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The

Foundation

Manual

a comprehensive guide to building a great barre program


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Table of Contents Introduction.....................................................................................................................6 The Method.....................................................................................................................9 The Principles...............................................................................................................15 The Essences ...............................................................................................................45 The Workout.............................................................................................................169 Merrithew Health & Fitness™ Education..................................................234 Equipment & Accessories..................................................................................236


Introduction

Using the Manual

This manual was designed primarily as a resource for instructors participating in the Total Barre™ Foundation Course presented at one of over 100 Merrithew Health & Fitness™ partner training centers around the world or at select fitness conferences.

This manual is intended, not only as a visual guide to be used when teaching classes, but also as a complete reference handbook. The manual is divided into sections that provide instructors with in‑depth information and tools that can be used to improve the quality of teaching.

It is also an invaluable tool for group fitness instructors, personal trainers, dance instructors, mindbody professionals or movement specialists wishing to incorporate a comprehensive barre program into their offerings.

The Method

The Essences

The systematic approach to this program provides the

The Biomechanical Movement Essences section of the

framework for building and modifying barre classes. The

manual provides an in-depth analysis of the exercises being

Fully illustrated with step-by-step instructions, this easy-to-use guide allows instructors to pull out individual elements or sections of the workout to incorporate into any type of one‑on-one or group session, while containing all the information needed to expertly teach a full-body barre class.

presentation of the segments will enable instructors to adjust,

performed in all 11 segments, expansive teaching tips and

modify or expand the specific programming in each section.

a unique Be Aware section outlining specific matters that

The Principles Adapted from the STOTT PILATES® Five Basic Principles, these biomechanically based body awareness fundamentals

by photographs, pointing out correct versus incorrect positioning, placement or execution.

are integral to the effective teaching and practice of all

The Workout

Total Barre exercises and sequences. This section provides

Here, each movement of the workout is listed along

a detailed breakdown of the principles accompanied by

with exercise names and movement descriptions, counts,

descriptive images to illustrate the pertinent points.

repetitions and musical cues, essence, positional information

The Principles are: Breathing

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require greater attention. Each exercise is accompanied

Pelvic Placement

and transition, and suggested length and tempo of music. The accompanying photos for each movement are large enough so they can be used as a quick-glance reference while teaching a class.

Rib Cage Placement & Stabilization Scapular Movement & Stabilization Head & Cervical Placement Hip, Knee, Ankle & Foot Placement

Legend Within the workout section, symbols and colors are used to identify various aspects of the choreography.

exercise names are printed in PINK



i J Q

prefaces the music track length and tempo plus suggestions on how to modify them

denotes repetitions of the exercise or section establishes the count for the music introduction

represents transitions between exercises or segments introduces options and variations to spice things up  on last rep refers to the movement performed on the last repetition of an exercise

illustrates an example of correct positioning

offers additional information of note

indicates the illustrated position is incorrect

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The Essences

Segment Warm Up Spinal Mobility – Flexion, Extension, Rotation & Side Bending

Spinal Extension Spinal Extension 4x (4 counts) in:  press down on Barre, extend spine, reaching chest to ceiling

As the start of the workout, Segment 1 begins with a focus on the connection between breath and physical movement. Breathing well is integral to any workout and can help to establish an inner focus and relief of stress and anxiety. Effective breathing can contribute to efficient movement patterns necessary for increased strength and mobility, and allows the body to move more freely. Without efficient breath, muscular rigidity can occur, leading to tension. Breathing can also establish an internal rhythm – particularly when moving to music – enhancing movement quality and developing a deeper connection.

ex:  return to neutral

Biomechanical Movement Essences Breathing

Spinal Mobility

w focus

w warm

on the breath and its effect on the rib cage, spine and rhythm of movement

w bring

awareness of the physical effects of inhalation and exhalation

w bring

awareness of inhalation and exhalation and the effect on rhythm of movement

up the spine in all planes of movement

w use

a slower pace to breathe deeply while mobilizing the spine

Shoulder Girdle Mobility w use

the breath to allow for freer movement of the scapulae to avoid rigidity

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When extending the thoracic spine, there should be a sense of muscular support of the rib cage and the pelvis on the femurs. Avoid pushing the ribs forward and extending the lower back. The first time through this section of the workout, an inhalation is suggested allowing extension of the thoracic spine continuing into the cervical spine.

As the spine extends, encourage a natural rhythm of scapular mobility with stability as the shoulder blades gently retract and depress. Avoid excessive muscular tension. The second time through, an exhalation is suggested during the Spinal Extension to encourage a deeper engagement of the abdominal muscles and greater support down to the pelvis.

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be aware

approx. 102 approx. 4 minutes

beats per minute track length

Start Position facing the Barre, legs parallel, hip-distance apart, pelvis and spine neutral, hands on the Barre

8-count music introduction Perform all exercises on one side, then repeat entire sequence on the other side

Supporting the spine in a neutral alignment creates optimal shock absorption for the entire spine, preserving the natural curves and preventing injury.

Begin by establishing awareness of a neutral position of the spine in order to work all systems (neuro-muscular, skeletal and fascial) of the body effectively and efficiently.

Loss of abdominal support. Losing muscular support of the spine and the pelvis on the femurs can result in over‑extension of the lumbar spine creating tension in the lower back.

Over-extending the cervical spine. Awareness of the eye focus contributes to good cervical alignment during movements of the spine. Allowing the chin to lift too high can cause the cervical spine to over-extend and may cause tension in the neck.

Eyeline is important. Misalignment of the cervical spine and neck tension can occur if the eyeline doesn’t shift in unison with the movement. The eyes should lift as the spine extends rather than having them stay focused forward.


The Essences: Segment k Warm Up k

Rotation with Spinal Extension & Flexion

Side Bend Rotation with Spinal Extension & Flexion

Side Bend 2x slow (4 counts) 4x faster (2 counts)

2x slow (4 counts) 4x faster (2 counts)

free arm reaching out to side

in:  press one hand down on Barre, reach opposite arm to ceiling

in:  reach arm to ceiling

ex:  rotate and circle arm back

ex:  flex to opposite side, flexing both knees

in:  return, reaching arm to ceiling

in:  reach arm to ceiling, extend knees

ex:  rotate toward Barre, reach arm over Barre, flex knees and thoracic spine

ex:  return arm to shoulder height

J on last rep: lower gesture arm in front of body to prepare for Side Bend

In this first segment use the breath to help mobilize the spine into flexion and extension. Now, combine rotation with extension to open up and lengthen through the anterior wall of the spine and the chest. Inhale and start to lift the chest to the ceiling on the rotation, exhale, feel the connection of the abdominals as the arm reaches back and the spine extends.

On the return, inhale and feel the lift of the torso to come back toward the Barre and exhale to connect the abdominal muscles to flex the spine. The breath for the 2x slow is given. When doing the 4x faster, inhale to rotate and extend, exhale to return.

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There should be a feeling of the spine lengthening up and over into the side bend. This helps avoid any unnecessary compression of the vertebrae and allows space for expansion of the rib cage.

Maintain a continuous lengthened curve laterally, supported with a sound structural connection from the feet to the top of the head and avoid locking any joints. Allow the cervical spine to continue the lateral flexion to the same degree. Ensure there is some space between the elevated arm and the side of the head.

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be aware

be aware

Rotation initiates from the ground. Avoid locking the pelvis in place and restricting movement during spinal rotation as this can create shearing forces in the lumbopelvic region causing pain and injury.

Lateral flexion of the spine should occur through the whole body from the ground through the feet, ankles, knees, hips.

Rigidity and tension. Too much depression of the shoulders causes rigidity and tension in the upper body inhibiting movement of the thoracic and cervical spines, shoulder girdle and arms.

Lack of mobility. If there is a lack of mobility or awareness of how to rotate efficiently, there can be a tendency to substitute lateral flexion rather than rotation of the spine causing compression and increased tension.

Elevating the shoulders. When the arms are brought to shoulder height, there is a tendency to lift from the shoulders causing tension. Lowering the arms slightly below shoulder level re-establishes proper alignment and muscular support.

Sinking into the hips. Lengthen the torso into the side bend to maintain a continuous curve from the ground to the top of the head versus sinking into the spine or hips. Lack of support can lead to shearing or compression in the lumbo-pelvic area causing tension and pain.

Elevating the shoulders. Elevating the shoulders and side bending just the thoracic spine instead of the entire spine can cause tension in the thoracic and cervical areas as well as the muscles of the shoulder girdle.

repeat from beginning, but with just two sets of Spinal Extension and Spinal Flexion, reverse breath on flexion and extension, rotate and side bend to the other side


Total Barre Manual (Sample)