Nasty but nice – Barre Balls and Barre Sliding Discs - Barre props

One of the reasons we love Barre Attack so much is that it really keeps you on your toes – physically and mentally. Just when you think you’ve learnt every possible variation, a barre instructor will bring spring a new one on you that works your body in fresh new ways and keeps your mind engaged during your workout. Using props like Barre Balls and Barre Sliding Discs is an ideal way to do this. Props create variety of movement, challenge muscles in new ways, provide opportunities to mix up the choreography of a class, demand a new level of concentration, and tend to destabilise the body in a way that makes it work harder and even more effectively. We love our props here at Barre Attack and we love teaching our new barre instructors how to get the most out of them. Here are a few of our favourites.

Barre Sliding discs

One of our barre instructors, Phoebe, loves the sliding discs because of the way they intensify every exercise. There’s a reason a chorus of groans go up when she tells her students to grab a set at the beginning of a barre class – and that’s because they know they are in for some seriously challenging work! “A perfect plank is already pretty tough,” says Phoebe. “But add a set of sliding discs under the feet and your core has to work extra hard to keep them from sliding away from you.” Similarly, when you’re executing core climbers, Brazilians or burpees with sliding discs, your butt, abs and legs have to work together to keep the movements smooth and controlled (especially when you’re working at pace). “When your feet are on the sliding discs for plank-based variations, you get no break at all – not even a tiny mini break from stepping your feet in and out. With burpees it’s tempting to let a swinging momentum pull you up – but this just puts the strain into your lower back. By keeping your toes pushed evenly and firmly into the discs and not letting your butt sink, your abs get to do all the work.”

Versatile and compact, the sliding discs a fabulous, low impact way to intensify all your barre exercises. They allow smooth, fluid movements that bely the incredibly hard work that’s required to complete them. These small, dark deadly gliders are one of a barre instructor’s most versatile tools. Grab yourself a set today and get sliding!

Barre Ball

The mini exercise ball looks so innocent and fun in all its squishy jaunty pinkness. But don’t be fooled – it is a super effective barre class prop for adding burn to a variety of exercises. The exercise ball is barre instructor Holly’s favourite prop for exactly this reason: “It’s got this nasty but nice element to it!” she says. “Used between the inner thighs, it challenges and supports at the same time by keeping the knees and ankles aligned while really helping you to switch on those inner thigh muscles which can be sometimes hard to engage.” When you first squish it between your thighs it feels great but a minute into your warm up parallel plies at the barre, and those thighs are burning like you never knew they could. Keep it in place for your pulses and pelvic tilts to get your barre class off to super energised start.

Whether you’re using sliding discs or the ball, it doesn’t have to be all sweat and pain and quivering muscles. At the end of a barre class, we love nothing better than to use those props to get even more out of our warm down and stretches. Lying over the ball can be a beautiful way to open up the upper thoracic which tends to be a tight area for most people. And using the sliding discs for your thread-the-needle series can make for a graceful way to finish up your workout.

You can book into our Advanced Sliding Discs course here and pop to the Barre Attack shop to stock up on your favourite props here. Or even better, come and get your prop action on with us in Bali at our August retreat! Barre training followed by sunset cocktails? Yes please!