The beginners guide to Barre

The Beginners Guide to Barre Classes

Barre is an accessible and beginner-friendly form of exercise for everyone, regardless of skill or fitness level. In this blog, we’ll walk through how barre was created, basic barre movements and terms, equipment used in barre classes, the unique benefits of barre classes, and explain everything you need to know before taking your first barre class.

What is Barre?

Barre was created in the 1950s by Lotte Berk, a ballerina who, after sustaining a back injury, began combining her traditional ballet routines with rehabilitative therapy exercises. Since then, barre has developed into a popular form of full-body exercise that combines movements and positions borrowed from ballet with low-impact, repetitive strength exercises.

Understanding Basic Barre Movements & Terms

Because barre borrows movements from ballet, several terms and movements may be unfamiliar to beginners. However, no prior dance experience or knowledge is required to participate in barre—you’ll get the hang of it in no time. To get you started, here are some common barre movements and terms to know:

Common Barre Positions:

  •  First Position: Standing on the floor with your heels touching and your toes apart, forming a narrow V shape.
  •  Second Position: Standing on the floor with your feet slightly wider than shoulder distance and your toes slightly pointing on an outward diagonal (also sometimes called “wide second”).
  •  Parallel: Standing on the floor with your feet straight and facing forward (like the number 11), either together or hip-width apart.
  • Neutral Spine: A relaxed position where your back is perfectly in line from the tailbone to the spine to the neck and head, not straining in either direction.

    Common Barre Movements:

  • Pulse: A small, controlled muscle movement typically done to the beat of music. Pulses involve a small range of motion, often indicated by the phrase “up an inch, down an inch.”
  • Relevé: Taken from ballet, this instruction simply means to lift your heel(s) off the ground.
  • Point/Flex: A point means to extend your toes pointing away from your body, lengthening your leg muscles outward. The opposite of a point, a flex means to pull your toes upward toward your body, stretching your calves and hamstrings.
  • Plié: Also from ballet, a plié indicates bending the knees then straightening them again, typically with hips and feet turned outward and the heels pressed together.

Gear and Equipment Used in Barre Classes

There are two pieces of equipment unique to barre classes: a ballet-style barre often used for support during exercises and a stall barre, which is a tall piece of exercise equipment with rungs of various heights often used for stretching and corrective exercises.

While many barre movements require only your body weight, barre instructors may incorporate light hand or ankle weights, resistance bands, exercise ballers, or sliders to further challenge and tone your muscles.

The Benefits of Barre

Barre is often praised for its ability to help isolate and tone lean muscle throughout all parts of the body, including your core, glutes, arms, and thighs/legs. The use of repeated slow, small movements allows you to work these muscles in a more focused way than traditional strength training exercises and target deeper muscles that high-intensity workouts might miss.

In addition to gaining strength and toning muscles, barre exercises help to increase flexibility, build a stronger core, and improve posture and balance. This increased mobility and range of motion are not only helpful for your workouts, but for the quality of your everyday life. The low-impact movements of barre are also easier on your joints than high-impact strength training, which means quicker recovery times and a lessened chance of injury.

Like all forms of exercise, barre is beneficial for overall physical health and longevity. And because of the emphasis on the mind-body connection, barre is also known for increasing mental clarity and reducing stress through the release of endorphins.

What to Expect from Your First Barre Class

What to Wear: Women should wear a supportive sports bra with an exercise tank top or fitted shirt. We like the bra built into our tanks for barre class. We listed our favorite barre tank that we have in every color below! For bottoms, fitted capris, leggings, or exercise pants are all appropriate, but wearing shorts is discouraged.

Most barre classes require grip/sticky socks, as no shoes are worn during the class.After testing various barre socks, we’re excited to recommend the absolute best. Our tried-and-true selection ensures unparalleled stability during your barre workout, offering a secure grip that outperforms other options. Crafted with the toes cut out, these Tucketts Allegro socks have proven to be the top choice in our assessments, providing the ideal balance of comfort and functionality.

What to Bring: All of the equipment needed for your class will be provided, except barre socks and hydration.

What to Expect: While classes vary in style and length, all barre classes will focus on a variety of mobility, range of motion, and strength/toning exercises. In most classes, these exercises will be timed to the beat of music.

Barre classes often rotate through sections focusing on arms, core/abs, and lower body, repeating small isometric movements until all muscle groups are fatigued and end with a cooldown/stretching period.

Modern barre studios in Grand Rapids may offer fusion classes that combine barre with another form of exercise such as cardio barre, HIIT barre, or pilates and barre. If it’s your first time taking a barre class in Grand Rapids, consider arriving a few minutes early to get familiar with the equipment and to ask any questions about the class format to the instructor. Your barre instructor is an expert there to help you succeed and get the most out of your class.

Ready to hit the barre in GR? Schedule a barre class at Fever | Yoga Cycle Strength today.

Disclosure: As an amazon associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

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Top 5 benefits of Barre classes

Top 5 Benefits of Barre Classes

Barre is a unique form of full-body exercise that combines positions and moves borrowed from ballet with small, repetitive muscle movements. Barre classes have increased in popularity over the years as fitness lovers are discovering its fun, distinctive format and numerous benefits.

Some of the many benefits of barre classes include:

Benefit #1: Overall Muscle Toning and Strengthening
Barre classes offer a full body workout, toning your core, glutes, arms, and thighs/legs. Due to its use of small, isometric movements, barre often targets the deeper muscles in the body that are missed in other high-intensity workouts—and instructors may incorporate light weights, resistance bands, and/or stability balls to work your muscles even harder.

Benefit #2: Increased Flexibility and Mobility
Barre classes focus on both strength and flexibility, often incorporating several stretching and lengthening exercises throughout. This increased mobility and range of motion are helpful not only for future workouts, but for everyday life. Don’t worry, no flexibility is required to begin taking barre classes, but you’ll be impressed with how much your flexibility improves after just a few weeks!

Benefit #3: Better Posture and Balance
Because barre classes are both strengthening and lengthening for your muscles, you may notice improved posture and balance over time. Barre focuses heavily on maintaining proper alignment and strengthens your chest and shoulders, which helps prevent slouching. Good posture has benefits beyond what you may realize: it can help with deeper breathing as well as prevent back pain and injury.

Benefit #4: Reduced Stress and Increased Clarity
Like all forms of exercise, barre is great for reducing stress and increasing mental clarity. More than some higher-intensity workouts, though, barre requires a deep intentional focus and mindfulness to maintain a mind-body connection. Exercise also leads to increased production of the endorphins that keep our minds sharp and clear.

Benefit #5: Faster Recovery and Lower Impact than Other Workouts
Barre is an excellent form of low-impact exercise that can be easily modified, making it safe and accessible for people of all life stages (including pregnancy) and skill levels. Barre’s gentleness on the joints also leads to faster recovery times, meaning fewer rest days needed between classes and a decreased chance of injury during and after the workout.
The benefits of barre are almost endless for beginners and pros alike—so what are you waiting for?

Jump in and schedule your next barre class today.

barre vs strength training: which is best for your workout?

Barre vs. Strength Training: What is Best for Your Workout? 

The vast array of fitness classes and workout options available today can be both exciting and, let’s face it, overwhelming. With so many styles to choose from, it can be difficult to know what workouts best suit our lifestyle and will benefit us most in the long run. 

In this blog, we’ll unpack the basics of two popular workouts, barre and strength training, discuss the unique benefits of each workout, and explain what workout is best for your fitness goals.

Understanding Barre vs. Strength Training 

Barre is a form of full-body exercise that combines movements and positions borrowed from ballet with low-impact, repetitive strength exercises, designed to isolate and strengthen muscles. Barre classes often rotate through sections focusing on arms, core/abs, and lower body, repeating small, isometric movements targeting one muscle area until all muscles are fatigued. While barre can be done without equipment, classes typically incorporate a ballet barre and light weights, resistance bands, sliders, and/or exercise balls.

In our years of experience, barre at home can be just as effective if you have a portable barre system and the right guide. We encourage our home fitness folks to try the Booty Kicker for home barre success. It’s compact enough to slip into the closet, is sturdy (that’s a big one) and has slats at the bottom for free weights. 

Strength training (also known as resistance training) is a form of exercise focused on gaining muscle mass, building strength, and increasing endurance. Strength training encompasses a wide variety of exercises, using body weight or equipment, with a focus on building muscle mass in all major muscle groups. Bodyweight exercises like lunges, squats, push-ups, and planks are examples of strength training, as are movements that incorporate weights and resistance machines. 

For at home or in studio strength training, we prefer SPRI dumbbells lined in vinyl. If the weights are not protected, they will start to peel and shed rather quickly. You can purchase a range of sizes (recommended) to gain gradually and safely. If you’re new to strength training, start with a low weight of 2 or 3 pounds. After curling a few reps, those light weights will feel much heavier. Continue to progress to heavier weights until you meet your new “edge” and comfortability.

The Benefits of Barre 

Barre offers a full body workout, toning your core, glutes, arms, and thighs/legs. Due to its use of small, isometric movements, barre often targets the deeper muscles in the body that are missed in other workouts. And, because barre is low-impact and easy on joints and muscles, there is a decreased chance of injury and recovery is often faster than higher-intensity workouts. 

Barre classes focus on both strength and flexibility, often incorporating stretching and lengthening exercises throughout. These exercises contribute to increased mobility and range of motion that are beneficial in everyday life and lead to better posture and balance, as well. 

The mind-body connection and focus required for barre classes help reduce stress and increase mental clarity—not to mention the feel-good endorphins that come after. 

The Benefits of Strength Training 

The most obvious benefit of strength training is an overall increase in muscle mass and a toned physique. However, strength training also helps build bone density, joint flexibility, and balance—all of which lead to a higher quality of life and a lower risk of injury overall. 

Strength training may also be an ideal form of exercise for those pursuing fat loss, as increased muscle mass leads to a higher resting metabolic rate. This means that your body consistently burns more calories when at rest, rather than just during your workout. 

Alongside its physical benefits, consistent strength training also contributes to overall health and longevity, better sleep, and mental clarity. 

Barre vs. Strength Training: What is Best for Your Workout? 

The simple answer is that both exercises can be extremely beneficial for your overall health and what workout is “best” will depend on your unique fitness goals and preferences. 

We recommend incorporating a combination of barre, strength training, and other exercises into your routine to increase your overall strength and help you avoid injury, mental boredom, and burnout. Switching up your workouts will continue to challenge your body and help you see more consistent results over time. 

However, when it comes to exercise, it’s also important to do what you love—if a barre class gets you excited to wake up in the morning, do that! If a strength training plan helps you unwind after a long day, do that! Prioritizing the forms of exercise that you 

enjoy the most will ensure you stay consistent over time and see exercise as a gift to your body and mind, not a punishment. 

Whether it’s a strength class, a barre class, or one of our fusion options, Fever would love to be a part of your fitness journey. Schedule a class today. 

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Barre Class:Terms to know before you hit the barre

Barre Class: Terms to Know Before You Hit the Barre

Barre is an increasingly popular form of full-body exercise, combining movements and positions borrowed from ballet with low-impact, repetitive strength exercises. Although somewhat similar to other toning workouts like pilates, there are many pieces of equipment, positions, and movements that are unique to barre.

To help prepare you before you hit the barre, here are some common terms to know:
Barre Equipment Terms: Ballet Barre: In barre classes, a ballet-style barre is often used for support during exercises (hence the name!).

Stall Barre: A stall barre is a tall piece of exercise equipment with rungs of various heights, like a ladder. The stall barre is often used for stretching and corrective exercises. Typically, people hold the very top rung and allow their bodies to hang and lengthen.

Barre Positions to Know:
● First Position: In first position, you are standing on the floor with your heels touching and your toes apart, forming a narrow V shape.
● Second Position: In second position (also sometimes called “wide second”), you are standing on the floor with your feet slightly wider than shoulder distance and your toes slightly pointed on an outward diagonal.
● Parallel: In parallel position, you are standing on the floor with your feet straight and facing forward (like the number 11), either together or hip-width apart.
● Neutral Spine: A neutral spine is a relaxed position where your back is perfectly in line from the tailbone to the spine to the neck and head, not straining in either direction.
Barre Movement Terms:

● Pulse: A pulse is a small, controlled muscle movement. Typically done to the beat of music, pulses involve a small range of motion, often indicated by the phrase “up an inch, down an inch.”

●Relevé: Taken from ballet, this instruction simply means to lift your heel(s) off the ground.
Point/Flex: A point is when you extend your toes pointing away from your body, lengthening your leg muscles. The opposite of a point, a flex is when you pull your toes upward toward your body, stretching your calves and hamstrings.
●Plié: Also taken from ballet, a plié means to bend the knees and straighten them again, typically with hips and feet turned outward and the heels pressed together. Tuck: A tuck is a movement involving your pelvic muscles, done by dropping your tailbone down and then pulling your abdominal muscles up toward your spine. This move is often performed lying down, pushing the hips forward rhythmically to a beat.
●Seat Work: In barre, seat work refers to exercises and movements focused on your hamstrings/upper thighs and glutes—the area that touches a seat.
If it’s familiar with the equipment and to ask any questions to the instructor beforehand. If you still feel confused or unsure of how to use the equipment or how to perform certain exercises, your barre instructor is an expert there to help you succeed and get the most out of all barre has to offer!

Ready to get started? Schedule your first barre class at YogaFever | Yoga Cycle Strength today!

What is Barre?

What is Barre?

Today we’ll explore the basics of what barre is, the equipment it uses, and discover the unique benefits of this form of exercise.

Barre was created by ballerina Lotte Berk in 1959. After a back injury, Berk began combining her normal ballet routines with her rehabilitative therapy exercises and formed what we know today as barre. So what is barre, exactly? And how different is it from ballet and other forms of exercise?

Basics of Barre

Barre is a form of full-body exercise that combines movements and positions borrowed from ballet with low-impact, repetitive strength exercises, designed to isolate and strengthen muscles. Barre classes often rotate through sections focusing on arms, core/abs, and lower body, repeating small isometric movements targeting one muscle area until muscles are fatigued (yes, you’ll be shaking!) While these movements are the basis of barre exercise, modern barre may include “fusion” classes, incorporating barre movements alongside cardio, HIIT, pilates, and more.

Equipment Used in Barre

Although barre gets its name from the use of the ballet barre, that isn’t the only piece of equipment used in barre exercise. Many barre classes also incorporate resistance bands, sliders, hand or ankle weights, or exercise balls. Body weight movements are often included and, when used, weights are kept light due to the repetitive nature of the exercises. Participants may exercise in bare feet or in socks (socks with special grips may be preferred).

Benefits of Barre

Barre is often praised for its ability to help isolate and tone lean muscle throughout all parts of the body. The slow, repetitive movements used allow you to work muscles in a more focused way than traditional strength training exercises (think squats, push ups, or mountain climbers). The low-impact movements of barre are also significantly easier on your joints than high-impact strength training. In addition to building strength, participants can expect to see increased flexibility and a stronger core. Another benefit? Improved posture and balance. And, like all forms of exercise, barre is beneficial in improving overall health, reducing stress, and increasing mental clarity.

You definitely don’t need a dance background to experience the benefits and fun that barre classes have to offer, so don’t let that intimidate you! In fact, no prior experience or knowledge is required to participate in barre. Whether you’re a total beginner or a former ballerina, barre is a fantastic option for ​anyone​looking to build strength, tone muscle, and increase their mind-body connection.

Schedule your first barre class with us at ​yogafevergr.com/schedule

*Blog post written by Jordan An