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Instructor Insights - Martha Canning from Barrecore

How did you get into teaching at Barrecore?


I am a professional Contemporary based dancer and Barrecore was advertised online where I would usually look for dance auditions. I had never done a barre class before and remember thinking wow this is a fantastic body conditioning class for anyone but in term of supporting my dancing this is a great because you are strengthening multiple muscles at one time, whilst focusing on alignment, weight bearing and balance. 


How do you keep fit whilst travelling?


I'll be honest, if I am away for a short period of time I'll allow my body a break from the demands I put on it in my everyday life. I try to enjoy the exercise that might come with the travel.. Long walks, swimming, running with a view or I'll do some gentle yoga and meditation. Personally, I believe I am able to be more consistent in attending regular classes on top of my teaching and dance training/rehearsals if I have those breaks. If I'm on a longer trip and want to workout then a thera band is small to pack and allows for a various strengthening exercises and stretches. 


Apart from your own, what classes do you take?


Besides dance and barre I love to do yoga, I take jivamukti, vinyasa flow, yin and hot yoga classes whenever I can. I also really enjoy a slow and simple pilates class, I think it's so important to return to the basic mechanics of what your doing no matter how advanced you are because you get back what you put in. The simplest of exercises can often be the deepest, kindest to your body and most effective. I enjoy spin classes too for the cardio and sweat and in all the classes I take I need to feel I'm connecting with my mind body as much as my physical body.


What drew you to Barre classes?


Barre feels like everything I recognise from my training as a dancer which is why it made sense for me to teach it. It's a very technical workout, the stronger the technique the more benefits and the more interesting it becomes so you don't ever plateau in barre. I don't really consider myself a fitness instructor... I chose barre because it relates to my understanding and passion for dance and the body. 


What is the one piece of advice you would offer to those taking your class for the first time?


The one piece of advice I would give to someone new to my class is just be open to everything about the class from start to finish. I think as soon as we are out of our comfort zone, we do a position we don't recognise or we feel self conscious we begin to close off from everything but our inner monologue and then we watch the clock. This is when it's not fun anymore. If you can remain open minded even if you don't really think you’re getting it then your receptors are switched on and you'll learn something new each time you come and it will be fun. 


What makes Barrecore special?


Barrecore is an intelligent form of exercise with plenty of variation, your body and mind will achieve a lot within a short amount of time and people do feel the benefits quickly. We also have a very kind and supportive team!


What is the one mistake you see most often in your class?


Definitely the common mistake I have noticed is people not listening to their own body. I usually set up a position then build on that position to make it more advanced one thing at a time and it's always an option to do this. Although it's great to challenge yourself it's worth observing if the modified position is strong enough, is there more to find and explore in that first position before making it advanced. Often I'll see the advanced option being taken when the foundation of the position isn't strong enough yet. 


What should everyone do as part of their warm up/class prep?


If you can get to your mat at least 5 minutes before the class begins then focus on mobilising all the largest joints in the body through circular motions and oil them up before the amount of repetitions we are about to do and this will help to prevent injury. Have a moment to close your eyes and breathe deeply in through the nose and out through the mouth to connect your mind and body, let go of the days tension and encourage deeper abdominal breathing rather than a shallow breath. 


One tip for daily fitness you can do from anywhere?




a. An around the world plank. Begin in forearm plank, to side plank, into upward facing plank, back to side plank, finishing in high plank with wrists under shoulders. It's a great way to strengthen the whole body, build core strength as well as stretch waistline, open the chest and build on endurance. 


b. Stack your yourself tall thinking about posture, alignment, engaging pelvic floor and challenge balance by lifting off one foot, closing eyes or rising onto ball on the foot. Taking a moment to connect with your body, find core stability, hold yourself with more confidence and notice how much easier it is if you remember to breathe.


Favourite Quote/Mantra?


Listen to your breath. I find more energy, clarity, length, space and deeper connections when I observe and engage my breath with the movement or position.


 Find Martha at Barrecore, and follow her on Instagram for updates.