Revealed! The exercise class that boosts your sex life too
Revealed! The exercise class that boosts your sex life too: It’s an oh-so-trendy workout, but ballet-inspired ‘barre’ also has a delightfully naughty history
- Louise Atkinson revealed how ‘barre’ classes can help to improve your love life
- ‘Barre’ is one of the fastest-growing fitness trends in gyms around the country
- The exercise was founded by free-love revolutionary Lotte Berk in 1959
- Niki Rein founder of ‘barrecore’ says the exercise strengthens the pelvic floor
- Instructor Chloe Hodgson, revealed the best moves to practice at home
As you scroll through the list of exercise classes at your local gym, you’re bound to find some which promote hardcore calorie burn, and others which offer stretch, strength or deep relaxation.
You’re less likely to find one claiming to improve your love life or bring a saucy sparkle to your eye.
Yet the whisper in changing rooms at gyms up and down the country is that one class is secretly doing precisely that. It’s rarely openly discussed, but it seems ‘barre’, one of Britain’s fastest-growing fitness trends, is enjoying a huge surge of popularity — and not just because of its toning effect on thighs and shoulders.
Louise Atkinson revealed how the fitness trend for ‘barre’ classes in gyms across Britain can be beneficial for toning as well as improving your love life
Whether you opt for ‘booty barre’, ‘core fusion barre’, ‘barrecore’ or ‘barre3’, you’ll do a sequence of strenuous ballet-style moves to pumping music. For much of the class you’ll have one or both hands resting on a ballet barre, and you will be told to make tiny repeated movements until your legs or arms start to shake.
It might look and feel like any other exercise, but every move is underpinned by a focus on building and maintaining ‘core strength’. This is the small, deep-seated network of muscles which wrap around the base of your spine and the organs in your abdomen, and, significantly, include the muscles of the pelvic floor.
Pregnancy and childbirth will typically give these muscles a battering and pelvic floor strength is known to nosedive at menopause, as diminishing hormone levels cause the muscles to weaken.
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Niki Rein, founder of the ‘barrecore’ method, says: ‘Barrecore workouts are a fantastic way to strengthen the pelvic floor. Nearly every signature posture begins by contracting this core muscle group.’ And she admits it can have a positive impact on your love life.
Interestingly, barre’s origins are deeply sexual. Its creator, Lotte Berk, was a free-love revolutionary who began teaching it in the U.S. in 1959. She invented the workout to help her recover from a back injury, but found the ballet moves, rehab exercises and yoga combined for a liberating atmosphere in her bedroom.
Free-love revolutionary Lotte Berk began teaching ‘barre’ in the US during 1959, she invented the workout to help her recover from a back injury
In those pre-Pill years, her message was nothing if not racy. At the time, Cosmopolitan Magazine pitched the workout as the best way to ‘build sexual confidence and competence’.And the fringe benefits are no different now. At regular intervals throughout a class, you are instructed to ‘engage your core’ with a conscious lifting and squeezing of the pelvic floor muscles. Plies or squats will be peppered with ‘pelvic squeezes’.
Lotte Berk didn’t pull any punches. She gave her barre exercises names like ‘The Prostitute’ and ‘Naughty Bottoms’. One was simply called ‘The Sex’. Devotees could even — allegedly — hope to achieve a ‘coregasm’ (an ‘exercise-induced orgasm’).
The small repeated actions are disarmingly exhausting and it can leave these little-used muscles in and around the pelvis burning. Most class members collapse in agony (and laughter) afterwards.
There is clearly something special about an exercise class that also reaps dividends in the bedroom. And who is going to argue with that?
How do you get a better love life in three easy moves?
Instructor Chloe Hodgson (chloespilates.com) gives her top three moves . . .
Instructor Chloe Hodgson recommends this hip bridge exercise for improving your love life at home
- Lie on your back on the floor, with feet and knees hip- width apart.
- Inhale, pull your belly button back to your spine and zip up your pelvic floor.
- As you exhale, draw your ribs down and roll your hips slightly to peel them off the floor. Lift them towards the ceiling, stopping when your shoulders, hips and knees are in one long straight line.
- Hold at the top, inhale, squeeze your buttocks tightly. Squeeze your pelvic floor. Slowly lower your hips to the floor and release.
- Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, one hand resting on the work top or the back of a chair.
- Inhale deeply. As you exhale, zip up your pelvic floor, draw your belly to your spine and tuck your tailbone under. Squeeze your buttocks. Hold for five breaths, then slowly release. Repeat 10 times.
Chloe suggests repeating this sumo-squat move ten times to exercise your pelvic floor
- Stand tall, feet wider than your shoulders, toes pointing out.
- Zip up your pelvic floor, push your weight into your heels and lower into a squat, pushing your bottom out.
- Tuck your tailbone in and hold the position (and your pelvic floor) for five breaths.
- Slowly rise back to standing, thrusting your hips forward, and give your pelvic floor one last big squeeze. Repeat ten times.
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