5 reasons why barre is a great workout

Lose weight and get fit with barre
Barre class in Sydney

Barre is an epic workout for women and men.

Think of ballerinas, their beautiful posture, long and strong muscles, agile and graceful movement. Barre can help us get elements of that beautiful ballet body.

It is a fun and challenging way for us all to get that healthy balance of strength, endurance and cardio.

These workouts are not easy, but they are definitely effective, for both your body and your mind.

What is barre?

The workout is based on ballet and pilates, and relies on your body weight to reach that ‘shake’ you’ll feel in every barre class. Of course we can add more weight, but really that’s just a bonus!

Every area of your body will be worked, stabilising muscles will be awoken, especially those supporting great posture and alignment. While working out, you will move from slow to fast tempos challenging your endurance, agility, balance and power.

How impactful the workout is really depends on your form during but also the studio you attend as there are many different styles of barre workouts. But as standard, most will include:

  • Ballet foundations including foot positions, pliés, passé, relivés, tendus and more.
  • Pilates, both standing and mat.
  • Cardio, based on ballet centre work.

Some schools also include yoga and HIIT elements in the classes.

Barre classes can include small balls, dumbbells, therabands, booty bands, circles, ankle weights and sliders.

The 5 ways your body can benefit from barre

No matter the style of barre classes, it will encourage a lot of change in your body.

1. Whole body weight loss

Oh yes! Barre may not be pure cardio only, and that’s the secret. Weight loss comes from more than just cardio, it’s all about

2. Whole body toning and strength development

Barre is all about isometric holds, strong controlled movements, using your body weight.

Not one movement is done without activating the core, squeezing the butt or maintaining weight control through the feet. This ensures accurate form and safe workout technique.

Because of the type of movements you do in barre, the muscles you will develop are long, toned and balanced across the body.

3. Improved stamina, endurance and power

The first class is the hardest one. From there, you will find your endurance and ability to complete the full class improve each and every class. Moves are specific and tempos switch through the class so your power and stamina will continue to develop. You will use stabilising muscles often and find that your movements are more accurate and controlled.

4. Better posture through thoracic and core strength

Every move in barre requires great posture to ensure that you move your body well, and really isolate the muscle you want to use. Don’t worry if your posture isn’t great, that’s what barre (and pilates) is for! Throughout the class experienced instructors will cue and properly support the development of great posture. So sometimes you are just sweating from holding yourself up!

5. Improved control of movement and flexibility

You will develop a stronger connection of mind to body. So when someone says ‘draw your ribs in’ you’ll have the neuro paths and the right muscles to make it happen without flexion through the lower back or protraction of your shoulders, for instance.

This is so important for the everyday person to improve mobility and just move better in general. For dancers, athletes or anyone who plays sports it is a great way to avoid injury. Knowing more about your body and what to turn on or off to move better is key to protecting yourself from injury and strain.

Is barre all I need to get and stay fit?

Barre does provide a full body workout and does provide fitness improvement quite fast, especially if your diet is aligned.

Committing to one style of workout is a great way to really get into the workout style, and help keep you motivated as you get better and better, and see more and more improvement over a short time.

But to avoid plateauing as our muscle memory kicks in, it is always good idea to mix up workout styles to keep your body guessing and make sure you are challenging your body in every possible way.

For instance, if you work out 4 days a week take:

  • Barre to focus on toning, elongating your muscles, agility and posture.
  • Pilates to focus on strengthen the core and stabilising muscles, posture, alignment and balance.
  • Zumba® for fun and motivating class to improve cardio and coordination.
  • Yoga to stretch, flex, tone and reconnect.
  • TRX to really challenge your strength, build muscle, burn fat and encourage stamina.
  • Dance to encourage coordination, agility, stamina, flexibility, weight loss and toning. Posture is a huge part of many dance styles, but all require core strength.

Balance is key, so finding a studio that provides a variety of classes is a great idea so you can get the most out a variety of classes and keep your body on its toes, literally!