WE MAY NOT ALL be blessed with the grace of a ballerina, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have legs like one.

We’re following in the footsteps of some of L.A.’s lithest legs (Victoria’s Secret models like Alessandra Ambrosio are fans!) and getting hooked on Tanya Becker’s Physique 57. With her unique style of barre, Tanya helps sculpt bodies around the world (the Hamptons, New York, Beverly Hills, and Dubai to be exact) into top condition.

Tanya is breaking down a few of the most common mistakes she sees clients making at barre – and is showing us exactly how to fix them. Get more out of your next barre class, avoid potential injury, and achieve Tanya’s VS Fashion Show level results with a few of her useful pointers…

9 Mistakes You’re Making at Barre + How to Fix Them

Using light weights

Unless you’re working with an injury, go heavy. You’ll feel the burn and shed more calories. Eight-pound weights are my go-to. (Nervous about making the jump from five pounds to eight pounds? Grab both and trade out as needed!)

Not committing

It’s easy to not want to come back to a class that is incredibly hard and kicks your butt. As human beings we are not wired for discomfort. However, our bodies change when we are challenged (which is why our Interval Overload technique is so very, very effective). When you commit to coming three to four times per week, you will gain endurance and stamina and your body will transform! Don’t quit before the change.

Not using grippy socks or workout slippers

Our carpet is awesome because it provides a low-impact surface and is easier on your joints. But without the right foot grip, you may (as in, definitely will) slide. Personally, I love wearing Reebok slippers (we sell them in studio!) – you can go deeper into positions without losing form, and they look great on.

Being self-conscious

Group fitness classes can feel intimidating. Clients will say, “Don’t watch me, I’m not coordinated,” or “I’m not good at this,” or “I’m not flexible enough.” We re-dub that self-talk track playing in our heads and replace it with what I call affirmative thinking. Also, nobody’s watching you! Class is challenging and most people are focusing on themselves, their form and making it through their thigh set.

Only taking one type of class

We have so many great options, whether you want more cardio (check out S.B.T. – Sweat Burn Tone, Cardio Burn and Amped Up!) more abs (try Arms & Abs in 30 or Mat 57), or something at a different pace or incorporating different disciplines, like Physique Yoga. Change things up and tone body parts you didn’t know you had.

White-knuckling the barre

Over-gripping makes you tense your shoulders and takes the work (and results) away from your postural muscles. While working, you want to keep your shoulders “melting” down your back, and your heart and chest “open” when doing exercises at the barre.

Holding your breath

Most clients resort to shallow breathing the tougher it gets. Do the opposite: breath deeper the more challenged you feel. (I do this outside in the real world, too and highly recommend it!)

Pushing your abs too far out

When you contract a muscle, it’s natural for it to “pop out” a little. However, when it comes to doing curl work, you want to continue to check in to make sure your abdominal wall doesn’t overly protrude. Imagine you have 30-pound brick on your middle helping press it “down” instead of out.

Leaving class before the stretches

There’s a reason we do the stretches at the end of class. Your body has the right amount of warmth to allow the muscles to lengthen and increase suppleness. It also reduces lactic acid, which cuts down on next-day soreness. It’s a great way to transition, recharge and rejuvenate before heading back out into the world.

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