If you’re looking for a new workout that will tone your body and strengthen muscles you didn’t even know you had, it’s time to hit the bar. No, not that kind of bar. Sorry, no Pinot Noir at this joint. We’re talking about a barre workout, as in barre exercise classes. You’ve probably heard a lot about barre classes, and for good reason. Not only are they fun and challenging but they get results. Not even sure what a barre workout is? As Fitness magazine reports, according to Sadie Lincoln, founder of barre3 fitness, “most barre-based classes use a combination of postures inspired by ballet and other disciplines like yoga and Pilates.” Kara Liotta, master instructor and co-director of FlyBarre at Flywheel Sports, explains in a Marie Claire post, that barre classes offer “a full body workout, based on the idea of high repetitions at low weights.” She explains that FlyBarre “is designed to lengthen, tone, and sculpt. It builds strength, but aims to keep muscles carved and elongated instead of bulky.” We like the sound of that, snag us a mat!
Whether you’re a self-proclaimed cycling addict, a competitive runner, a dancer, a yoga guru or even a couch potato a barre workout is for you. It will balance out your other fitness efforts, will whip your body into even better shape and will continue to challenge you every pulse of the way. Here are 10 reasons why a barre workout rules right now.
1. They are Low Impact If you’re a runner, a skier, a tennis player or you do any other workout that involves your body pounding on a hard surface like pavement, then a barre workout is an excellent way to strengthen your muscles without doing any damage to your joints. Barre movements are easy on your body and are designed to focus on specific muscles rather than putting stress on the more sensitive areas of your body, like your knees or your back. Plus there are always modifications should you have an injury. Even pregnant women can do barre classes because they are so low impact.
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2. They Are for Every Fitness Level Whether you are a marathon runner or you’re completely out of shape, a barre class will whip your butt into action and will work muscles you forgot were there. Simple movements are difficult for every fitness level, and the more toned you get, the heavier weights you use and the better your form gets. It never gets easier, but you get better at the exercises.
3. They are Difficult to do, but Easy to Learn Let’s get real: a barre workout is HARD. Just because you may spend some of the workout on the floor and you’re only using 2-3 pound weights does not mean you will be taking it easy. On the contrary, you may have moments where you kind of want to curl up into fetal position and cry. The bad news is that it will be challenging for anyone, regardless of how often you may participate in barre classes. The good news is that anyone can do a barre class. They are easy to learn and even if you feel a bit spastic when you get started, you won’t be the only one struggling, and you’ll pick it up quickly.
4. They Compliment Your other Workouts Just because you are a runner or you love CrossFit does not mean a barre class wouldn’t work for your body and your fitness goals. In fact, it will compliment your other workouts. Because barre movements are designed to target specific muscle groups you will be focusing on areas of your body that you wouldn’t otherwise work on. And by strengthening those muscles you will become a better a runner, a stronger athletic competitor, a faster cyclist or just a more fit individual.
5. Barre Workouts get Results Spoiler alert: you definitely won’t be drenched like after a spin session or boot camp. But don’t be fooled by the fact that you might not break a sweat…you will be working hard and the results will speak for themselves. Core Fusion co-founder, Fred DeVito, explains that while you do smaller, slower movements in barre classes, you still feel them because you’re isolating specific muscle groups, and when your legs start shaking uncontrollably you’ll know it’s working. Beyond the immediate results you’ll feel in class, the long-term results will be hard to miss. According to Tanya Becker, co-founder of Physique 57, “women see results quickly with barre, it’s a one-stop shop that includes all the essentials of a well-rounded exercise program.” Plus the stronger you get the more calories you’ll burn, even when you are resting. Now we’re talking!
6. They Wake up Your Muscles You know how if you go over winter break after 12 months away from the slopes, your thighs start to burn in places you forgot existed? The same concept applies to barre classes–you work muscles that are hard to focus on with other forms of exercise, so regardless of how fit you are to begin with, any barre class (if you’re doing it right) will exhaust muscle groups you didn’t know you even had.
7. They Are Fun…Yes Seriously! Believe it or not, a barre class is the most fun kind of torture. We say torture loosely…it’s not exactly unbearable, but it’s consistently really hard. You hate it and love it at the same time, but thanks to the awesome music and beautiful surroundings (many barre studies are modern, clean and gorgeous) you’re having too much fun to focus on the pain. Some classes even incorporate dance sequences to amp up the dance party vibe.
8. You Can Embrace Your Inner Ballerina Remember when you were a little girl and you dreamed of being a ballerina? Well, barre workouts won’t put you up on the stage of the New York City Ballet, but they will help you pretend for a few minutes. Various exercises are inspired by ballet movements, poses and terminology. You might hear words like “wide 2nd position” or “plier” or “releve.” If you have zero dance experience that’s fine and if you’re totally spastic that’s fine too; but if you always wanted a ballerina’s body, this workout is a great place to start.
9. They Lengthen Muscles A barre workout is meant to not only tone muscles, but also lengthen them and increase flexibility. While your muscles will be engaged throughout the entire class, you will get breaks where the focus is on letting your body recover and stretching your muscles to elongate them so they don’t become bulky. Everyone longs to be strong, but the words bulky and thighs just don’t go together.
10. They Provide a True Full-Body Workout You will walk out of a barre class with your entire body hurting in the best possible way. From your thighs to your core to shoulders to that stubborn part of your butt that never seems to cooperate—you will be exhausted, and that’s because barre classes offer a complete body workout so you achieve results head-to-toe. Not many workouts can make the same claim.