What Is A Barre Class? – A Beginners Guide to Barre Workouts

As a former dancer, I’ve always been hesitant to try the popular “barre” classes. I spent hours every summer in a sweaty studio with 12 other teenage girls doing pull-ups, plying, and more until our leg muscles gave out on the bar. however, I was still curious about the bar buzz.

Fast forward to my first pure barre session: a gym built entirely around the barre. I resisted at first, but left the class feeling like every little muscle in my torso, butt, arms, and legs had been put to the test. I was completely sore the next day.

meet the experts: katelyn digiorgio is vice president of training and technical and teacher educator at pure barre. kara liotta, cpt, is co-founder of kksweat, a barre and hiit studio in new york city.

And while it was reminiscent of my ballet days of yore, it actually felt much more like a pilates or sculpting workout. the class focused on cardio, strength training, and stretching, rather than perfect dance technique. All told, I’ve tried Barre Studios all over New York City: Physique 57, Xtend, Barre Method, Exhale, and I’ve always been impressed by how much each class challenges my entire body. (Don’t worry, all of these studios offer online training.)

To give you a better idea of ​​what to expect at your first barre class, Women’s Health chatted with Katelyn Digiorgio, VP of Training and Technique at Pure Barre, to find out the details.

what to expect in a barbell training class

Each barbell class is designed to be a full body muscular resistance workout (as I have definitely experienced). They’re typically divided into different sections that target major muscle groups, including the arms, legs, glutes, and core.

“Muscles in each group are fatigued through small targeted movements, high reps, and little weight or resistance,” says digiorgio. think about pressing into a squat to work your glutes and quads, generating as many triceps kickbacks as possible with three-pound dumbbells, or moving through an animated sequence of planks.

“the barre class is a training technique inspired by elements of ballet, yoga and pilates,” says digiorgio. “focuses on high-intensity, low-impact movements designed to strengthen your body in ways few other workouts can.”

In addition to building strength, this full-body workout also builds agility and flexibility, adds digiorgio. In some classes, you’ll use just the bar (or its equivalent, like a countertop or the back of a chair) and your body weight to produce rep after rep of a muscle-burning move, while others incorporate tools like bands weights, sliders, ankle weights, free weights, exercise balls and more.

“Sections of the class are also combined with stretching to increase overall flexibility,” digiorgio explains. so if you’re having trouble becoming more flexible (*raises hand*), the barre class is a great option.

benefits of barbell workouts

There are many advantages to getting into barre classes to supplement your other training or when you make them your regular workouts.

  1. greater flexibility. Borrowing from ballet and all the flexibility dancers need, barre classes can also help you improve your elasticity. “Some exercises can involve a bit of mobility, especially in the hips,” says kara liotta, co-founder of kksweat. she also points out that beyond the specific ballet-inspired movements, you’ll also get a fair amount of stretching in most barre workouts to stretch the muscles you’ll be straining.
  2. increased muscle strength. Any form of resistance training (calisthenics, weightlifting, and barre) will increase muscle mass. studies show that yes, intensity or added weight builds muscle, but so does volume (think of all those endless mini squats). oh, and since many of the moves you’ll work on in class will have you toning your abs and back, you can bet you’ll sculpt a stronger, more defined torso, adds digiorgio.
  3. improves endurance. “Barbell workouts are all about endurance, form, and repetition,” says Liotta. “You hold positions for a long time and exhaust reps, but with minimal weight.” Because you spend a fair amount of time in each form to really wear down your muscles, you can also really feel what part of your body you’re supposed to activate and strengthen.
  4. They are gentle on the joints. Barre classes are low-impact, which can reduce your risk of injury and help if you’re already injured. “A lot of people work with injuries and still want a solid physical challenge without feeling like they have to modify everything,” Liotta says. “The barbell is low impact because there is no jumping in a traditional barbell workout.” that also makes it a great option for women before and after childbirth, digiorgio says.
  5. better posture. many of the movements in a barre class also target your abs and core. so not only can you work towards a stronger, more defined core, but you’ll also gain solid strength to improve your overall posture, balance, and agility.
  6. Ideal for cross training. You don’t have to bet everything on the bar to feel the effects. Even if your primary focus is preparing for a race, barre class can be a great form of cross-training to maintain strength and full fitness, Digiorgio says.
  7. how barre compares to other workouts

    For starters, the barre is for everyone and you don’t have to be a dancer or in very good physical shape to do it. “The community is made up of people who have tried every fitness class ever created, as well as those just starting their fitness journey,” says digiorgio. “unlike many exercise programs, which require a high level of fitness or previous experience, barre is very beginner friendly and caters to different skill sets and ability levels.”

    Still, you can take a few classes before you hit your groove on the barre. “The class moves quickly and can be challenging as you’ll be using muscles you never knew you had,” digiorgio says. “But you’ll get the hang of it after three or four classes, and you’ll usually see results in just eight to 10.”

    In a barre class, expect to move to upbeat music, unlike pilates, where you’ll rely primarily on breathing cues. you’ll also need to follow some choreography or rhythmic patterns, liotta says, but not as much as if you went to a more traditional dance class (or follow tiktok videos!) “in my classes, i like to incorporate patterns, but i err on the side of simplicity so that everyone can follow me”, says liotta.

    The new “merge” variations of the barre classes have different goals and may remind you of other modalities you’ve tried. Pure Barre’s Pure Power class, for example, combines traditional barre movements with interval training, so it also gets your heart rate up for cardio. meanwhile, other fusion classes use more weights and resistance tools to increase resistance.

    what to wear to barre class

    While workout outfits are entirely down to personal preference, digiorgio recommends wearing leggings or capris that you’re comfortable in and a workout top or tank top to finish class.

    Wearing clothing that fits your body also helps your instructor get a better view of your form (if you’re taking a zoom or google hangout class or have access to an irl instructor) during class so he can give you tips. about the necessary adjustments.

    You’ll also want to wear sticky socks to keep your feet from slipping. (trust me, this one is essential).

    Here are some grippy bar socks to get you started:

    The best barbell workouts to try at home

    Still having doubts about going to a studio for your first class? Fortunately, there are many options online that guarantee a good workout. Here are the best barbell workouts at home to get you sweating and moving whenever you want:

    • kksweatliotta’s platform, kksweat, offers live streaming, on-demand, and in-person classes at his new york studio. online, you can buy a 50-minute workout for $28, which gives you a 12-hour rental. kksweat also has a quick sweat option that gives you unlimited access to the 30 minute quick style workout video library.
    • physique 57 : With physique 57, you can progress through various levels of barbell exercises. Classes include sculpting, power sculpting, back body sculpting, basic lab, and prenatal. Furthermore, the online platform also offers hiit classes, dance classes, and pilates. subscriptions start at $24.99 per month. check out his instagram, too, for live classes.
    • jacquelyn action : jacquelyn’s youtube page has 150,000 followers, so you know she’s doing something right. you’ll get tons of free videos (!!) ranging from a quick five minutes to 30 minutes and covering everything from a barbell glute raise series to a full body barbell workout. also offers yoga and pilates videos, and 30-day challenges.
    • pure bar: You can lift, tone and burn with this full-body workout anywhere, anytime. Live and recorded workouts are available to bring the studio experience to your home. try it free for 7 days. After that, the on-demand subscription is $29.99 per month and also includes access to popular Rumble classes, Cyclebar, Pilates club, and more. keep an eye out for digiorgio also at the forefront of training.
    • bar class form tips

      There is a lot of new jargon to learn when you enter the studio. These are the terms you need to know to keep your form on point.

      • pulse: In your first class, “one of the most difficult essentials of form to grasp is the idea of ​​small, controlled movements,” digiorgio says. “When you hear your teacher say pulse, for example, that literally means you should only move an inch up and down.” the goal here is to focus on contracting the target muscle, which requires keeping the range of motion controlled, precise, and small.
      • Shakes: If your body starts to shake during class, that means you’re doing it right!
      • Tuck your tailbone in: If the instructor says this, or if you have a “heavy tailbone,” draw your abs in and rotate your hips slightly downward to create a neutral spine, digiorgio says. this position promotes core engagement and comes up a lot throughout the class.
      • Remember, if you can’t figure it out after your first try, don’t be discouraged! You’ll learn the lingo and the moves after a few classes, digiorgio says.

        In a nutshell: The barre class is ideal for anyone, whether you’re new to fitness or have been a ballet dancer all your life. get ready for a full body workout and feel your muscles burn.

Content Creator Zaid Butt joined Silsala-e-Azeemia in 2004 as student of spirituality. Mr. Zahid Butt is an IT professional, his expertise include “Web/Graphic Designer, GUI, Visualizer and Web Developer” PH: +92-3217244554

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