Barre none: Lainey Solomon ’22 leads online workouts for Brandeis community

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Barre none: Lainey Solomon ’22 leads online workouts for Brandeis community

a barre workoutPhoto/Getty Images

An athlete conducting barre exercises

By Julian Cardillo ’14April 6, 2020

The class meets Tuesday nights, and participants, armed with workout mats, come ready to break a sweat.

The barre class, led by Lainey Solomon ’22, doesn’t actually include a barre, the traditional railing attached to a mirrored wall that allows participants to see their form during class. Nor does it take place in the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center dance studio, where fitness classes are usually held year-round. Nor do the participants actually show up.

In March, as students and faculty switched to online learning, and non-essential university staff started working remotely,  athletics created a new program for the campus community to stay in shape at home. Solomon leads the popular class from her home in Philadelphia using the online platform Zoom. Dozens of Brandeisians show up virtually.

She is one of several fitness teachers helping the Brandeis community stay in shape during this time when it would be tempting to become a couch potato. Fitness coordinator Kat Page is hosting a guided running program every week, Tingesh Beyene, MA’20 is running flow yoga every Friday and Sara Getzoff ’21 is hosting ZOOMba.

Lainey Solomon

Photo/Lainey Solomon

“The class was very excited when I announced that Brandeis athletics was virtualizing barre through Zoom,” said Solomon, a double major in chemistry and French. “People really love it. It’s a good community and they like the workout and how it makes them feel.”

Barre is an intensive physical workout based originally on ballet, though most of the positions are similar to those in yoga and pilates and prior ballet experience isn’t required. The workout sometimes involves resistance bands and hand weights and focuses especially on the arms, glutes, legs and abdomen.

“Barre requires holding positions for a long time, but you make small movements, too,” Solomon said. “For instance, I might have you do a wall-sit and move your heels up and down. It’s a tiny movement and it also requires holding most of your muscles still.”

Solomon, who ran track and swam in high school before incorporating barre and yoga into her exercise routine, says barre also helps practice mindfulness.

“Mindfulness comes from the breaths you take with each movement — you are training your body to breathe through stress and chaos,” Solomon said. “When your muscles are shaking, your body is feeling the chaos of the burn but your body continues breathing at a steady pace. It’s great training for any time something stressful happens.”

Most of Solomon’s classes draw about 35 people, split among Brandeis undergraduates, graduates, staff and faculty, and she keeps a chat bar open in Zoom in case anyone has questions or difficulties performing an exercise.

After graduation, Solomon wants to teach chemistry and barre.

“It’s a huge part of my life,” she said.

If you want to join Lainey Solomon’s barre class, or any of the Brandeis Athletics Home Fitness classes, visit the Brandeis Judges website, which has also curated a list of off-campus resources for working out at home.