If you’re looking for a low-impact home workout that tones, strengthens, improves balance and doesn’t require equipment, look no further than the barre workout. This ballet-inspired exercise requires zero ballet knowledge, making it accessible to dancers and non-dancers alike. Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned athlete, you’ll feel the burn of this total-body home workout.
What is a barre workout?
A barre workout uses the elements of ballet, yoga and pilates, which means you’ll use intensive isometric moves while keeping your workout low-impact. This low-impact combo of conditioning moves gives you a whole-body workout that elongates muscles, aligns the body and strengthens the core.
Benefits of a barre workout
- Tones the lower body; thighs, hamstrings, glutes and calves
- Increases strength
- Improves balance
- Challenges all skill levels
- Low impact
- Improves posture by strengthening chest and shoulders while elongating the spine
- Increases flexibility
- Lowers stress
- Improves focus through mindful movements
- Chair, dining table, counter or portable ballet bar
- Yoga mat
- Comfortable, stretchy clothing
- Bare feet or socks with non-slip grips
Barre basics before you begin
- Foot positions: Two ballet foot positions are most common in barre workouts. In first position, the heels are together and toes are pointing outward. In second position, the feet are wide apart with toes pointing outward.
- Reps: A barre workout will use small movements with higher reps (20-40) using a combo of pulsing, squeezing and tucking.
- Form is important: Hands gently hold the ballet bar, chair or table for maintaining balance, the back is straight and hips are stacked under shoulders with no hunching forward or leaning backward.
Common barre movements
A parallel stance is used often in exercises and stretches. Feet are placed directly under the hips with feet and knees facing forward.
Begin with feet in first position (heels together, toes turned out) and hands gently resting on the back of the chair with legs straight. Keeping spine tall and core tight, rise up onto the balls of your feet with legs straight (squeezing inner thighs together as you rise up), then lower heels back down.
Pilé in first or second position
Begin in first or second position with hands gently on the table or chair for balance. Lower your body in a squat keeping your bottom tucked in. Then rise back to starting position or pulse in this position before rising up. Make sure to keep your back straight; no leaning forward.
Stand facing the chair and gently hold it with both hands. Bend the knees and keep your core tight. Lift the right leg straight back and pulse the leg up and down using small movement while squeezing your glutes. Lower the leg and repeat with your left leg.
A pulse is a movement done to the beat of music with small ranges of motion.
Find a barre workout that works for you
There are countless barre workouts on YouTube and fitness channels that allow you to go at your own pace. The beauty of barre at home is that workouts can last as little as 10 minutes for beginners and longer workouts can challenge even the fittest athlete. Listen to your body and choose classes that work for your abilities and needs. Enjoy challenging those muscles and perfecting that posture!