With baby #1 I gained… are you ready??… a whopping 50 lbs. Yeah… I got a bit big. So needless to say, with baby #2 on board as we speak, I’m a bit more mindful of what goes in my body, as well as my workout regime.
So I’ve been on hunt for a prenatal class that wasn’t just about breathing and stretching. Which, don’t get me wrong, are important. But guess what? Being pregnant doesn’t mean we can’t break a little sweat for nine (ok, 10) months.
Over on our sister site, Sassy, we recently did a review of a new ballet barre class and my first thought was… I want to do that! My second thought was… well, maybe next year post-baby. But good news, mamas! Flex is now offering Barre for Bumps… and after a few workouts I’m happy to report that it ticks all the right boxes – it’s of course baby-bump friendly, but it’s also a butt-kicking workout.
For those unfamiliar with ballet barre workouts, in essence they fuse together the best elements of ballet, pilates, sports conditioning and stretching. The moves are low impact but high intensity, with deep stretching following intervals of strength training. The routine is designed to evenly sculpt and quickly transform the entire body – trim and toned, long and lean… that’s the goal! And even though many moves are of course dance inspired, note that dance experience, grace and flexibility are not necessary or required in the slightest!
Because barre-style classes are typically low impact and sculpt and strengthen all the major muscle groups without elevating the heart rate into the danger zone, it offers a great workout for expecting mamas – that doesn’t sacrifice a bit of sweat and cardio. It addresses the whole package and tones virtually all your muscles –including the abs, pelvic floor – and since working up upright at the barre offers great stability, it’s a workout that can be done during all stages of pregnancy.
The class begins with a warm-up, followed by arm exercises that using light weights, and often incorporating some pushups or triceps dips. Then it’s over to the ballet barre and some pretty darn intense leg, butt and thigh exercises. There’s lots of variations of squats and plies (this being at the ballet barre and all), some done on the balls of the feet (for the love...!). There’s also a good deal of “seat” work, which basically means exercises that work your booty. Many of the exercises emphasis small movements, and typically they are very challenging and fatigue your muscles quickly. After that it’s on to more abs and a good amount of stretching and alignment, both at the barre and on the floor.
Straps, fitballs and other bits of gear are also incorporated throughout the hour for sculpting, stretching and core work, making each class slightly different. At times, to be honest, it’s pretty darn tough – sometimes surprisingly so (who knew the tiniest of movements could so… muscle-shaking intense) – but it’s all in an “I’m doing my body good” sorta way. And with the rockin’ soundtrack blasting it’s easy to get into the groove. And before you know it, it’s down to the mat for a final relaxing and invigorating stretch.
The Barre for Bumps group class takes place on Fridays at 11:30am.
Common Sense Note: As Sassy Mama we love a good workout, but be smart! Always consult your physician before starting a new workout regime during pregnancy.