Barre for beginners: steps towards a lean physique

Grace Calvert / 8 Jun 2015

Whether you are a fitness enthusiast or not, you will probably have noticed new barre studios popping up everywhere.


This type of workout is right on trend and the reason why barre is becoming so popular is due to its physical benefits - it REALLY does give results!

What is barre?

This workout is designed to give you the ultimate lean, sculpted dancer physique. The barre method combines elements of ballet, pilates and yoga. It is created around the ballet barre and floor-based exercises that draw mainly on the use of your own bodyweight for resistance, core strength, control, flexibility and balance. The barre, hand weights, pilates ball and yoga strap are used to achieve these movements.

The class

You don't have to be a prima ballerina - no experience needed! The class starts with a warm-up, getting the body moving, then the upper body is worked using the light hand weights as well as your own bodyweight for press-ups and planks. Moving over to the barre. The barre is mainly used for standing exercises focusing mostly on the lower body (thighs and glutes), then moving onto the mat underneath the barre, using the barre for abdominal, core and lower body exercises. Isolating and moving onto each part of the body, firstly strengthening, then stretching. Finally coming to the end of your class with a cool down.

Whether you are a beginner or a pro, each barre class is adaptable - there are modifications or progressions along the way so you get the best out of your workout!

What to wear

If you feel good, you look good, right? Wearing comfortable clothing that you can move in is important. The classes are taken with no shoes so a pair of sticky socks are great to workout in. Other than this, you won’t need to bring anything else to class.

The benefits of barre

I say quality over quantity. Precision is the name of the game, most barre classes focus on this proper form and the small isolated micro-movements that target the specific muscle groups that you’re not used to using - you’ll definitely feel that you’re using them! Embrace the shake - when you feel that burn you’re doing it right, trust me!

This form of exercise is great to achieve long, toned muscles. Working the muscles to fatigue and then stretching them will create that long, lean, lengthened muscle for the whole body, without giving you a bulky body. There can be small amounts of cardio bursts in the barre workout, which is great to get the heart rate up but then the small controlled movements are reintroduced to keep the body changing and challenged, getting you the results you are after.

There are different types of barre classes, each company or studio will have their own style and technique so it’s always a good idea to check out a few classes or go into the studios and see what class may suit you best. They are similar but will have a slight adaptation.

It will help you become aware of your posture, gain flexibility, build strength and control!

Mix it up, change it up

Do what you enjoy - a spinning class, reformer pilates, yoga or kettle bells, along with barre 2-3 times a week. With added cardio into your workout alongside barre and a healthy diet, you will see that stronger, toned, sculpted body you have been working hard for.

Have Fun!

I love this method of exercise because most importantly it’s fun! The classes have such great energy, filled with fitness lovers and with great motivating music - the inspiring workouts and challenging choreography grants those stellar results. There is no room for plateau in your workout as it’s constantly challenging, the hour class flies right on by!


See you at the barre!