A photo at Pure Barre, one of the most popular barre studios in the country

A photo at Pure Barre, one of the most popular barre studios in the country

A couple of years ago, I heard about a little fitness class called “barre.” All I knew is it had something to do with a ballet bar and I haven’t done a day of ballet in my life.

A few months back I got the opportunity to attend two complimentary barre fitness classes at Barre Tech, a local studio just a mile from my house.

I was surprised to find I actually enjoyed the class a lot! It was different but challenging in unique ways I wasn’t used to. Since then, I’ve taken about 8 or 9 more classes and love adding them in for a change up from my normal CrossFit and running routine.

7 Reasons I Love Barre Class

1. Focus on Core. There’s always a strong emphasis on training your core muscles — especially because you are supposed to keep them tight at all times. They teach a variety of moves to engage different ab muscles and really develop a well-rounded core routine.

2. Variety. You are never doing one thing for too long in this class. Just when you think it’s impossible, it’s time to switch, which I enjoy. Usually, the teacher does a countdown so you don’t have to wonder when something is going to end — helpful for enduring the pain just a little longer

3. Feeling Like a Ballerina. I’m very uncoordinated and I’m sure I don’t look like a prima ballerina but the movements are long and elegant. It’s good practice for keeping good posture! Additionally, I love knowing a few ballet terms, like ron de jambe (the simplest but a pretty word!)

4. Toning. This goes for arms and legs, especially in Barre Tech’s 60-minute “burn” class. I never use more than a 3-pound weight but the light weight, repetitive movements are a great complement to my normal, heavy lifting routine. I’ve noticed my muscles look more toned and I think it’s because I’m doing both kinds of weights these days. Additionally, tiny movements that target your glutes will go really far!

5. Positivity. So far, every teacher I’ve had has been warm, kind and positive. Somehow I’ve had a different teacher almost every time I’ve gone. They are friendly and never cut class short. In fact, normally, class goes over by a few minutes or more because the teachers are so dedicated to ensuring you get your full work out.

6. Spine Protection. There’s always stretching time at the beginning and end of class, something you sometimes miss in other classes. Additionally, there are always reminders to “protect your spine” by doing the moves right. And we always finish class with movements that are good for the spine, something that’s really important for me.

7. Shaky Legs. Okay, so I don’t love the shaky legs — but it’s certainly a symbol of barre class! You’ll see many very shaky when we are all up in releve (yes, another new word!). And you can realllly make it burn if you lower yourself down pretty far but I’m so not good at that yet!

Aside from CrossFit, most fitness trends don’t phase me. That’s why I recommend trying barre if you are at all curious. Like anything else, give it more than once before you make any judgments. But…judging from those I hear from offline and online — you’ll probably like it a lot!

*PS: I signed up for a few of my latest barre classes through Class Pass, a very cool fitness site that allows you to get an account and then have access to classes ALL over the city. So you can try barre one place, pilates at another and yoga at another without having to join a new gym! It’s in NYC, San Fran, Portland, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, San Diego and DC. 

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Do you love barre? What do you like about it? 

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