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Barre for Rehab

David is the Clinical Manager and Physiotherapist at The Forge Clinic, Richmond, Head Medic at Cobham Rugby and a PhD researcher and mentor at St. Mary’s University, Twickenham.

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David Silver BSc MSc MCSP is a Consultant Physiotherapist.

David first began to work closely with Vicki in 2017 when he observed that clients he had been referring on from his Physiotherapy Clinic to nearby Barreworks Studio rarely returned to him with recurring injuries.


Here is the actual email he sent to Vicki on 14th November 2017…


“Hi guys,  

This is David Silver the head physio at the Forge Clinic, over the road!


I have been meaning to reach out to you for some time. On a weekly basis I and the other therapists are advising patients on ongoing strength and movement work following treatment. 


Much of what I and the physio team do is standing and dynamic based rehab, which fits well with your programme. As such I have mentioned your name quite a few times and the feedback has been extremely positive.


It would therefore seem sensible for us to get a better idea of what you do for differing levels of ability.


Would it be possible to arrange a coffee and a meet up at some point?”

When Vicki and David did meet up, they both realised for the first time what an important role barre could play in the world of ‘mainstream’ Rehab. (Vicki had prior experience in the elite Sports arena, from working with Olympic Physiotherapist Katherine Ready exploring the application of barre to Prehab for Olympic athletes.) But Vicki and David discovered that there was huge scope for assisting ‘every day’ clients with back pain, neck pain, shoulder dysfunction etc.,


For David it was a means to refer his recovering clients to a training programme that would offer patients close supervision, controlled movement, posture correction – and crucially a return to enjoying movement. For Vicki it opened up a whole new population of clients who could begin with a dedicated Rehab class and transition into mainstream workouts, all the while crediting Barreworks (and The Forge) with their recovery. Win, win!


Some time later, Vicki and David created ‘Barreworks for Rehab’ a training module for Instructors trained in the Barreworks Foundation course designed to furnish them with the skills, knowledge and confidence to support clients from injury to recovery and help them re-discover the joy of movement.


We asked David to outline a ‘Rehab 101’ for Barre Instructors who might be keen to consider welcoming clients with movement limitation into their classes. If you would like to take a deeper dive into this area, have a look at our Barre for Rehab course here (link to page) where we cover each aspect in detail.

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Your ‘Barre for Rehab’ checklist…


Initial Assessments

Obtaining key information with clients who may be return to exercises, or have had a recent injury, is essential in maximising their Barre experience.


Assessment tools

There is a range of assessment tools that can be used to collect medical history, functional ability and psychological information from clients. These can be used to tailor programmes, set joint goals and as a comparison tool over time. Validated assessment tools can be used to demonstrate your classes impact.



Identifying medical information that could affect a client’s safety to exercise is essential. Knowledge of Red Flags (signs and symptoms of serious disease) and Yellow Flags (psychosocial barriers) is imperative.


Acute Injuries

A basic understanding of acute injury management can inform the adaptation of programmes to ensure clients can continue to move safely.


Chronic Injuries

Clients may have been, or are currently experiencing chronic, long term pain. Movement can seem challenging for people in pain, however it is frequently the most effective treatment. Guiding clients towards improved movement and less pain can be highly rewarding for instructors.


Pain education

Many people have a poor understanding and relationship with pain.

Building a better understanding of pain and how our brain and body interact can enhance a barre clients life experience considerably.


Communication & Language choices

Excellent verbal and non-verbal communication skills are what set the best instructors apart. Our language choices can either remove barriers and fear of movement, or hamper a client’s progress. 


Movement modifications

Having a large ‘Tool Box’ is essential to meeting client’s individual needs. Flexibility within programming increases client goal attainment and promotes retention. 

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