Founder of Barreworks, Vicki Anstey, explains her complete body workout.
Ballet-based and barre inspired workouts
Jo and Ann, always looking for a fun workout to improve their health and fitness, were invited to Vicki Ansty’s Richmond studio, to experience her low-impact, high intensity workout. They certainly felt the benefits the following day, having used muscles they never knew existed!
Vicki explains the theory behind the ‘Barreworks’ approach.
Q & A with Vicki Ansty
PositivePause: What is the underlying philosophy behind barre?
Vicki: Barre is based on the strength and conditioning training that ballet dancers do every day. Using the ballet barre as a basis for a complete body workout, the exercises involve dynamic and static movements, isometric holds, core strengthening and orthopaedic stretching. Barreworks workouts incorporate common aspects of ballet training, from basic ‘barre’ work to strength training, posture development, physiotherapy and simple choreography.
PositivePause: What are the benefits of barre?
Vicki: The Barreworks Method is a complete body workout. We focus a lot on the body’s stabilisers (the smaller, postural muscles that often get forgotten about) to create strong bio-mechanics and efficient movement patterns. But we also work the larger muscle groups too! It’s a tough workout but you’ll see your stamina improve in no time at all.
PositivePause: What level of fitness is needed?
Vicki: You don’t need any previous experience in barre or ballet to join our classes. The Barreworks workouts are open to clients from any age, gender and level of experience- from complete beginners to professional dancers and elite athletes. All classes are entirely suitable for beginners.
PositivePause: ‘Barre and ballet’, so, is this a dance class?
Vicki: At Barreworks we offer variety of class formats to suit anyone, they are all designed to compliment each other.
Barreworks Workout - Using the ballet barre as a basis for a complete body workout, the exercises involve dynamic and static movements, isometric holds, core strengthening and luxurious orthopaedic stretching. A fun, fast-paced and deceptively challenging work-out improves cardiovascular stamina and tones and sculpts each muscle group. All the exercises are performed to music.
Barreworks Fusion workout - the perfect blend of barre work and deep stretching. A totally unique class, set to high-energy music, this class incorporates challenging, flow sequences, with isometric barre exercises, a focus is placed on held-postures, core strength and flexibility. Designed to help you improve muscle tone and develop flexibility to create the optimal balance between muscle strength and length. A full 60 minute, complete body workout that includes a 5 minute nurturing relaxation.
Barreworks Ballet workout - this unique class combines elements of ballet training and athletic conditioning. You’ll discover a workout devised to incorporate every aspect of a dancer’s approach to training, from basic barre work to strength training and physiotherapy. The music, exercises and movements enhance grace and posture, promote exceptional muscle conditioning and definition, flexibility and balance.
Just Stretch - this is an hour of pure, luxurious, restorative (and sometimes challenging) stretching. Using foam rollers, body-rolling balls, hands-on adjustments from our experienced team – and even partner work, this is the perfect antidote not only to tough workouts, but also to our often sedentary, screen-orientated lifestyles.
PositivePause: Can you describe what happens in a typical class, and how different parts of the body are worked?
Vicki: Every class begins with a dynamic, full-body warm up, then we work through the different areas of the body, activating large and small muscle groups. We overload the muscles and then take them through an active stretch to re-lengthen them. You’ll feel that you are pushed to your limit - its exhilarating, but really challenging and builds strength throughout the body rapidly.
PositivePause: How specifically can barre exercise benefit women who’ve gone through menopause?
Vicki: In lots of ways!
Preventing weight gain. Women tend to lose muscle mass and gain abdominal fat around menopause. Regular physical activity can help prevent weight gain.
Reducing the risk of cancer. Exercise during and after menopause can help you lose excess weight or maintain a healthy weight, which might offer protection from various types of cancer, including breast, colon and endometrial cancer.
Strengthening your bones. Exercise can slow bone loss after menopause, which lowers the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
Reducing the risk of other diseases. Menopause weight gain can have serious implications for your health. Excess weight increases the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Regular exercise can counter these risks.
Boosting your mood. Physically active adults have a lower risk of depression and cognitive decline.
PositivePause: How often should classes be taken, and is there anything that can be done at home between classes to build up the benefits?
Vicki: For best results and to make the most of your training at the barre we recommend taking a class with us at least 3 times a week. But really great results can be seen after just 6 sessions if you manage only 1 class per week. Like everything, it takes hard work and consistency, but its worth it!
Vicki is a keynote speakers at our PositivePause Feelgood Fair, on May 11th, at Richmond & Hillcroft Adult Community College. Find out more in the link below.
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