Updated: Sep 21, 2022
UpBeat Barre - a dance routine.
(insert "wika-wika" - you know - the sound the DJ makes for a double take).
How bout NOOO.
UpBeat Barre is not a dance class - it is a group fitness class - accessible to everyBODY.
Flashback to your dancing days (ok - I didn't have any of these so I might be making this up on the fly). BUT I digress. In a dance class when working on a routine - what did the instructor do? Likely, they showed you a grouping of moves in 32 count phrases to put all together in a spectacular 3 minute routine, breaking down each move and then moving directly to "ok, let's put it all together in 12345678, 2, 2345678." Bring back memories? Thought so.
Now flash forward - to present day (do you like my narration?). You're a newbie in a choreographed fitness class. Between each song, the instructor stops, tells you what to grab or keep and begins to show the class the first move in the next song, continuing with options then proceeds to show the next move with options, and so on - lasting roughly 1-2 minutes. Now PAUSE - answering honestly - do a mental check with your body at this moment. What is happening to your heart rate? What signal is your brain sending to your muscles. Are you retaining ALL the information the instructor is giving? And now here's a leading question - are you feeling overwhelmed at all?
Many of us, with or without a background in dance are drawn to fitness instructing and because we want our classes to feel successful (especially in choreographed routines), we feel the need to show our participants every breakdown of a move. Let's think about the science behind what is happening when your body stops moving for those 1-2 minutes within a class.
Heart Rate - when you stop moving, your heart rate naturally comes down (I know, I know - you KNOW this). While many classes, formats, or exercises are designed to allow for this break, this is not the purpose of UpBeat Barre. In UpBeat Barre, we want to limit the time between tracks so the heart rate stays slightly elevated (among many other reasons) - but this also leads us to ...
Brain Signals - the longer you rest between songs/tracks your brain begins to send signals to your body to release chemicals. When you work out, your metabolic chemicals are depleted and as soon as you begin that rest period those chemicals begin to restore themselves - this is great when weight lifting - going heavy then allowing a rest period, in which time ATP/creatine phosphate is replenished which allows you to go heavy for another set - bulking that muscle. Barre however, is muscle ENDURANCE. The goal of endurance training is to create muscles that are resistant to fatigue. The less time for rest the more your body is sent into that resistant state and your brain doesn't have time to send signals to start replenishing those metabolic chemicals until the end of the workout.
Retention of instructions - there's a reason Dora the Explorer says, "bridge, forrest, treehouse" - it's quick, snappy, and guess what - you remember it. If Dora said, "First we are going to come to a river, one option is to go left to the road, or you can just head straight over the bridge, then you'll go down the brick path a few miles and you'll pass a few houses, then the path splits and you've got three options ..." Did I lose you?? None of us have that kind of attention span - we may retain a few things - but mostly - we just don't - our brains aren't designed that way (okay maybe some people - I'm not trying to put you in a box here). TRUST your participants - even if they are new - they WILL catch on. Provide those options throughout the tracks, CUE because you CAN - (remember that mic we love? USE IT). Choreography repeats and the music is FELT - allow for that - they've got this.
This brings us to the SOUND OF SILENCE. We recommend no more than 20 seconds of rest/instruction/silence between tracks. If you need time between songs - silence tracks can be searched on all the music streaming platforms. For UpBeat, we have a Spotify and Apple Music playlist called (wait for it ...) - UpBeat Sound of Silence (we are so creative - insert applause). However! We do like to make rules and then break them - it's fine. When doing floor work - for participant safety - we do recommend more time between tracks to get classes set up safely so no necks are craning or backs straining (yes that was a purposeful rhyme - you're welcome) to see what the instructor is doing - but like - 30 seconds at most - you can be snappy with that floor work instructional too - remember retention of instructions is key.
So when your inner dance mom instructor comes out - go ahead and give her a pitch slap and keep those classes bumpin', moving, and UPBEAT.
***HERE ARE LINKS TO OUR SILENCE TRACKS VIA SPOTIFY AND APPLE MUSIC