In a world where exercise is often an added responsibility rather than a part of daily life, many people struggle to stick to a consistent routine. But it doesn’t have to feel like work. No matter how you choose to exercise, the single most important thing is that you are motivated enough to keep doing it. Even the best workout plan is useless if it doesn’t engage you enough to commit to it day after day. And that’s where barre workouts can come in.
One of the reasons barre workouts can be a great fit for many people is the lack of intimidation. The workouts are mainly bodyweight work, supplemented by 5lb or less weights, bands, medicine balls, and of course, the barre. This makes it a much more approachable option for people that shy away from traditional weight training, while still allowing you to build muscular strength similar to pilates and yoga. It’s also a great option for people just beginning to exercise, or for people who need some strength to supplement their cardio routine. Many studios with barre classes are quick to say the workouts are for everyone - no prior dance or workout experience necessary. It’s an environment where anyone can work out and feel accepted.
Barre workouts are very different from traditional strength workouts. Rather than a series of eccentric and concentric contractions, which occurs while doing bicep curls, barre workouts focus on isometric contractions. Isometric contractions occur when the body tenses muscles without significantly shortening or lengthening them; which is why small, pulsing movements are a significant part of barre programs. The isometric approach allows you to activate more muscles with every move, versus traditional strength training, which works to isolate and strengthen individual muscles. Read a deeper dive on isometric traction on our blog.
Another benefit is that it gives you a full body workout, without leaving you gasping for breath or sweating up a storm. This makes it the perfect way to start or end your day, as you don’t need to worry about the accompanying time commitment of catching your breath, refueling, and showering, which can stretch the activity to a prohibitive length of time. But don’t think that means you’re not working hard; it activates so many difficult-to-exercise muscles through its isometric approach that you are sure to be sore for days after each workout.
So if barre workouts intrigue you, give it a try! Whether you want to exercise from home with a workout video and a barre of your own, or a class setting is what motivates you, find the right environment that helps you feel the burn!