While barre is a ballet-inspired workout, it is way more intense then this video of Rob Gronkowski hanging out with a ballerina suggests.
A barre class uses the ballet barre for exercises that focus on isometric strength training. For NFL free agent Emmanuel Acho, it is a vital part of his workout. He said working out at Dancers Shape helped him recover from a pre-season MCL tear, back when he was playing for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Dancers Shape is an Austin, Texas based fitness studio where professional athletes like Acho have trained.
“They originally came in here looking for yoga and flexibility, and once we got a better understanding of what these guys do on their off season we thought we could dig a little bit deeper with the techniques we specialize in, Pilates and barre work,” studio owner Jennifer McCamish said in a video about her work with NFL players.
Her other clients have included Fozzy Whitaker, running back for the Carolina Panthers, Brian Orakpo, linebacker for the Tennessee Titans, Keenan Robinson, linebacker for the New York Giants, Derrick Johnson of the Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bears linebacker Sam Acho, according to Class Pass.
McCamish told Class Pass she developed a routine for them that targets the core and connective tissue surrounding the joints. This promotes optimal sports performance. She says this leads to improved balance, control, coordination on and off the field, flexibility, body awareness, strength, and fewer aches and pains during daily activities. The athletes would have to agree.
“On the field we’re flipping and falling on the ground, and 300 pound men are crashing into us,” Johnson said. “At Dancers Shape, we have Pilates and yoga and it forces you to bend your body in certain ways so when you get out on the field and something happens when you’re in an awkward situation, you won’t get hurt. Staying healthy is the main part here at Dancers Shape. The different poses that we do the different the stretches that we do, it kind of prolongs our career.”
But the class is more than just preventative. It is a form of recovery. Orakpo experienced a peck and hamstring injury and was feeling much better after McCamish’s class.
“I’m more flexible with my hamstring, my peck, my shoulder,” Orakpo said. “I have more range of motion from the different stuff we have been doing in the classes and that’s really been beneficial.”
However he wasn’t on board from the beginning.
“When we first came in here we were kind of skeptical about it,” Orakpo said. “You know you think yoga you think of a bunch of women and a bunch of ballerina type stuff to be quite honest with you.”
Now the players would recommend it it almost any guy. Sam Acho said it would be a challenge, because it is not just stretching like many people think. It’s an actual workout.
“They should be scared,” He said I was scared.”