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Barre: Fitness Inspired by Dancers

Barre: Fitness Inspired by Dancers

By: Kaylee Randall - Contributing Blogger


Barre workouts have exploded onto the fitness scene and the phenomenon continues to grow rapidly. Take a stroll through any major city and it seems like there’s a barre studio on every corner. Have you been dying to give it a try but aren’t sure what exactly a barre class is? You’re not alone.

The original concept for barre was developed by London-based ballerina, Lotte Berk in the late 50s. But don’t let the ballet barre and mirrors scare you away -- you won’t be required to bust a move! Barre is a loose combo of ballet, yoga, and Pilates. But it’s very low-impact and a great option for beginners as well as more advanced students.

Here’s what you can expect from a barre class.

The Dancer Body

While you won’t be performing any pirouettes or leaps, barre workouts are inspired by dancers. Well, dancers’ bodies to be exact. The goal is to lengthen muscles, improve posture, and merge strength with flexibility.

Now, this sounds a little intense but don’t worry. In a barre class, you’ll be squeezing a ball between your legs, doing inclined push-ups on the barre, and finishing off with a bit of core work. You’ll be holding squat positions, taking little bends in your arms and legs to activate tiny muscles, and doing larger movements like leg lifts to flush everything out. You’ll definitely break a sweat but there’s nothing to fear.

Less Intensity with Impressive Results

Barre is low-impact but highly effective. Berk (the dancer who started barre, remember?) created this program during a back injury. She used her ballet training with rehabilitation therapy and voila! So, barre is an obvious choice to get a great workout even with pesky knee problems or recurring injuries.

The rehabilitation aspect of barre methods is really what makes them great and less intimidating that other popular group exercise classes. The teachers will give you options to modify everything and you’ll do the movements at your own pace. You’ll start to see improvements in your flexibility and core strength after just a few classes and you’ll soon be addicted to this effective class.

A Sense of Community

For many, barre is more than a workout. It’s a community. As with most boutique fitness studios, class sizes are small and you’ll begin to recognize familiar faces the more you go. Soon, you’ll be wearing barre-branded swag with pride and grabbing brunch with you classmates before slipping on your grippy, barre socks.

Many barre studios host events for their clients and have online components to their brand. People are using barre to connect with like-minded people and taking the experience with them wherever they go.

Ready to try a barre class? Chances are, there’s a studio not too far from you. Let us know which one you took and how you liked it in the comments.