If you don’t already know what a “barre class” is then now’s your time to find out. Between March 2011 and March 2021 we saw the worldwide interest in barre classes rise by a massive 920%! (Google Trends) But what actually is barre?
Keep reading to find out all you need to know, why we love it and why we think it’s going to be the next fitness craze. You can also take part in our very own beginners barre workout by expert instructor Carly Bateman, just scroll to the bottom of this page.
What is Barre?
Barre is where ballet, yoga and pilates meet. So, if you’re someone who practices yoga or enjoys a good pilates class then listen up. Barre is a strength training exercise class, specifically designed to tone your body in ways that many other workouts don’t.
It’s a full body beating that’s built from a combination of low-impact, high-intensity exercises. These movements are also paired with different stretching techniques in a wide range of motion. Meaning, if you’re looking to become more flexible and build lean muscle, then this one’s perfect for you.
What should you expect from a beginners barre workout class?
Class focused barre tends to be split into different sections, focusing on different muscle groups. For example, core, legs, arms and glutes. The movements are typically slow and focused, think Swan Lake style, and using only small weights, if any. It’s easy to underestimate the class on your first visit (we know we did!) but trust us when we say; this one is sure to leave your muscles burning.
What are the benefits of a beginners barre workout class?
As we mentioned before, barre is designed to build lean muscle, improve strength and increase your overall flexibility, but the benefits don’t end there. Barre has also been proven to help weight management and better your posture, so you can wave goodbye to those achy shoulders and hunchbacks babe, this is sure to give you some extra inches.
It also allows you to feel more connected to your body, as well as helping you to increase your stability and core control. We think it’s pretty clear to see why we’re utterly obsessed and why we think you, team Bo+Tee, need to try out barre right now!
But what do you wear?
Don’t worry, you don’t need to turn up in your ballet tights, leotard and tutu… although we’re sure you could if you wanted to! For barre classes it’s best to wear leggings or long fitness joggers rather than shorts, along with whatever gym top you feel comfortable in.
Wearing tight fitting clothing allows your instructor to get a good idea of your form so make sure whatever you wear is close to the skin. You also won’t need any shoes! That’s right, for a beginners barre workout class you’re best suited to bare feet or socks with grips to make sure you’re not sliding all over the place.
We hope we’ve opened your eyes to the wonderful world of barre and we hope you’re as invested as us! We really believe barre is on the rise and if you’re looking to spice up your usual weekly workouts then this is definitely one you should try. And why not try right now? We’re going to pass you over to Carly Bateman, a barre expert and fitness lover. She’s here to bring you her best beginners barre workout for the ultimate toned bod of dreams.
Carly ran our classes at BLOK gym on the Bo+Tee Tour and we knew we had to invite her onto the blog ASAP to share her impressive skills with our online community. If you don’t already follow her, then check out her insta @bodybybates_ for more beginners barre workout tips, fitness and self love tips and tricks. So without further ado, it’s over to you, Carly...
Hey babes! Nice to e-meet you!
Barre is a low-impact, high intensity beginners workout that uses the ballet barre. Although barre is inspired by ballet, it’s not a dance class, you definitely do not need to be a dancer to do barre!
Barre combines isometric and eccentric muscle contractions to create a deep burn and sometimes shake within the muscles, which ultimately leads them to fatigue.
Barre helps to strengthen the muscles, build stamina and increase cardio fitness. But not only that, it helps improve mobility & flexibility, develop good posture, tone and sculpt the body and release all of those happy chemicals we call endorphins!
If you’re a barre beginner, my best piece of advice would be to just not put too much pressure on yourself and have fun! That first barre burn can be intense if you’ve not experienced it before so go at your own pace, focus on yourself, listen to some banging tunes and do the best you can! Soon enough you’ll be addicted to the burn!
Here’s a little set you can do at home that focuses mainly on the lower body. If you don’t have a barre, the back of a chair or a kitchen counter will do nicely! Optional 1.5kg dumbbell.
Complete 8-16x reps of each exercise or more for extra burn! Repeat on the other side.
Exercise 1: Outer arm/leg extensions
Rest your inside arm on your barre, keep your supporting knee bent. Start by bringing the weight into your shoulder and then extend the arm and outside leg out and in together.
Exercise 2: Knee to elbow side crunches
Start with the outside arm and leg extended on a diagonal and then draw them together, really lean into the motion so you can feel that side crunch!
Exercise 3: Outer leg lifts
Keep the outside arm and leg straight, lift the leg to your highest point without bending it and bring the arm to meet the leg. Try and keep this as smooth as possible, like you’re moving through water.
Exercise 4: Outer leg extended pulses
Hold the outside leg up at your highest point, arm up to the ceiling. Make tiny little lifts with the leg. Don’t forget to keep your supporting knee bent. This one is a proper burner!
Exercise 5: Pretzel lifts
Bend at your outside knee and send the knee back behind the hip. Make sure your toe is higher than your knee, tuck your tailbone and engage your core so you don’t arch your lower back. It should feel like you’ve got your leg wrapped around a tree trunk. Keep squeezing the knees together and then lifting back into that position!
Exercise 6: Pretzel wrap back & hold
Keep the same form as exercise 5, just wrap the knee back and hold each time.
Exercise 7: Pretzel combo - Lift & 2x wraps
Combine the last two exercises, this will confuse your muscles and make them work a little harder!
Exercise 8: Pretzel pulses
Keep that awesome pretzel form and pulse your knee up towards the ceiling. For an advancement - take your standing foot to high stiletto (tip toes!).
Exercise 9: Pretzel hold
Finish with a hold. There’s so much strength in stillness!
We hope you had fun getting sweaty with Carly’s at home beginners barre workout burner as much as we did team Bo+Tee! Make sure to check back soon, our next guest blogger is pending…