When it comes to great barre results, it’s all about technique. We tapped Physique 57 Co-Founder, Tanya Becker, for a rundown of the most common mistakes she sees clients making at the barre – and exactly how to fix them.
1. Using light weights.
Unless you’re working with an injury, go heavy. You’ll feel the burn and shed more calories. Eight-pound weights are my go-to. (Nervous about making the jump from five pounds to eight? Grab both and trade out the fives as needed!)
2. Not committing to yourself.
It’s easy not to want to come back to a barre class that is incredibly hard and kicks your butt. As human beings, we are not wired for discomfort. However, our bodies change when we are challenged (which is why our Interval Overload technique is so very, very effective).
When you commit to coming three to four times per week, you will gain endurance and stamina, and your body will transform! Don’t quit before the change.
3. Taking on Challenges Too Soon or Adding in Options That Weren’t Given
Although it’s important to challenge your body, you should never feel like you need to take on more than you can handle. While your enthusiasm for the class is appreciated — and duly noted! — your health and safety come first.
When in doubt, listen to your teacher! Your barre instructors are there to guide you, and they design the entire class to give you a great workout while keeping you safe. Sometimes your body just needs a rest, and these simple workouts are often best because they allow you to use your muscles properly and avoid burnout.
4. Not Using Grippy Socks or Workout Slippers
Without the right foot grip, you may (as in, definitely will) slide.
I personally love wearing Reebok slippers (we sell them in the studio!) – you can go deeper in our positions without losing form, and they look great.
5. Forgetting Your Socks Altogether
As noted, grippy socks are a barre class must-have — they keep your feet from slipping and provide higher resistance to increase your burn and make your class more effective. They’re also great for showing off your Physique 57 style!
If you forget your socks, no worries! We sell workout slippers in the studio and can find you the perfect pair before your next class.
6. Being self-conscious.
Group fitness classes can feel intimidating. Clients will say, “Don’t watch me, I’m not coordinated”, or, “I’m not good at this”, or “I’m not flexible enough.” We re-dub that self-talk track playing in our heads and replace it with what I call affirmative thinking.
Also, nobody’s watching you! Class is challenging and most people are focusing on themselves, their form, and making it through their thigh set.
7. Only taking one type of class.
We have so many great workout class options, whether you want more cardio (check out S.B.T.- Sweat Burn Tone, Cardio Burn and Amped Up!) more abs (try Arms & Abs in 30 or Mat 57), or something at a different pace or incorporating different disciplines like Physique Yoga.
Change things up and tone body parts you didn’t know you had.
8. White-knuckling the barre.
Over-gripping makes you tense your shoulders and takes the work (and results) away from your postural muscles. While working, you want to keep your shoulders “melting” down your back, and your heart and chest “open” when doing exercises at the barre.
9. Sitting at the Bottom of a Rep-Out
Thigh workouts are challenging, and the body always wants to find ways to make it easier. Clients will often go too low or come up too high when repping, but this takes you out of the burn and makes the work you’re doing less efficient.
Instead, take a break and jump back in with the proper form when you’re ready.
10. Holding your breath.
Most clients resort to shallow breathing the tougher it gets. Do the opposite: Breath deeper the more challenged you feel. (I do this outside in the real world, too and highly recommend it!)
11. Aligning Improperly
When focusing on your alignment in class, always think about stacking your spine. You may be tempted to arch your back, but arching causes a domino effect, which allows your ribs to open and can harm your lower back.
Instead, knit your ribs together like a belt is wrapped around them.
12. Not Using Your Abs
Toward the end of a class, your body will get tired and worn out. Typically, your abs are the first things to go — we all know that feeling! However, the use of your core is essential to proper alignment.
When doing Flat Back Abs, try to get your shoulders off the floor and curl off the ball enough, so it inflates fully at the top of your curl.
13. Pushing your abs out during core work.
When you contract a muscle, it’s natural for it to “pop out” a little. However, when it comes to doing our curl work you want to continue to check in to make sure your abdominal wall doesn’t overly protrude.
Imagine you have 30lb brick on your middle helping to press it “down” instead of out.
14. Leaving class before the stretches.
There’s a reason we do the stretches at the end of class. Your body has the right amount of warmth to allow the muscles to lengthen and increase suppleness, and reduces lactic acid…which cuts down on next-day soreness. It’s a great way to transition, recharge, and rejuvenate before heading back out into the world.
15. Not Coming to Class
Perhaps the biggest barre class mistake you can make is not coming to class at all! You might be concerned about being judged by others, or maybe you’re worried you won’t be able to keep up. But we want you to know you don’t have to be a fitness guru to enjoy our classes. Our trained instructors welcome people of all experience levels, even those who are new to fitness altogether.
At Physique 57, we’re a community that empowers each other to succeed with instructors who inspire you to reach your goals — and we have a great time doing it! Experience for yourself the Physique 57 energy that will keep you coming back for more, visit us in the barre studio, or work out with us on demand. Try our program at least four times a week, and you’ll see amazing results, fast!
Check out more tips for keeping top form—and maxing out your results—with our Barre 101 series. Have more words of wisdom to share? Post them in the comments below!