04/17/2015 08:05 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

8 Tips for Your First Barre Class


via Joyride Photo

So you're ready to take your first barre class. Congratulations! You are on your way to longer, leaner muscles! But first, there are a few things this barre instructor thinks you should know before you step into the studio:

  1. Arrive Early. Your instructor will want to talk to you about the things you will need (e.g., grippy socks) and some of the terms she will use throughout class, just so you're not totally blindsided when she says, "Use your abs to tuck your hips!" Also, make sure you inform the instructor of any relevant injuries that might affect your ability to do certain movements. She can give you modifications to have the best class possible.
  2. Come Prepared. You can wear regular socks to your first class but if you fall in love with barre fitness, which you more than likely will, you'll want to invest in a good pair of grippy socks for when the arch of your foot is on the barre to stretch and to hold a good, solid plank.
  3. Focus on Posture. Good posture is key to a good barre class. Keep your core engaged and shoulders down throughout every movement. This will help train your body to hold perfect posture in and out of the studio.
  4. Think Tiny Movements. When working a specific muscle, for example, your seat, you'll want to squeeze your seat tightly to begin, then layer the contraction with small movements. Your tuck should be so tight that your back doesn't arch when you move your leg against the tuck. This goes for any muscle group. Engage the muscle tightly and work within the contraction.
  5. Use Your Core. Strong abs lead to less back pain. Keep your core tightly engaged in any movement during your barre class to strengthen and tone your six pack.
  6. Listen Closely. Your instructor will tell you everything you need to be doing with your body. Keep your ears open so you know what's going on. And if you're confused, check someone else's form (preferably another instructor or long-time veteran) to see what you should be doing.
  7. Close Your Eyes. To get the mind-body connection required for barre fitness, there are some points during class where you'll want to close your eyes and focus on the muscle you are working. Doing this will really help you understand the movement.
  8. Prepare to be Sore. Your entire body is going to hurt like hell the next day. Embrace it! And go to your next class while you're still sore. Keep your body moving!

Overwhelmed? Don't be! Your instructor will talk you through everything you need to do, and if something hurts, don't do it. Look to classmates for help or ask your instructor anything after class. They are there to help you get the body you want.

Most of all, be prepared to work! It's going to be difficult but its key that you stick with it. Don't be discouraged if you fail miserably the first time. It will take three to five classes to really feel like you know what you're doing. Then, go back three to four times a week to achieve the quickest results.

What are you waiting for? Find your nearest studio and get ready for the best workout of your life!