Benefits of Barre Fitness

With so many options for fun fitness trends popping up these days, you have no excuse for skipping your weekly workout. Barre, the latest fitness craze, combines everything you love: dance, fitness and killer ab-centered exercises. Ready to raise the bar? Here's what you need to know.

What is Barre?

barre fitness class

Barre fitness isn't something that can be described by its name alone. While it certainly involves the use of a barre, this exercise class is making one thing clear: barres aren't just for ballerinas anymore!

Barre classes are inspired by ballet and exercises like yoga and Pilates. They incorporate a combination of exercises using the barre, as well as weights and mats. The barre is often treated as a prop for balancing while you contract specific sets of muscles with high rep exercises and targeted movements. This type of exercise utilizes isometric strength training to effectively target your core. Six-pack abs, here we come!

Benefits of Barre

Worried about looking silly as you explore this new trend? Smaller, more intimate classes are a major benefit of barre fitness, bringing (mostly) women together in pursuit of physical and emotional well-being. Additional benefits of barre fitness? Better posture, greater muscle definition, weight loss, more flexibility and lower stress, to name a few! This low-impact class is ideal for almost everyone, including pregnant women.

What to Wear to Barre

barre fitness outfit

Barre is easy when it comes to the gear it requires. All you'll be needing is your stretchiest yoga wear, like some yoga pants and a sports bra. You don't need any specialty shoes—in fact, you don't need shoes at all! Bare it all or wear some socks if you prefer.

Your First Barre Class

So you've decided to do the "dance" and you've signed up for your first barre class. Congrats! Here's what you can expect from this dynamic workout.

Typically 60 minutes in length, your barre class will likely begin with a warm-up period involving a sequence of exercises focused on the upper body. This may involve push-ups and planks or the use of free weights to target the biceps, triceps, chest and back.

Then it's on to the barre where you'll do exercise reps involving your own body weight, focusing on the thighs and butt muscles. This is where you'll spend most of the class, drawing on your balance, endurance and flexibility as well as your engaged core.

A cool-down period will help you end your barre class on a peaceful note, allowing you to relax after an hour of hard work. For this segment, you'll go through a series of stretches to increase flexibility and let your muscles recover.

Next time you're looking for a new activity to try, consider barre fitness. Not only will it tone and tighten your core, but it'll also introduce you to an entirely new form of exercise that you might just fall head over heels (or slippers?) in love with.

Photos: Port de Bras, raw and regal, Kreangkrai Indarodom / Shutterstock.com