Raising the Barre On Your Workouts

Admit it, you’re tired of the elliptical. And while you’re being honest, you’re kind of over the treadmill, stair stepper, and most other standard gym equipment. If you’re like me, then working out needs to be fun and exciting to really commit to it. I am a product of my generation and I like instant gratification and immediate results. The gym just wasn’t cutting it anymore for me, and so I started looking into new forms of exercise to pursue. My curiosity, ADD, and impatience led me to try out a barre class.


Barre was a term I was previously familiar with as a former dancer, and naturally I thought this class would be a breeze given my history. I envisioned exercises along the lines of leg raises, plies, maybe even a few calf raises on our tippy toes, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Barre classes are an intensive combination of pilates, yoga, and ballet aimed at the sculpting long, lean muscles of a dancer’s body. Barre uses a series of repetitious movements, use of very light free weights (think one pound), upper-body exercises, planks, and stretching to give you an intense full body workout.


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About ten minutes into my class I started to understand and feel how hard my body was going to be working for the next fifty minutes. I 100% underestimated a one pound free weight and this tiny stability ball I would be working with. The precision exercises really targeted muscle groups that I have been dying to tone like thighs and triceps. My heart rate was all over the place throughout those sixty minutes, and to say I was drenched in sweat is an understatement. I left the class feeling like my butt had totally been kicked which was exactly what I needed. Everyone, including myself, looked beat but still really happy. Adrenaline and sweat are a powerful combination people. Seriously, try to find a comparable feeling to what you feel post hardcore work out. I dare you.


The good news is that barre classes are popping up everywhere. Gyms, yoga centers, and all sorts of specialty studios are incorporating barre classes into their rotation. Want even better news? Most studios typically give some sort of new member free trial class or discount (and don’t forget to use those student IDs that are oh so helpful). Spend a little time doing your research, check out group buying sites, and read reviews to find great deals on local classes. So if you’re looking for a way to rev up your workouts try out a barre class and see what all the hype is about.


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Photos from Lava Barre (DC area studio)


By Ali Bentolila

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  • Reply August 1, 2013


    i sweat just as much at barre as i do at kickboxing. what a great workout and you can see such a difference in your physique in a short time

    • Reply August 2, 2013

      Ali Bentolila

      I totally agree. I think I may have been even more wiped out than after some spin classes!

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