If you’re looking for a workout that you can do in the safety of you own home you’ll definitely want to consider Barre, especially if you always wanted to be a ballerina when you grew up!
Barre workouts are a sort of ballet meets pilates, yoga and functional training combo and are much loved by celebrities including Dakota Fanning, Drew Barrymore and even Madonna. It’s a great way to tone your thighs, arms and abs!
What’s so great about Barre workouts anyway?
Here’s four reasons why you should give Barre workouts a try:
1. You’ll get a full body workout
Barre workouts are based on ballet, but also combine some elements from other types of dance. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself doing some regular dance, yoga, or classic Pilates moves.
If you think barre workouts are just for your lower body, you are about to get a big surprise because these workouts are actually perfect when you want to workout your whole body.
A lot of emphasis is placed on lower body muscle groups like your legs and buttocks, but a lot also works on your abdominal muscles, back, shoulders, and arms.
Trust us, by the end of a barre workout, you are going to feel the burn from shoulders to toes, so it can be great when you want a single workout that puts all your muscles through their paces!
2. It’s easy on your joints
Another excellent benefit to barre workouts is the fact that they can be really easy on your joints.
While your muscles will feel the burn and you definitely help to tone and chisel your body, the movements are subtle and help to strengthen your body without putting too much pressure or strain on the joints, tendons, and ligaments of your body.
This means you can do do barre regardless of your weight, how in or out of shape you are, and even if you have conditions causing pain of the joints, such as arthritis.
Some moves may need to be altered, but for the most part, anyone can do the workouts.
3. Barre workouts are good for people who are out of shape
Don’t avoid trying out barre workouts because you have never taken ballet or dance before, or because you are out of shape because you don’t need any sort of experience to do this workout.
The moves are taught slowly and each move is going to be done for quite a few times before moving onto the next. This prevents you from having to “learn” the moves ahead of time. You can just pop in the DVD and get started, following along with the instructor the best you can.
Many people at studios are also beginners, so you don’t need to feel intimidated there either.
4. You might just lose some weight
Barre isn’t advertised as a cardio or weight loss workout, but many people do lose weight if they do the workouts regularly. It all depends on whether you’re watching what you eat at the same time.
You can also choose one of the fat-burning barre workouts as well.
What do you need to do Barre workouts at home?
Barre workouts can definitely be done at home, but there are a few things you will need first.
Stretchy and comfy clothes
To start with, you are going to need to wear the right clothing for your barre workouts.
When you workout at home, you have the luxury of not worrying about how you look and can just wear whatever is comfortable, even if you just choose a sports bra and yoga pants.
Make sure your clothing is stretchable and provides plenty of movement, so preferably yoga pants or leggings. You should avoid shorts since the rubbing of your legs can be uncomfortable for barre workouts.
It is also a good idea to wear some ballet socks (sometimes called barre socks) or yoga socks because they have sticky bottoms to keep you from slipping and sliding on the floor.
Something to lean on
Many people that fall in love with barre workouts will choose a room dedicated to their ballet and dance fitness, and actually install a ballet barre on the wall.
If you want a barre, but don’t have room to attach it to a wall, you can get a portable barre that works just the same, but can be moved around. The barre is attached to a stand and is usually lightweight so its easy to store.
Of course when you’re starting out you could just use the back of a chair for your workouts, which works just fine. Just test the height so that you can reach your leg up on it comfortably.
Other useful equipment
Depending on the type of barre workout you do there might be some other workout tools and accessories you will need.
For one thing, many barre workout routines involve floor work, so if you are working in a room with tile or hardwood floors, you will want a yoga mat.
You may also want a small exercise ball and set of light hand weights, since many of the workouts will ask for you to use them.
It is a good idea to watch through some of the videos or DVDs you are using for your at-home barre workout to find out exactly what you will need. Make a list of the equipment or accessories being used to be sure you have everything ready before your first workout.
Should you buy a DVD or just watch classes on YouTube?
If you have decided to do your barre workouts at home then you will need a class to watch and you can do that via YouTube or by buying a DVD.
The best YouTube Barre classes
If you aren’t quite ready for a DVD and would rather not pay anything for your workouts, you can head over to YouTube.
This is a good option when you just want to sample what the workouts are like and try different instructors and styles of barre workouts.
Some workouts are more cardio-based, while others are Pilates-based, so this does make a difference.
Here are some of our favourite channels that share barre workouts on YouTube:
This 10 minute class focuses on your abs and all you need is a throw pillow.
Jessica Valant Pilates
This workout takes less than 10 minutes and you can do it anywhere. Use a bench at the park while your kids play soccer, or use your stroller with the baby in it!
Summer Girl Fitness
If you want to try a full length workout check out Summer Girl Fitness – this total body workout is a great one to start with!
The best Barre workout DVDs
If you’re just testing out to see whether you like the workouts then watching YouTube videos on your iPad will just about get you by. If you decide this is something you want to do regularly then you’ll want to have something playing on your television instead.
Here are some of the best Barre workout DVDs for you to choose from.
Xtend: Lean and Chiseled with Andrea Rogers
If you want to amp up your Barre workout then this is the DVD for you. Andrea created Xtend Barre to increase the cardio aspect of traditional barre workouts for calorie-busting results. The workouts in this DVD are the same as the ones taught in classes at their studios.
The workouts on this DVD combine sculpting moves with an amped up version to raise your heart rate and help you work up a sweat. If you want to lose weight with a barre workout then this is an excellent choice.
Core Fusion Barre Basics for Beginners
This DVD has a collection of seven different 10-minute workouts that are designed for beginners. It’s a great way to get started and learn the basics of Barre.
Element: Barre Conditioning
Sadie Lincoln is the creator of Barre3, which combines barre workouts with nutrition and community for a whole body approach to wellbeing.
The DVD has two body-weight only routines: Burn & Firm and Lengthen & Strengthen both featuring simple and repetitive moves to sculpt your abs, hips, gluten and thighs without stressing your joints.
As with any new fitness regime use your common sense and start slowly, and if you have any health issues (especially back related) you should check with your doctor first.