As instructors and educators, we all want to help our students get the most out of every workout. Barre is a unique form of exercise that requires students to not only learn new exercises but a new way of thinking about their form and how they move throughout class. Effectively communicating the following tips to our students will help them maximize each workout and feel successful at the same time.
- Focus on form first.
Form is important in every exercise modality, but it is especially important in barre when some of the moves are not intuitive. Help your students focus on their mind/body connection by giving detailed form cues and using imagery when possible. Every student learns differently. Try using a combination or verbal, visual, and tactile cues to make sure you are giving your students the cues THEY need.
- Options Options Options!
For every exercise you choreograph into your class, plan at least one modification and possibly a progression where possible. As group fitness instructors, we often have people of all fitness levels in our class, if we don’t have a game plan of how we are going to keep all levels moving comfortable, we are setting our students and ourselves up for failure. Although you may have “modification” and “progression” written out on your choreography, try to avoid calling them those names so your students don’t feel like they are cheating. My favorite way to present “options” is to teach the intermediate version of the exercise and then say…”If you need a little less try X and if you need a little more try Y.” That way everyone can perform the exercise that works best for them THAT DAY!
- Bigger is not always better in barre.
Help students understand that a smaller range of motion will challenge their muscles more in certain exercises. Most of the time, when students are performing a larger range of motion, they are doing so because they think they are getting more out of it. This is your time to educate them that smaller more controlled exercises can actually be harder. I love the cue “If you were wearing baggy pants, I couldn’t even tell your knee was bending.”
Encourage students to seek you out before or after class if they have questions or need individual form corrections. Letting students know you are available for additional help goes a long way in creating trust. We want our studios to feel like safe spaces where students can come to learn, be challenged, and have fun!
- Be consistent!
Helping your clients create consistency in their workouts will not only allow them to see results faster but will also help to create motor learning and muscle memory. Our job is to help our students reach their fitness goals, and they can’t do that without consistency.
- Place an emphasis on the flexibility segment!
Students don’t always recognize that the flexibility segment is just as important as the rest of the class. Educate students on how stretching helps their muscles recover and rebuild – maximizing the efficiency of their workout.
- Have fun!
Barre workouts are hard, sure, but they should also be a ton of fun. Make sure you are striving to create a fun, inviting, and empowering atmosphere every class!
These tips will not only help your students maximize their time in your class, but it will also help them leave class feeling successful. When our students feel successful, inspired, and motivated after finishing a workout with us, we know we have done our job correctly!