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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