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What is a Barre Workout, Really?

In recent years, there’s been an explosion of barre classes offered at studios and gyms across the world. Many people find this workout is a great complement to high intensity interval training and workouts such as CrossFit. Depending on your goals, the right barre workout can be much more than just a compliment or an accent in your routine. We'll address this misconception and more as we take on some common myths about barre!   

Barre workouts are very popular, but there are many misconceptions about what the workout actually is and how beneficial a serious bare workout can be! Here, we’re going to address the top myths and misconceptions about barre workouts. We've heard a bunch top myths sound like this. Barre class is just ballet and not really a workout. It’s only for young women. Barre class is easy and you don’t gain any muscle. Barre class has no cardio. We hear statements like this all the time and we'd like to set the record straight! You only have to try a barre class once to have your expectations shook a little. If you're interested in taking a barre class, here are the top myths you can drop right now. 


Myth 1: Barre class is ballet

False! Barre classes are ballet inspired, and participants use the ballet barre to enhance the workout and provide the stability necessary for routines that demand a lot of flexibility and focus. A really great barre class can actually be a mix of Pilates, yoga, dance, and functional training.  This energizing and targeted workout will focus on small, controlled movements to sculpt, lengthen, and slim muscle groups across your entire body. Barre has been credited to improve posture, achieve leaner thighs, chiseled arms, a sculpted back, and more. As this workout focuses on every muscle group you’ll see results in no time, with no dance experience required. On this one, the most important thing to keep in mind is ballet is a highly formalized art form and barre is a flexible and dynamic workout that borrows elements from many physical disciplines, including ballet. 


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Myth 2: Barre class is only for young women

Absolutely false. Both men and women of all ages can benefit greatly from a barre class, even NFL football players do barre workouts! To illustrate the benefits that everyone can experience from a barre class we'll focus on flexibility.  Have you ever strained a muscle after a particularly intense workout or find yourself feeling stiff after a stressful workday? Cramps and aches, strained or pulled muscles are usually a result of  inflexibility—something a barre class is laser focused on helping you improve! A barre class won’t require you to stretch before or after your workout, as you’ll be stretching those muscles the whole class. Focusing on your flexibility has an impact where you wouldn't expect. Football players find it helps them improve agility and overall performance on the field while many others find it improves their form during deadlifts and squats.

Targeted movements and gestures that focus on specific muscles are signature to a great barre routine. These movements are often simple and easy to understand often there’s no prior fitness experience required. At the beginning the barre will support you as you learn the movements and with more experience you'll learn how it's actually there as an extension to your own ability. This means you'll find stretches longer, deeper, and more impactful than otherwise.

Barre instructions are also approachable and many instructors will modify them to meet the specific goals and needs of every age and fitness level. A good instructor will guide you through the movements, along with helpful feedback to ensure you’re getting the most out of class. It's great to see a class full of diverse participants and barre is a malleable workout that scales with your own experience level. 


"Hold the balance longer, and get deep muscle engagement because you’re not holding your own weight on the floor, “ says PILOXING Barre creator and founder of PILOXING, Viveca Jensen. 


Myth 3: Barre class is easy and you won’t gain muscle

Every muscle group is worked one by one in a barre class, often to the point of fatigue. When you try barre, you'll notice what many participants call, "the shakes". It's so important to push through these symptoms, and it's what makes a barre workout both difficult and impactful. The first few barre classes will be tough, as your body has likely never been asked to perform most of the movements. If you’re feeling exhausted from head to toe after class, welcome to the club. 

Building muscle doesn’t always require heavy lifting. In a barre class there may be some light hand weights involved in your routine. PILOXING’s signature ½ pound weighted gloves can be worn from start to finish, further intensifying the PILOXING Barre’s boxing experience! In this type of workout the benefits are complimentary to high intensity interval training, or HIIT classes. Many have enjoyed lengthening their hold time, more endurance, and further sculpting in target areas that are hard to give definition. Barre focuses on stabilizing muscles, which helps build endurance for higher impact workouts. Many injuries from high impact workouts are attributed to a weak core, poor lower body strength, and improper balance and form.

HIIT classes are not for everyone. These classes have been celebrated as a hallmark of today's fitness culture but fact is: high intensity does not mean more results for everyone. If you're interested in a HIIT class but find that it might be out of reach, get into a barre class. Once there you'll focus on strengthening your core and establishing a balanced relationship to your own limits in a low risk high reward environment. In a barre class you're investing in yourself and widening your horizons for that HIIT class or gaining muscle during more traditional lifting routines. 

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Myth 4: There’s no cardio in barre class

Barre is a low-impact workout focused  training your breathing, this is very similar to yoga. As you exhale during the hardest part of the exercise and then reset, you can speed up your movements, and your breath, to get your heart pumping faster. The one-inch isometric movements in barre “fire up the muscle and make it more elastic, but not too big to tear the muscle,” said Burr Leonard, founder of The Bar Method. “You’re getting a killer workout.”

A typical barre class may not have you dripping in sweat, but your muscles will definitely be shaking their way through class. “You’re spending an extended period of time in a muscle (quad) contraction, while performing an isometric hold to intensify the work,” said fitness expert Kira Stokes. Your muscles shaking is a sign that you’re feeling it, and while your heart rate is working at 40-50% of your maximum heart rate, there is still cardio and heart health to be gained from a traditional Barre class. Stated earlier, barre classes are highly approachable and many instructors will modify them. Our founder Viveca Jensen fused barre with boxing, a dynamic understanding of pilates and her passion for dance to provide more of a heart pumping and gratifying workout. 

There’s are many variations of barre classes you can take that incorporate more cardio, which brings us to our next myth…

Myth 5: All barre classes are the same

Very false! PILOXING Barre infuses the unique element of Pilates, boxing, and additional types of dance into the class, adding an extra cardiovascular push to the 45 minute barre class. Viveca Jensen, founder of PILOXING says, “I always want to switch up something. You want that duel action in your own body, so I put boxing in a Pilates Barre program. Kick up that cardiovascular [aspect] that is usually not in a barre program. You have the cardiovascular, but [also] the great toning benefits of barre.”

The barre is used as a resistance and stability tool in PILOXING Barre, allowing for greater toning benefits in both Pilates and Barre disciplines. “Hold the balance longer, and get deep muscle engagement because you’re not holding your own weight on the floor, “ said Viveca, because you’re using the barre for support. Achieve better body balance, deeper muscle engagement, and get stronger, healthier joints with PILOXING Barre.


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Barre class, and PILOXING Barre, are fantastic workouts on their own, whether you’re supplementing higher impact classes into your workout regimen or just going to barre class for the unique and impactful workout on its own. Improve flexibility, core strength, and lengthen your muscles—all while enjoying a low impact workout that's easy on your joints, and designed for everyone, every gender, and fitness levels. Dance, shake, box, and plie your way to leaner muscles and greater athletic ability with a solid barre class!



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