It seems like every time we look there’s a new type of workout class that’s gaining momentum as the “next best” thing. For awhile, that’s been Barre classes. Before you head to your local “boutique” fitness studio and join in, you may be wondering if Barre classes are worth the hype? Can you get a complete workout with Barre classes? So, let’s get into that shall we?
What is Barre?
Barre is inspired by ballet and aims to create long and lean muscles through isometric exercises and small controlled movements. Barre also involves targeted strength exercises focused on the core muscles and other stabilizing muscles such as those in the hips and shoulders to improve flexibility and posture.
Barre isn’t typically considered a “beginner” workout, as exercises typically involve slowly working through a range of motion, for example, holding poses or very slow pulsing movements, which put added stress on the muscle or joint being worked. Think of how you feel holding a plank if you’re just starting to exercise and have a low-threshold for physical activity, many of the exercises involved in barre will give you a similar feeling. While beginner barre classes are often offered at studios, many regard it as a workout for those who already are fairly fit (but challenging yourself isn’t a bad thing either!).
What are the Benefits of Barre Classes?
One of the things many people enjoy about Barre is the atmosphere and community. Barre is typically offered by smaller “boutique” fitness studios like XTHERAPY Athletics that allow for a greater sense of community and feelings of comfort.
Physically, Barre works on your core strength which is an important part of fitness and overall wellness. It can also improve your flexibility, posture and functional movements while contributing to the development of long, lean muscles.
Barre is considered a fairly low-impact workout, meaning it’s a great choice for athletes recovering from injury, pregnancy and post-partum and those that deal with chronic pain or other conditions that require low-impact fitness.
Can I Use Barre As My Main Workout?
Technically, yes. You can use barre as your main workout but if your goal is to see real physical changes you may need to consider using it as a fun addition to your regular cardio and strength training routine. Luckily many of the studios that offer barre classes also offer classes that allow you to work on the other important areas of fitness such as spinning or HIIT workouts for cardio and strength and yoga for endurance, flexibility and restoration.
If weight loss is part of your fitness goal, first and foremost you need to ensure you’re eating healthily and doing so with the help of a doctor or dietician if necessary. Diet aside, you need a well-balanced exercise routine if you’re looking for significant, lasting changes to your fitness and barre can be a fun addition to your routine but strength training and cardio are the most important areas to focus on.
What to Expect In a Barre Class
Despite barre taking inspiration from ballet, you don’t need to know how to dance to take a barre class! As with most fitness classes you will work through a warm up, exercise routine and then cool down.
A warm up will often include the use of light weights, bodyweight and stretching to wake up your muscles and get them ready for the workout ahead. Once warmed up the workout will start by getting set up at the bar (yes, there’s actually a ballet bar in barre class!) to work through any standing exercises in the routine. The bar will be your support for your standing exercises as you build up your balance and strength. When working through floor exercises the bar may be used for certain core exercises as well. Once your workout is complete you will be guided through a cool down, and that’s it!
Barre may sound intimidating but its structure is like most other fitness classes you may attend. While many recommend barre for those who already have a fair amount of fitness experience, most instructors are happy to be flexible and make adjustments when possible to suit your needs and fitness level, just ask!
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