So the next time you are instructed to tuck your tail, try this. Think about pulling your belly button inward and upward – like you are trying to pull it underneath your rib cage. You will notice just a slight tuck of your pelvis and that is all that you need!
Check out the Shape Magazine article that we contributed to and learn more about the dos and don’ts of the infamous barre tuck
Welcome to the BarreFlow Blog. You can come here to check out the latest BarreFlow upcoming events and activities. We will also include news about the company and our instructors and students from around the country. Plus, we’ll also provide some insider fitness tips and inspiration!
Who is this for? Instructors…students… anyone who loves fitness!
Instructor Master Classes:
We are offering instructor only master classes to learn first-hand what BarreFlow is all about! Meet the creator of the concept and her business partner who fell in love with it and “walks the walk”. You will be able to try a sample class to find out if it’s a good fit for you and your studio!
When: February 13, 2016 (Saturday)
Time: 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Where: Poise Studio, 5 Vista Blvd, Slingerlands
When: February 22, 2016 (Monday)
Time: 7:30pm to 8:30 pm
Where: Average Joe’s Fitness – 90 West Campbell Road, Rotterdam
Sign-Up/Questions: www.barreflow.net or 518.309-2494
These are classes to become officially certified in BarreFlow! BarreFlow combines the flow of a vinyasa yoga class with the science of corrective exercise to create a complete workout for body and mind in only 45 minutes.
We are looking for both experienced group fitness instructors and novices alike to help us spread the word and start the BarreFlow movement. These two-day certifications will include instruction in basic anatomy and physiology, exercise technique, choreography and teaching techniques. Be prepared to challenge yourself mentally and physically for two jam packed days at the barre! Ready, set, BarreFlow!
When: February 27th and 28th
Where: FIT Method Studio, North Tonawanda, NY
When: March 19th and 20th
Where: Poise Studios, Slingerlands, NY
When: April 9th and 10th
Where: Average Joe’s Fitness, Rotterdam, NY
Sign-Up/Questions: www.barreflow.net or 518.309-2494
What is BarreFlow? Let’s start by clarifying what we are not:
We are NOT a dance class. You don’t need ballet experience or the stereotypical “dancer body” to participate in this program.
We are NOT a yoga class. You do not need to understand Sanskrit or have any experience practicing yoga to get started.
We are NOT another boot camp We are not here to beat people down, yell at them or leave them begging for mercy. Our goal is to leave our students feeling better than they did when they walked in the door. A LOT better.
We are NOT miracle workers We know that there is no such thing as a quick fix and we will not pretend that reaching your goals will be easy. It will, however, be worth it.
We are NOT unreasonable. We know you are busy. We are too. Two to three 45-minute sessions of BarreFlow a week WILL result in changes in your body and mind.
We are NOT a fad. Our program is based on proven concepts of physical fitness.
Are you ready to help us raise the Barre in the fitness industry?
Let’s get to it…