Looking to give a barre fitness class a try for the first time, but don’t really know what you should anticipate? You’re not alone.
Here’s the basic 101 rundown: “Most classes based on barre use a combination of postures inspired by ballet and other disciplines like yoga and Pilates,” says Sadie Lincoln, co-founder and CEO of barre3. “The barre is used as a prop to maintain balance while performing exercises that focus on isometric strength training (holding your body steady while contracting a specific set of muscles) combined with high repetitions of small range-of-motion movements,” she explains. Also, don’t be surprised if your barre fitness class incorporates light handheld weights to intensify the workout during all those repetitions, as well as mats for targeted core work.
Ahead, more on the barre fitness trend, the advantages of the workout style, and what to actually anticipate before your first barre fitness class.
Why Are Barre Workouts So Popular?
Wondering why these boutique studios and specialty classes are appearing everywhere? Lincoln, who opened her first studio in 2008, points to the trend towards community. “Many of us discovered during challenging times that we desired smaller and more connected classes. We needed a place where we could harmonize our bodies and prepare for our busy and stressful days,” she says.
On the other hand, Tanya Becker, co-founder of Physique 57 and ACE-certified personal trainer, believes the results are the driving force behind the craze (which is influenced by the retro fitness movement launched with the Lotte Berk Method). “Women see results quickly with barre class: It’s a one-stop shop that includes all the essentials of a well-rounded exercise program, plus it’s perfect for women who are short on time. That’s a workout women will always need!” she notes. (If you want to try a barre fitness class at home before heading to a studio, here’s a full body barre workout for you to try.)
The Advantages of Barre Workouts
If you’re still sitting slouched in your chair reading this instead of working on perfecting your plié, here’s another reason to get moving: Major benefits of barre class are improved posture, muscle definition, weight loss, increased flexibility, and reduced stress, according to Lincoln.
(See additionally: 5 Advantages of Barre That Will Ensure Your Continual Return)
Plus, individuals at nearly any fitness level can enroll in a barre fitness class: Barre is completely acceptable for expectant people because it’s not intense, mention both Lincoln and Becker. Additionally, the workout and specific movements can be easily adjusted. They may even assist with instability — a frequent problem during pregnancy due to the growing abdomen — and balance. (These are the [best and worst exercises to do during a third trimester workout](https://www.shape.com/fitness/tips/best-and-worst-third-trimester-pregnancy-exercises).)
What to Anticipate from a Barre Fitness Class
While the encounter will vary from establishment to establishment, the regular class (such as a Physique 57 beginner session) will guide you through a lively and stimulating workout, states Becker. You’ll [commence with a warm-up](https://www.shape.com/fitness/tips/quick-warm-up-workout-you-can-do-before-any-fitness-class) and a sequence of upper-body exercises, which involve free weights, push-ups, planks, and other actions to target the biceps, triceps, chest, and back muscles.
Subsequently, you’ll utilize the ballet barre and your own body weight for opposition to concentrate on the thigh and glute muscles. Your core will be involved the entire class and then specifically targeted at the end — trust, you’ll feel it the following day.
For the cooldown, you’ll perform a series of stretches to [enhance flexibility](https://www.shape.com/fitness/tips/how-improve-mobility-versus-flexibility) and allow your muscles to recuperate. Most classes are 60 minutes long, and some establishments (including most barre3 locations) may even offer childcare during class, states Lincoln.
What to Wear to Barre Class
When selecting your workout attire, consider yoga wear, recommends Lincoln. Leggings, a sports bra, and a tank top will suffice. As for footwear, it is not necessary! Go barefoot or participate in the class wearing grippy socks to prevent sliding. ([Want to know where to find the best workout clothes? Right this way.](https://www.shape.com/fitness/clothes/best-workout-clothes-women))
How a Barre Workout Compares to Cardio
One of the greatest aspects of barre fitness classes is that they merge strength training and cardiovascular exercise, so you’re [burning fat and building muscle](https://www.shape.com/fitness/tips/how-burn-fat-build-muscle-lean-toned-body) simultaneously, observe Becker. “Our technique concentrates on fortifying the muscles, and muscle tissue burns 15 times as many calories as fat. The stronger you become, the more calories you’ll burn ’round the clock,” she adds.
But it’s not all about the competition: Barre is actually one of the best complements to running and other high-impact activities. It’s time to amplify those pliés! (Up next: [Your Comprehensive Guide to Barre](https://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/types/low-impact/what-is-barre))