Ballet barre Pilates offers a great core workout; but, like any exercise, there is a risk of injury. To keep yourself off the sidelines, remember these important injury-avoidance tips during every barre workout:
1. Watch your posture.
Barre exercises are meant to be performed with your hips, knees and ankles turned out. If you do not have a background in dance, this can feel unnatural. However, this posture is necessary for the movements in class. A good teacher will help you attain the right position for every move during your barre workout.
2. Remember that it is a class, not a competition.
It is important to always work to your own abilities instead of trying to keep up with the people around you. By working at your own pace, you can gradually increase your abilities without risking painful injuries. The only person you are in any competition with is the person who you were yesterday. Focus on individual improvement instead of being as good or better than everyone else.
3. Focus on your core.
Draw your abdominal muscles up and in during each movement. This keeps you safe during exercises. It also helps you build more core strength over time; this will protect you from injury not just at your ballet barre class, but also during other day to day and athletic activities.
4. Tell your instructor about any past injuries.
If you have an old knee injury or another issue, this can increase your chances of being injured at barre class if you do not make changes. Take a few minutes before your first class to discuss any limitations with your instructor. She can help you with modifications to poses that are easier on your body.
5. Don’t overdo the tuck.
Tucking your pelvis is part of how you get the proper poses in ballet. However, in a barre class, excessive tucking can do more harm than good. This position can put more stress on your back, knees and hips. Instead, keep your spine in a neutral position. You will still get the benefit of every move. You’ll also avoid damage to delicate tissue.
6. Don’t try to push through pain.
The old adage “no pain, no gain” has been proven wrong in study after study. If you are experiencing pain that is more intense than the feeling of effort, it is time to stop. Do not try to push farther in a pose when your body is resisting. Listen to your body’s cues and stay within your limits. This allows you to build up endurance and flexibility over time.
As with any exercise, it is important to take on challenges gradually and to avoid pushing yourself beyong your body’s limits. Common sense precautions can help you keep your barre classes challenging and fun without leading to painful injuries.