Today we’ll explore the basics of what barre is, the equipment it uses, and discover the unique benefits of this form of exercise.
Barre was created by ballerina Lotte Berk in 1959. After a back injury, Berk began combining her normal ballet routines with her rehabilitative therapy exercises and formed what we know today as barre. So what is barre, exactly? And how different is it from ballet and other forms of exercise?
Basics of Barre
Barre is a form of full-body exercise that combines movements and positions borrowed from ballet with low-impact, repetitive strength exercises, designed to isolate and strengthen muscles. Barre classes often rotate through sections focusing on arms, core/abs, and lower body, repeating small isometric movements targeting one muscle area until muscles are fatigued (yes, you’ll be shaking!) While these movements are the basis of barre exercise, modern barre may include “fusion” classes, incorporating barre movements alongside cardio, HIIT, pilates, and more.
Equipment Used in Barre
Although barre gets its name from the use of the ballet barre, that isn’t the only piece of equipment used in barre exercise. Many barre classes also incorporate resistance bands, sliders, hand or ankle weights, or exercise balls. Body weight movements are often included and, when used, weights are kept light due to the repetitive nature of the exercises. Participants may exercise in bare feet or in socks (socks with special grips may be preferred).
Benefits of Barre
Barre is often praised for its ability to help isolate and tone lean muscle throughout all parts of the body. The slow, repetitive movements used allow you to work muscles in a more focused way than traditional strength training exercises (think squats, push ups, or mountain climbers). The low-impact movements of barre are also significantly easier on your joints than high-impact strength training. In addition to building strength, participants can expect to see increased flexibility and a stronger core. Another benefit? Improved posture and balance. And, like all forms of exercise, barre is beneficial in improving overall health, reducing stress, and increasing mental clarity.
You definitely don’t need a dance background to experience the benefits and fun that barre classes have to offer, so don’t let that intimidate you! In fact, no prior experience or knowledge is required to participate in barre. Whether you’re a total beginner or a former ballerina, barre is a fantastic option for anyonelooking to build strength, tone muscle, and increase their mind-body connection.
Schedule your first barre class with us at yogafevergr.com/schedule
*Blog post written by Jordan An