What the Heck Is a Barre Class? 5 Reasons It’s Giving People the Body of a Ballerina

Barre: A different kind of happy hour. Aside from waking up the prima ballerina in you, there are actually many reasons to take a barre class.

Barre classes are no-impact, calorie burning, strength building exercises. Barre isn’t just ballet — it’s fused with Pilates, yoga, and strength training with light weights for a total body workout.

See the reasons to take a barre class and how it can transform your fitness routine.

Barre Class 101: The Origins

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Barre classes are getting bigger and more in-demand with time. They popped up in specialty studios and gyms and have been a growing trend since then. This full-body and low-impact workout combines yoga, Pilates, and ballet moves for optimum fitness results.

Many say that barre classes basics are inspired by the Lotte Berk method. Lotte Berk, a talented German-born dancer and teacher, developed her ]own method of exercise. Drawing on ballet moves and positions and concentrating on building core stability, she went on to create one of the trendiest concepts of the 21st century.

We can’t talk about barre classes without explaining the central role of the bar itself. This primary piece of equipment will help you keep your balance. It will stabilize you while you focus on isometric strength training — meaning holding your body still while contracting specific muscles.

Expect to work with other equipment too, including yoga straps, Pilates softballs, light-handled weights, or yoga mats.

If you’re looking for some new exercises to try out or a fitness routine to get you back into working out, barre fanatics swear that one can see — and feel — great results within the first sessions.

Want to know how the boutique studios and specialty classes could cultivate such cult followings? Read on to discover the top reasons to take a barre class this year!

Top 5 Reasons to Take a Barre Class

1.) Barre Classes Improves Your Posture

Improving your posture gives your hard-earned muscles a good hanger to hang on, but they also can relieve joint and back pain. Proper posture can even improve brain function and align your organs for more efficient function.

Sit up tall, lengthen longer, pull the abs in, relax the shoulders, and exhale. That’s the posture you want all the time.

Barre class practices this for one hour. You can’t help but take it with you after class. Breathe better and with more confidence after concentrating on your posture at the barre.

How to Do a Barre Posture Workout

  1. Position yourself next to a bar, a chair, or a countertop with one hand on the bar. This hand will stay at the bar throughout the exercise. Put the other hand on your hips.
  2. Put your legs together and plant your feet to the ground. Bend your knees slightly while keeping your balance.
  3. Lengthen up by pressing on your feet and keeping a straight posture.
  4. Slouch slightly by curving your back inwards. Focus on your thighs, and then bring your back to the straight posture.
  5. Repeat.

2.) Barre Classes Build Your Abs

Most Pilates-inspired abs exercises in a barre class target the core, and for good reason.

Pilates is centered around the core for a no-cheat burn targeting your deep transverse abdominals that stabilize your torso. You are essentially working from the inside out. These abs exercises yield a trimmer tummy and keep your spine safe.

How to Do a Barre Abs Workout

  1. Position yourself next to a bar, a chair, or a countertop.
  2. Start with a wide plié position with feet pointing outwards.
  3. Bend the knee closer to the bar and lean towards it while the other knee remains straight. The foot next to the bar needs to stay firmly planted on the ground during the whole exercise.
  4. Raise your arm above your head and point it toward the furthest point you can reach, all while keeping it straight. Your fingers and toes should make a virtual diagonal straight line in this position.
  5. Bend your knee and arm towards your abs while stabilizing yourself with the bar.
  6. Inhale when you straighten your body and exhale when you bend it.
  7. Repeat.

3.) Barre Classes Strengthen Your Glutes

Who doesn’t want that part of the body to be tighter? The vanity muscle of the female body is the booty, and improving this area is one of the most common reasons to take a barre class.

Lift, squeeze, lengthen and strengthen all while using your own body weight for impressive improvement. The glutes get their own section of a barre class with similar isometric work and high rep pulsing exercises, but you are working them throughout the entirety of the class. The behind will not rest because the barre class keeps the core tight throughout every exercise.

Barre class’s own version of the squats will get you a tighter booty to flaunt.

How to Do a Barre Glutes Workout

  1. Position yourself next to a bar, a chair, or a countertop. Plant your feet to the ground, hip-distance apart, with the toes pointing outwards.
  2. Start with a standing position, with one hand gripping the bar to stabilize the body. The hand stays there the whole duration of the workout.
  3. Bend your knees and get down with your feet still planted. This looks like a standard plié, but the similarities end here.
  4. When getting up, keep the leg next to the bar straight, and bring the toes of the other foot towards the inside of that leg, forming a triangle with both your legs.
  5. Lift your hands when doing the first half of the plié and bringing them back down when getting up.
  6. Repeat.

4.) Barre Classes Sculpt Your Arms

Think you have to lift heavy weights to sculpt your arms? Think again. Three-, two-, and, even one-pound weights can create a wave with no jiggle.

Barre classes use dumbbells during fitness routines, but you’ll work more than just your biceps. Triceps, shoulders, lats, mid-back, and pecs receive attention with a lot of repetitions and different positions.

It might sound easy, but the exercises will challenge you to keep your overall form and body placement while your arms reach fatigue. The lighter weights are utilized to their fullest, working deep to stabilize muscles in positions that cannot be executed with a heavy dumbbell. The other upside to light weights is increased muscular endurance.

Here is how to use weights to tone your arms in barre class.

How to Do a Barre Arm Workout

  1. Stand straight and bring your heels together with the toes pointing outwards.
  2. Bend your knees slightly, squeeze your glutes together, and pop your hips. Keep this position throughout the whole workout.
  3. Bring your elbows in on both sides. Keep them glued tightly to your sides while you bend your arms and make your hands go all the way in towards your shoulders and all the way out towards your thighs. Squeeze the muscles as you go.
  4. Inhale as you lift your hands and exhale as you let them go back down.
  5. Repeat.

5.) Bare Classes Tone Your Legs

Ever seen the legs of a dancer? Those are some powerful stems. Barre classes incorporate exercises of ballet barre to tone and sculpt your legs with isometric strength training and small movements.

Lower body workouts generally target different muscles, but barre legs workouts make your body work from the ground up to change the musculature of your legs. Working these big muscles of the body can burn up to 500 calories per class too!

Exercises for your thighs incorporate various chair poses or a playground ball. You will also notice that there will be a lot of pulsing and squeezing in different positions, as well as rising up on your toes and putting your weight in your heels.

Sometimes the muscles even shake and quiver. That means you’ve reached fatigue and are working past it to change your body. You will feel stronger with each class.

How to Do a Barre Legs Workout

  1. Face the bar, a chair, or a countertop. Stand straight with both of your hands on the bar. Make sure you are in a comfortable position with your toes facing onwards.
  2. Bend one leg up slightly and point its toes. Then, bring your toes to the back until your leg is straight and pointing to the back. Keep your legs parallel to each other.
  3. Squeeze as you go and repeat.

To make it slightly more challenging, bend your other leg slightly while you do this exercise. Make sure your foot stays flat on the ground.

Barre Class Tips to Keep in Mind

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There are lots of reasons to take a barre class, but you’ll want to use some strategies to get the most out of your classes and have those reasons work for you. Here are some essential tips.

Register Online 

If you would like to attend a barre class in a fitness studio, visit their website or social media pages to figure out how you can book your spot.

Because the classes generally have limited places, it’s better to sign up in advance than to show up at the studio and find out you won’t be able to take the class.

Practice at Home

While there are many reasons to take a barre class, some might think that you absolutely need a real barre to make it happen. This is not the case.

Whether you can only spare a few minutes per day to workout or don’t have a gym offering barre classes, you can always practice at home. You may only need a yoga mat to make it happen!

Wear Comfortable Clothes

Be comfy in your skin. Choose yoga pants or shorts to allow for more movements and non-slip socks to keep your feet steady.

Seek Feedback From the Veterans

We’re not going to lie. A barre class can be hard at first.

Don’t hesitate to ask regular class-goers for advice and guidance when you’re having trouble with something.

Remember: It’s not a dancer’s only club, everyone is welcome. After just one class, you’ll feel lifted, sculpted and above all, worked out from head to toe. Barre class is a ballet boot camp worth checking out, so sign up for a class today. See you at the barre!

5 reasons it’s giving people the body of a ballerina

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