July 08, 2021 10 min read
Barre is amazing for getting toned, building some muscle, and sculpting your body. If you find the grit and toughness of weightlifting or a Crossfit workout too much to handle, barre may be your new favorite training method.
Combining the discipline of ballet, the enjoyment of dance, and the burn of strength training, barre is an all-around great workout.
A barre workout is a total body workout comprised of small but effective movements. Unlike other types of training, like weight lifting or running, barre typically utilizes a series of repetitive isolation movements, which target one specific area at a time.
The name barre refers to the horizontal wooden structure used in ballet that is typically fastened to the wall but can also be free-standing. The barre provides support for ballerinas and ballerinos when practicing certain movements. In barre workouts, a ballet barre, as well as ballet-inspired movement, is typically used, thus giving the workout its name.
Barre workouts are usually done in a class setting with a group of people and one instructor. Many gyms host barre classes or you can find a barre studio, so finding an instructor is usually very easy. However, barre is simple enough to be done at home.
For those with sensitive tendons, joints, or muscles, doing high-impact exercises like running or heavy weight lifting is simply not an option. Barre moves focus on quick, compact movements typically utilizing just your body weight for resistance.
Additionally, utilizing support from a barre hold makes barre workouts a relatively safe option for the elderly or for anyone who may have physical inhibitions. However, barre can be made simpler or more complex to fit many different fitness levels.
Barre really requires no equipment. While classes typically take place beside a ballet barre, you can definitely get all the benefits of barre free of equipment. For at-home barre workouts, simply use a stable chair or wall.
Bodyweight is still highly effective and efficient for muscular strength training. However, you can incorporate light weights for added resistance. Mats are also optional, but even a soft carpet at home can suffice. This makes barre exercise highly accessible to those without gym memberships or the means to attend classes.
Barre is famous for its core-strengthening abilities. With an increase in core strength comes not only an increase in overall health, but also a large and noticeable improvement in your balance. Balance is important for everyday life and can help decrease your likelihood for injury. Additionally, adequate balance can heighten athletic ability, making you a better runner, cyclist, dancer, lifter, or whatever activity you may do.
Like yoga or pilates workouts, barre places a large importance on mind and body connection. Sessions will often end with a slow stretch, which not only relieves the tension created by the workout but also encourages mindful meditation.
In addition to the direct focus on the mind, working out, in general, is good for your mental wellbeing.
Not only does it release chemicals that result in feelings of happiness and pleasure, but exercise can also increase your confidence and physical health, which both have a direct impact on your mental health.
Barre workouts are often described as being highly enjoyable and even fun. Movements are formulated much like dance choreography and are typically paired with upbeat music. Furthermore, the class setting of barre creates a sense of community, which can make any exercise enjoyable.
As society evolves to become more tech-centric, our posture is suffering. Often we are hunched over in front of a computer, or suffer from terrible “tech-neck” from excessive use of mobile devices. Barre works to combat these types of postural problems by increasing muscular strength in the core.
Being inactive makes you more at risk for certain types of injury. Lack of muscle, as well as lack of mobility, creates severe tension. Tension can result in injuries like tendonitis or muscle strains and can be incredibly painful. Additionally, having more muscle can make you more capable in everyday life and allow you to perform certain tasks, like lifting heavy items, more safely.
Barre is considered a high-intensity workout because you’re almost always moving. This means your heart rate increases, making barre both a cardio and muscular workout. In addition to increasing the heart rate, barre also encourages muscular endurance and strength. The presence of muscle can increase the metabolism and help you burn more calories throughout the day, making barre a great tool for weight loss.
This program lasts only 7 days, but you’re likely to feel a great difference after just one session, so get your favorite playlist on and start moving!
Today’s focus is all about the upper body muscle groups. Proper strength in the upper body is essential for posture. For an added burn, try using lightweight dumbbells. Anywhere from 1 to 5 pounds of resistance is most recommended. However, if you aren’t using dumbbells, maintain beautifully extended fingers, known as port de bra in ballet.
Congratulations! That’s your first round done. Repeat these 5 steps for 3-6 rounds. Then, finish off with at least 15 minutes of slow, light stretching.
Today, we’ll focus on getting definition and flexibility in the lower body. You should feel engagement in the quads, glutes, inner thighs, hamstrings, and calves throughout.
Repeat these 5 exercises for 3-6 rounds. For added difficulty, add 15 seconds to the end of each exercise for pulsation. Pulsing is minimizing a movement by keeping it in the most difficult, highest tension portion of the exercise.
For example, for the first exercise, stay in the lowest depth of the squat and move up and down just an inch. Stretch the entire body for at least 15 minutes after your barre workout.
In two previous days, you should have gotten a good idea of the form and movement required for a barre workout. Today, we’ll put your barre skills to the test with a full-body barre workout.
Once again, you should repeat this circuit between 3 and 6 times.
Today, repeat day one’s workout. Add more resistance today than you did on the first day.
For day five, repeat day two’s instructions. Once again, add more resistance. Focus on perfecting the form of each exercise and creating a sense of fluidity.
Repeat day three’s program, but aim for more intensity through added resistance or a faster pace. Be mindful in your muscle engagement, remembering to keep the core engaged throughout.
The last six days probably took a lot out of you. Today you’re likely sore all over and might not even want to finish out this 7-day barre plan. That’s why the last day is relaxed and stress-free. Today we want you to focus on your breathing, your mind-to-muscle connection, as well as your mental health. Use today to stretch through movements and listen to your body.
Repeat this for 5 rounds for a quick and easy 10-minute workout. Then, stretch the body for at least 15 minutes.
Barre fitness works to sculpt and tone through fun ballet-inspired movements. Pair this with a high-quality muscle-building supplement, and you’re on your way to becoming stronger and leaner.