6 Must-Try At-Home Barre Classes for Every Level


Looking to tone, sculpt and stretch the body? Barre may be the perfect workout for you. The dance-inspired workout has been around for decades, but recently became popular again as followers have come to appreciate its low-impact but effective movements and upbeat classes. In 2021 alone, over 3.6 million people participated in barre workouts in the U.S.

Many studios offer in-person classes with motivating instructors, energetic music and encouraging community, but virtual options are aplenty these days and many fitness apps offer incredible barre workouts that you can do from home. Here you’ll find guidance from fitness experts including important form tips, necessary gear and the best at-home barre workouts.

What is barre?

Barre is a unique type of workout that blends movements from ballet, Pilates moves, yoga and strength training. “Barre is a low-impact, high-intensity workout designed to strengthen and tone your body using isometric muscle contractions, mixed with dynamic movement patterns,” says Dominique Clark, Pure Barre Fitness Instructor and Training Evaluation Specialist. The result is a workout that targets all the major movers of the body, including the hips, thighs, glutes, abdominals and arms.

“The goal is to work your muscles until they’re fully fatigued, and to challenge your stamina both physically and mentally to push through to build endurance and gain strength over time,” Clark adds. Posture and alignment are important priorities as well in any barre workout, and Clark says that the dynamic range of motion that your body goes through during a barre workout will increase mobility, improve balance and enhance mind-body awareness.

Barre workout benefits:

FatCamera//Getty Images

The dance-inspired workout is popular for a reason; it’s beginner friendly but also extremely effective and low-impact at the same time. Across various barre formats, Clark highlights these benefits:

  • Barre strengthens muscles, bones and joints
  • Increases flexibility and range of motion
  • Boosts energy and mood
  • Alleviates anxiety and reduces stress
  • Promotes better sleep
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Provides a fun and supportive fitness community

Is barre a beginner-friendly workout?

Since barre is a low-impact exercise, it can be a fantastic workout for all fitness levels. Clark says that it can be modified easily and that instructors will often offer adjustments during class. She adds that the workout is accessible for all.

“Barre can add definition to your physique, increase your strength and endurance, can lead to increases in your flexibility and balance and strengthens your bones as well as your core,” Clark explains. “Another benefit of barre is the improvement of your mind-body connection and a boost in confidence and self-esteem.”

She adds that barre is a great cross-training activity. For example, the improvement in endurance from barre can benefit runners, the flexibility work carries over into yoga and the mobility aspect will make everyday activities feel easier.

What to expect in a barre class:

Most in-person barre classes range from 45 to 60 minutes and emphasize total body conditioning. Digital platforms and fitness apps that offer barre classes tend to provide shorter barre workouts spanning from 10-30 minutes, and some even focus on specific body parts like the lower body or core.

Class typically begins with a warmup, followed by an upper body sequence, lower body work and then core movements. Most sessions end with a cool down. Stretch sequences are integrated throughout the workout to combine strength and flexibility training. “Expect to challenge your physical strength in myriad ways, including focused attention on core strength,” says Clark.

What to wear and bring to a barre class:

group barre fitness class

Fly View Productions//Getty Images

Proper gear is important to allow for full range of motion during your barre workout, and to help you get the most out of the class. A few items to wear or bring with you:

  • Workout pants or leggings: A good pair of workout leggings that allow full range of motion around is important during your barre class. Fitted leggings as opposed to baggy ones are ideal so you can see your movements during class and adjust accordingly. Baggy pants may get in the way for certain exercises, but you’ll want something that covers your knees, as many movements may have you in the quadruped position (on your hands and knees) and on the floor, so shorts are not always recommended. Stick with full length or capri leggings instead.
  • Moisture wicking shirt: A comfortable and breathable workout t-shirt or tank is ideal, especially one that offers features to help keep you dry during class. Fitted tops over baggy ones are important because if your shirt is too loose it may fall down when you bend over. Racerback bras and tops are also better suited to get a wide range of motion. The temperature of studio may be on the cool side when you arrive, so layering an athletic long sleeve over a short-sleeve top or tank top can be helpful.
  • Grip socks: This type of socks has a special material on the sole and are important to protect your feet from sliding during class. Many barre studios offer them for purchase, and they can help promote stability and keep you safe during your workout.
  • Sweat towel: This optional piece can help keep you cool and dry during barre, ensuring that sweat doesn’t drip into your eyes.
  • Water bottle: Staying hydrated before, during and after class is important. Those little pulses might not seem like much at first, but you’ll be working up a sweat in no time so hydration with a good reusable water bottle is key.
  • Workout mat: A high-quality workout mat is important for any barre class. Most in-person studios will provide a mat for you, but many will allow you to bring your own if you prefer. If you are doing a virtual barre workout at home, a mat is recommended.

Elation 7/8 Tight

Athleta Elation 7/8 Tight
Credit: Athleta

Emma Breeze Grip Socks

Emma Breeze Grip Socks
Credit: Tavi

Flow Y Nulu Bra

Lululemon Flow Y Nulu Bra
Credit: Lululemon

Some barre classes use only your bodyweight, while others require light weights, resistance bands, balls and more for added engagement (studios typically provide equipment). If you’re doing a barre workout at home, it may be a good idea to invest in a pair of light weights. You also may want to keep a sturdy chair nearby for movements that might require support and would typically be done on a ballet bar in studio.

Best online barre classes:

If you can’t make it to an in-person class, these online offerings are just as effective and can be done in the comfort of your own home.

Best Overall Barre Workout: Physique 57

  • What it offers: You’ll find low impact but high intensity barre workouts designed to create long lean lines and help you feel toned and confident with Physique 57’s on demand platform. Modifications are provided and no two classes are ever the same. Exercise sequences maximize every minute and are led by world-class instructors who deliver effective and motivating content.
  • Cost: $24.99/month
  • Start your free Physique57 trial now

Best YouTube Barre Workout: Action Jacquelyn

  • What it offers: With over 160K YouTube subscribers, Action Jacquelyn is raising the barre with endless workouts and challenges designed to tone and lengthen. She offers a variety of programs to follow and full body content in addition to specified classes like glute focused work and core sessions.
  • Cost: Free
  • Start your barre workout with Action Jacquelyn now

Best Full Body Barre Workout: Alo Moves

  • What it offers: Known for their yoga and meditation content, Alo Moves offers over 150 barre workouts led by skilled instructors Emily Sferra and Adrienne Rabena. You’ll find classes ranging from just a few minutes to nearly an hour, plus a mix of total body and targeted classes and more. They also offer a Barre Strong program, which is one week long filled with six targeted barre classes and one total body class that is challenging but effective.
  • Cost: $20 / month or $199 / year
  • Start your free Alo Moves trial now

Best Intermediate Barre Workout: Pure Barre on Demand

  • What it offers: On the Xponential platform, you can enjoy a growing library of Pure Barre classes lead by lead instructors in the industry like Shantani Moore and Millie Hanson. Most classes range from about 20-45 minutes, and the platform offers a Getting Started series that focuses on technique and kicking off your barre journey. The classes are fast paced making them ideal for intermediate and advanced sessions.
  • Cost: $29.99/month
  • Start your free Pure Barre on Demand trial now

Best Comprehensive Barre Workout: Barre3

  • What it offers: Barre is the bread and butter of this platform that has hundreds of workouts catering to building strength and sculpting the body. You can enjoy classes anywhere from 10 – 60 minutes. Workouts are also available in the collection that have a cardio and mindfulness focus.
  • Cost: $19.99/month for annual subscription, $24.99/month for three months and $34.99/month for monthly subscription
  • Start your free Barre3 trial now

Best Barre Workout for Beginners: Peloton Barre

  • What it offers: Peloton favorites (and former dancers) Ally Love and Hannah Corbin lead up the Barre content for the platform that is upbeat, engaging and growing. Classes range from about 10 to 45 minutes and are geared towards complimenting your work on the bike or tread. Most classes can be done without any equipment, making it a great bodyweight only workout for barre beginners.
  • Cost: $12.99/month for the app only
  • Start your free Peloton App trial now

Barre form tips:

Clark says it takes 3-5 classes to learn the lingo and understand how to use your muscles to initiate tiny movements. “Proper form and range of motion helps achieve muscle fatigue as well as prevent injury,” she says. She adds that it’s important to keep your spine neutral and to stay aware of your body alignment throughout class as you work to strengthen your muscles as well as improve your posture. She offers the following form tips for beginner barre exercises:

  • With any core-focused work, prioritize proper form and alignment over big movements or momentum-based movement. Take time to ensure you’re setting the position up correctly before beginning your movement, and stop to re-adjust your form if anything feels slightly off.
  • Work at your own pace. Listen to your body and take short breaks as needed before hopping back in to complete any series.
  • In any crunch-like position, avoid placing strain on the neck. Instead, focus on contracting the abs to lift and move the upper body.
  • Remember that planks can be modified. You can start from your knees for more stability as your core becomes stronger. If you’re pregnant, have a shoulder injury or just want to stay upright, you can perform planks standing up, by placing your hands on a barre or countertop.
  • For teasers and roll ups, consider the following options as you progress in both strength and mind-muscle control: 1) Bend the legs to 90-degrees on the way up, as you grab lightly behind the thighs to help support you folding to the top of the teaser; 2) Keep your feet and legs planted on the floor and just roll the upper body up and down.

Why trust Good Housekeeping?

Dominique Clark, M.P.H., is on the Training & Technique Team for Pure Barre as a training evaluation specialist. She joined the Training & Technique Team about a year ago and has been teaching Pure Barre for nearly four years. She serves as the Lead Teacher for her home studio Pure Barre Eastlake and teaches at Pure Barre Hillcrest regularly, as well as other Pure Barre San Diego studios. Her master’s in public health ties in with her passion for fitness, addressing population health and wellness. She says it is a privilege and an honor to teach Pure Barre.

Stefani Sassos, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.N., has been working in the fitness industry for the past 10 years, specializing in indoor cycling and strength training. As a NASM-Certified Personal Trainer, she uses her expertise and exercise science knowledge to create informed fitness content for the Good Housekeeping Institute. From vigorously testing exercise equipment to curating workout plans for GH readers, Stefani is passionate about leading an active lifestyle and inspiring others to do the same. Stefani fell in love with barre after having her first child, as it was a great low-impact form of exercise to ease her back into fitness postpartum. She still practices barre 2-3 times a week in addition to cross-training and more.

This content is imported from OpenWeb. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

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