Hey Ryan Gosling, let's grab a Vodka at the Barre!

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Barre classes are sweeping the nation, and in some instances, the world.  However, people still often ask me, “What is barre?” This is not your stop for lemon drops, margaritas and shots. It’s better! To clear the confusion, I’ve put together Barre 101 just for you so read on!

What the heck is Barre?

Barre classes combine ballet, pilates, and yoga.  Classes involve small isometric movements (meaning that the shape of the muscle and the joint angle do not change during the exercise).  The overall premise is that you work your muscles until complete exhaustion, and then you stretch and lengthen those muscles to attain the long and lean physique of a dancer.  Fun huh?! Barre classes are designed to be low-impact.  While every method is different, in general, barre classes typically involve a ballet, barre, exercise balls, light weights, mats, and resistance bands.

Why we should thank Lotte Berk

In the 1950s/60s a German dancer, Lotte Berk, created many of the exercises that are still taught in barre classes today.  She created these movements in an effort to rehabilitate her back.  Since then, barre has evolved, and there are a wide variety of methods all over the world.

Glutes, Abs and Dance Parties!?

Your class will usually start with a warm-up that is about 10-12 minutes long.  From there, you’ll exhaust your thigh muscles for approximately 6 minutes.  The thigh exercises are followed by a thigh stretch.  Next, you’ll work your glutes for roughly 12 minutes.  For the next 12 minutes, the class focuses on the core (rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abs).  Classes generally conclude with backdancing (envision a mini-dance party), and then a final and well-deserved stretch. 

Questions?? Ask Away!

Can I do barre even if I have an injury?

Probably.  Make sure that you let your instructor know ahead of time of your injuries.  There are ample modifications that are available to you.

What should I wear to class?

Capris/Pants are recommended along with a tank-top or t-shirt and grippy socks.  Fitted clothing is helpful because your instructor is able to better assess your form.  Wear comfortable clothing that you can move around in pretty easily.

How many times a week should I take barre class?

Ideally you’ll want to take barre class 3x a week in order to see results.  We recommend that you take class at least 2x a week in order to create muscle memory and to make significant progress.

Is barre challenging?

Absolutely!  When you are doing the exercises properly and safely, it will be extremely challenging!  Your muscles will shake and you will discover muscles that you did not even know you had!

Meet our writer, Rachel Wilson, below!

Rachel Wilson taught barre classes for over two years at D.C.’s first barre studio, B.fit.  Rachel trained new teachers at B.fit and at Richmond Barre. She continues to provide ongoing training to instructors. In 2013, Rachel moved to Columbus, Ohio where she went on to create barre-OM™  (www.barre-OM.com) in early 2014. Her barre-OM™ is used at various studios around Columbus, OH.Rachel is a RYT 200 yoga instructor and is also certified to teach Lagree Fitness.  Rachel’s other interests include yoga, going to the movies, rooting for the Seattle Seahawks, and spending time with her friends and family.

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