The Creator of BarreFlow Wants You to Quit Making These Exercise Mistakes

The founder of BarreFlow, which just popped into the Philly area, drops some exercise truth bombs.

When you go to a barre class and they tell you to “Tuck your tail,” what do you do? Chances are, you really tuck, pushing your pelvis forward with all your might. Hey, we’re all overachievers here, right? But Karli Taylor, founder of the barre method BarreFlow, which just made its Philly-area debut at New Hope’s Level Body Studio, says you need to quit overachieving — doing more is not better in this case. In fact, Taylor, a fitness trainer and studio owner in Upstate New York, was driven to create BarreFlow after going to barre classes and noticing that so. many. people were tucking all wrong.

The horror!

As Taylor says, “The main thing about the tuck is that people think more is better. They think if they tuck their tail under it’s good — so more is better, right?” Wrong. As Taylor says, when you tuck too much, you put stress on your lower back which can lead to injury if you continue tucking this way class after class after class. In reality, Taylor says a proper tuck is really much more of a neutral pelvis. She puts it this way: Put your hands on your hips and imagine your pelvis is a bucket filed with water — you want to keep the water in. So, if you tilt too much either way, water is spilling out of the front or the back of the bucket. Taylor sent us some handy images for what an improper tuck versus a proper tuck look like below.

Left: Improper tuck; Right: Proper tuck.

Left: Improper tuck; Right: Proper tuck.

After realizing that people were doing all sorts of stuff wrong at barre studios, which have boomed in the past few years, Taylor decided to create BarreFlow, a barre method that incorporates elements of barre and corrective exercise with the flow of a vinyasa yoga class. The goal of BarreFlow is to help people move and function better, though you wouldn’t know it was a corrective fitness class if we didn’t tell you, because “If I told you you were going to a corrective workout class, you wouldn’t want to go,” Taylor says. (She’s totally right, right?) The method is now being taught at New Hope’s Level Body Studio, and Taylor has hopes of getting it into more studios around Philly. (If you are a studio owner who is interested, give her a shout!)

When I was chatting on the phone with Taylor — who has a lengthy list of certification credentials, including certifications as a personal trainer, corrective exercise specialist, yoga instructor, rehab specialist, and more — she dropped a few other truth bombs about exercise myths that I was pretty surprised to hear, and it would just be rude of me not to share them with you so here goes:

For one: The whole “You should never put your knee over your toe” when you do a lunge thing a myth, Taylor says. Putting your knee over your toe isn’t what will cause issues — what really matters is where your shoulders are positioned. Leaning your shoulders forward, which tends to happen in a stance where you are deliberately putting your knee over toe, puts pressure on your knees and ankles and can lead to injury. Some peoples toes are always going to go over their knees, because everyone is built differently, but saying “Don’t put your knee over your toe” is just the quickest way for trainers to avoid your shoulders leaning too far forward, Taylor says. Interesting, eh?

Next up: You never need to do another crunch ever again. Ever. Unless it’s by accident. “I tell my clients you should do one crunch every day: Half when you get out of bed in the morning and the other half when you lie down at night,” Taylor says. Why? Well, if you’re looking to flatten your stomach, crunches do the opposite, strengthening your rectus abdominis muscles which results in a strong, but pooch-y effect. Plus, they’re hard on your back and spine.

The more you know, you know?

You can find out more about BarreFlow here, and you can see when you can get in on the next class at New Hope’s Level Body Studio here.

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