Are you considering trying out your very first barre class? Barre is a great exercise option for beginners and fitness pros alike! Barre classes combine movements and positions borrowed from ballet with low-impact, repetitive strength exercises, designed to tone and strengthen muscles—but no prior dance experience is required.
Before you head into your first barre class, here’s what you can expect:
What to Wear (and Bring) to Your First Barre Class
You may be wondering what type of athletic wear is best suited for barre class (no, tutus and ballet shoes are not required!). We suggest that women wear a supportive sports bra with an exercise tank top or fitted shirt. For bottoms, fitted capris, leggings, or exercise pants are all appropriate, but wearing shorts is discouraged.
Some barre classes may require grip/sticky socks, as (typically) no shoes are worn during the class. Grip socks are available for purchase at the studio or can be purchased online beforehand. Honestly, you can go barefoot and be just as productive + safe. All of the other equipment needed for the class will be provided for you, so you simply need to bring yourself, maybe socks, and some water to stay hydrated!
What to Expect from Your First Barre Class
While classes vary in style and length, all barre classes will focus on mobility, range of motion, and strength/toning. Barre classes often rotate through sections focusing on arms, core/abs, and lower body, repeating small isometric movements until muscles are fatigued (prepare to be shaking!) At most classes, these exercises will be timed to the beat of music.
Alongside the use of bodyweight and the ballet barre, many barre classes also incorporate resistance bands, sliders, hand or ankle weights, or exercise balls to further challenge and fatigue muscles. Modern barre studios may offer “fusion” classes, such as cardio barre, HIIT and barre, pilates and barre, and more. It would be helpful to arrive a few minutes early to your first class to ask your instructor any questions about the class format and to become familiar with the equipment you’ll be using.
Because barre borrows exercises and positions from ballet, there may be terminology and movements you are unfamiliar with. Don’t worry—your instructor is there to help you through it!
What to Do After Your First Barre Class
Once your first class is over, congratulate yourself: You did it! Enjoy those post-workout endorphins. Although classes typically include a cooldown and stretching period at the end, don’t forget to give your sore muscles some extra TLC after class. Hydration, stretching, and rest are the keys to ensuring proper muscle recovery after exercise.
Because barre is low-impact, recovery is often quicker than more high-intensity workouts. That means after a day or so, it’s time to schedule your next barre class!