Barre Yoga – A Low-Intensity Workout
Barre classes focus on high reps of small range isometric movements. While it’s an effective workout to increase muscular endurance, you won’t build muscle mass as quickly as other types of strength training.
Like yoga, barre improves posture and builds core strength. But unlike a traditional yoga class, many barre workouts include a short Savasana or resting period at the end of the session.
Barre is a type of low-impact workout that incorporates dance-inspired movements. Developed in 1959 by Lotte Berk, a ballerina who suffered from back injury, the barre method is a deceptively challenging workout that combines rhythmic dance moves with Pilates and yoga-based exercises.
The barre method uses body weight for resistance and focuses on small, isometric movements that challenge under-used muscles and lead to a burn (and shake!). Classes are fast-paced and include repetitions to build endurance.
While the calorie-burning benefits of barre are clear, it’s also a great way to strengthen your core and improve posture and alignment, giving your body a sleek and toned look. Unlike yoga, which requires quiet self-reflection, barre is more upbeat and offers a community feel, promoting a sense of camaraderie and support among class participants. It’s an ideal workout for beginners looking to build strength and confidence in a supportive environment. In fact, new barre students often report visible results in as little as eight classes.
A mat and possibly a soft exercise ball are the only pieces of equipment you’ll need to start bar yoga. However, you can also add accessories to support muscle recovery and reduce pressure on your joints, like yoga knee pads or non-slip yoga socks.
A good yoga mat can make or break your class experience. A good one should offer a firm grip, high-quality material to ensure durability, and plenty of padding to cushion your joints while you’re in poses that require longer holds. Some also include visual alignment markings to help you with hand and foot placement.
Look for a mat that’s eco-friendly, too, to support a healthy lifestyle and give back to the planet. For example, the Jade Yoga mat has a beautiful marbled pattern and plant-based dyes, plus the company plants a tree for every one sold. Likewise, the Liforme mat features a unique alignment system that’s etched into the polyurethane top layer and works as a navigational tool to avoid misalignment.
Barre is a low-impact conditioning workout that combines the movement of ballet, the strengthening of pilates, and the flexibility of yoga. It’s a great way to get a full-body workout with a short class, and it can improve your posture, strengthen your core, and build muscle tone.
If you’re new to barre, it’s important to find a class that is appropriate for your level of experience. Many studios advertise beginner classes, but it’s best to speak with an instructor to ensure you find a class that will be challenging but not too challenging. Some instructors use a lot of Sanskrit terminology and poses that might be difficult to understand for beginners.
It’s also important to arrive early to your class, as this will give you time to set up your mat and get settled in. It’s also a good idea to bring water with you, and wear comfortable clothing. Lastly, remember to breathe and relax throughout the class.
There are several different types of yoga classes to choose from, ranging from relaxing to a sweat-inducing workout. The difficulty and intensity of a class can be difficult to gauge without reading the class description, but it’s usually a good idea to have a yoga mat and comfortable clothing. You may also want to bring a water bottle and a towel.
Many barre classes are choreographed to fun music and use bars with a variety of weighted plates and free hand weights to create a full-body strength and endurance workout. Classes typically begin with a cardio warm up and then move to the bar for shoulder/arm work, followed by abdominal work and core strengthening. Most classes end with a short savasana or resting period to stretch muscles and cool down.
While barre classes can improve muscular endurance and strengthen major muscle groups, they are not designed to build significant amounts of mass. Depending on your goals, this could be an advantage or disadvantage.