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!