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Behind the Scenes: Total Barre™ Principles – Part 1

Ballet barre workouts continue to be one of the hottest forms of fitness, with no shortage of programs available on the market. However, as its popularity increases, so do the number of injuries among exercisers, specifically around the knees, lower back and shoulders. With so many programs out there, choosing the most effective and responsible barre class is paramount.

Behind the Scenes: Total Barre

Today, we’re giving you a sneak peek into three of the Total Barre Principles and why it’s ‘the smarter barre’.

Employing a series of biomechanical body awareness protocols, the principles work together to create a synthesis of movement quality for the body that delivers results. Ensuring that clients develop a good understanding of these principles at an early stage helps create an awareness of how their bodies function and enhances their ability and mindfulness.

  1. Breathing Principle: Breath pattern should contribute to movement, not hinder it. By placing emphasis on three-dimensional breathing, especially into the posterior and lateral aspects of the rib cage, blood will be oxygenated, muscles will be relaxed and mental concentration will be facilitated. Not only will an emphasis on breathing affect the body as a whole, but also the flow of movement during the class.
  2. Pelvic Placement Principle: As the majority of a Total Barre class is performed standing, it’s important that the spine is stabilized in the most optimal shock absorbing position. Focus is placed on stabilization of the pelvis and lumber spine in a number of positions but most often in a neutral position in the sagittal plane. This is a good place to promote efficient movement patterns and allows for muscles supporting the hip joint to work effectively through different ranges of movement.
  3. Rib Cage Placement & Stabilization: Did you know that there’s a direct relationship between arm movements and the placement of the rib cage and thoracic spine? Anatomically, the abdominal wall attaches to the lower ribs. Often the rib cage will elevate or deviate forward when standing so during inhalation or while performing arm gestures overhead, there should be an awareness that the abdominal muscles support the movement without restricting it.

Look forward to an upcoming post exploring the final three principles, separating Total Barre from the pack!

Update: Part 2 of this article has been posted. Continue to part 2.

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  1. elizabeth | Mar 24, 2016
    does Merrithew provide music for Total Barre
  2. Naomi Crockett | Dec 08, 2015

    Laureen, I am struggling to keep the barre classes going in my studio and need help figuring out why.

    I have taken Foundation,Endurance I & II and Amp it up.( It couldn't be lack of variety.)  Also, I keep time with

    the music and have a nice double barre from Stott not to mention all the necessary props.  There are no other

    barre classes in town.

    I gave barre classes prime time and added 4 to the week and one Saturday. I did a special of 3 classes for $29

    to draw them in. My advertisement was fliers and emailing clients. 

    My goal was not to draw from my current students but to grab younger clients in the community that wanted a 

    high powered workout that costs half the price of my reformer classes. I wanted to build a larger client base.

    Two years have gone by and I had to drop one am class and the Saturday class b/c of poor attendance. I hired a

    girl to take over the PM classes and one to teach Foundation. The numbers in class start strong and peter out.

    I thought barre was THE thing and I know we are delievering awesome classes so I can't understand the low

    attendance. Could it be that studios that do only barre are the ones that make it b/c there are more classes to choose from?

    Any help or guidance you can give me would be appreciated b/c I really love it. Thank you.

  3. Maria Balasco | Nov 17, 2015

    Hi laureen!

    Does Merrithew supply barre music?

  4. Missing user | Nov 21, 2014
    Thanks for that comment JVann - we've edited the copy to make it clearer!
  5. JVann | Nov 19, 2014
    The second sentence of the rib placement paragraph is awkwardly written. For clarity I suggest "forward" instead of "toward" and "awareness that" instead of "awareness of".
  6. jill winegar | Nov 05, 2014
    I'm so  excited     for the  opportunity!   I love  the  Total  Barre  format  and it's  such a  great  place  to   apply the  pelvic  placement  principle   now in  a  standing   functional position,  especially for  women who often  go right to an  anterior  tilt  when  moving through  the  workout...
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