By Circle Editorial Team


Barre is a fitness phenomenon that has exploded in recent years. The workout is as challenging as it is effective at sculpting women’s bodies — its enthusiasts are known for being physical overachievers who are already reasonably fit but are still committed to seeking improvement. This begs the question:


What is barre, exactly?

By definition, a barre refers to the handrail used by ballet dancers to maintain balance while exercising.

Wait, ballet?

Yep! Lotte Berk, a German-Jewish dancer, originally invented the workout that would become “barre” to recover from a back injury. Over time, she found that her special combination of ballet moves, yoga, and rehabilitative exercises helped her not only to heal but also to hold on to her dancer’s figure.

It focuses on low-impact, high-intensity movements designed to strengthen your body in ways that few other workouts can. The full-body, muscle endurance routine is adequately split to cover major muscle groups like the core, arms, legs, and glutes. These muscles are worked through small targeted movements, high numbers of repetitions, and sometimes a bit of weight or resistance. Individuals struggling with flexibility can even look forward to the stretching exercises woven into the workout.


Other Benefits

There are other benefits to practicing barre. These would include:

  • Improving Posture
    • There’s a big focus on strengthening the muscles through the chest and shoulders in barre practice, which in turn prevents us from slouching.
  • Joint Protection
    • Participating in a low impact activity that is designed to build lean muscle while focusing on alignment can have a substantial effect on keeping the natural ageing process at bay. In addition, the barre used in its namesake workout provides another level of protection for joints during weight-bearing exercise.
  • Reducing Stress
    • When you do barre workouts, you’re practising aspects of yoga, including deep breathing and relaxation, which aids the way your body handles stress. As a result, your body’s heart rate will recover quicker post-workout and when you’re in stressful situations.

Getting Started

Interested? We’ve got just the thing for you! We’ve just released a documentary series on barre over on Watch, so be sure to check it out! We recommend starting here, where the coach goes over the preparation work and terms typically used in a barre class.


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