The Benefits Of Taking Barre Classes

If you're curious about barre classes, you're not alone. This kind of exercise class has become more and more popular in recent years, taking quite a few pointers from traditional ballet to create a workout that challenges practically every muscle in your body — while delivering countless benefits to boot. Whether or not you did ballet when you were younger, barre gives you the best of both worlds: it takes all the improvements in balance and flexibility from classic ballet through using a barre and incorporating movements like pliés, but doesn't foray into the more difficult world of any leaps (so not to fret!). 

Barre expert Julie Erickson explained it all to Byrdie: "A barre workout combines traditional elements of a classical ballet barre workout with Pilates and contemporary leg exercises to offer a low-impact, challenging workout focusing on the lower body." That includes warming up, toning, stretching, and seriously improved strength. As per the outlet, practically anyone should try barre as long as they have instructor supervision, but it is recommended to avoid the exercise if you have injuries that would inhibit the movements or lead to further harm.

Barre trainer Michelle Ditto shared that barre brings "the mindfulness of yoga, and the high intensity of strength workouts," so it will challenge you from the inside out (via Very Well Fit). As a "a jam-packed 50 minutes of positivity and shaky muscles," barre is fun and challenging. Here are all the benefits you get from this amazing workout!

Barre strengthens both your body and mind

While barre is seen as more of an exercise that challenges your muscles (and can make them extremely toned if we do say so ourselves), these workout classes actually deliver both sides of the equation, much like yoga. While many exercise routines can help your peace of mind, barre actually delivers incredible benefits to your brain — it's not just about your muscles.

As explained by Very Well Fit, barre classes are all about getting you that "mind-body connection" we need so much, especially in the age of massive, constant distractions like Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and the like. While social media is amazing, it can definitely be beneficial to disconnect from all of it every once and a while — and barre classes give you that. The different movements help you further inhabit your body and feel connected to yourself, which can in turn improve your mind-body connection throughout your day-to-day. Trainer Michelle Ditto explained, "Holding each position can be the most mentally challenging part of the class," but "a mental and physical connection is the goal... [to] better attend to your body's cues and needs in a way that helps you go one inch deeper than you did yesterday."

Of course, barre also brings major health benefits to your body: according to The Thirty, it will strengthen muscles in ways you didn't think possible. Trainer Kate Grove explained, "Barre involves using a student's own body weight as resistance."

Barre classes increase flexibility, balance, and endurance

Of course, when thinking of barre classes, it's difficult not to immediately associate the workout with ballet dancers' incredible, jaw-dropping flexibility. Ballet is known to stretch out and elongate muscles to no end, and help dancers ace their splits in no time. While bi-weekly barre classes won't necessarily get you to that point, this workout may improve your flexibility in ways you'll hardly be able to believe.

As explained by Byrdie, barre classes are one of the best ways to get you that much closer to a split: both the improved posture and all that stretching will make you feel more limber and graceful in no time. Very Well Fit says barre's movements help you achieve flexibility, which can assist in everyday tasks and increase mobility. Meanwhile, according to The Thirty, barre brings all that flexibility while making your muscles feel longer, which can help prevent you from pulling a muscle (no one wants that). When it comes to barre, it's all about major wins!

Barre also gives you more of a sense of balance (via Masterclass) and helps your overall endurance. As per SHAPE, barre focuses on both isotonic movements and isometric contractions, so expect tons of holding one same position for a long time. While difficult, this will help elevate your endurance, boost your stamina, and may even decrease health risks like heart problems in the future (via Healthline).

Many people see an improvement in posture and coordination

When thinking about how your body can improve with barre classes, it's important to note that benefits extend far beyond outward effects. Sure, we all love extra-strong muscles, but barre is actually an incredible workout for improving your body from within. In fact, barre's benefits encompass a full spectrum of utmost vitality, which will help you in your other workouts, ranging from Pilates, to yoga, to standard strength training at the gym. 

First off, barre is known to help improve posture, which most of us need from using our phones and computers so often throughout the day. As per Byrdie, improving posture is one of this workout's biggest benefits, citing a 2020 study showing that pelvic, head, and shoulder posture was greatly helped from taking 50-minute barre classes twice weekly for just three months. This is mostly due to the stretches and Ballet-inspired positions throughout the class, but it's also about strengthening your back: teacher Leah Willoughby told the outlet, "There's a big focus on strengthening the muscles through the chest and shoulders in barre practice, which in turn prevents us from slouching."

Similarly, barre also helps out your coordination from practicing correct alignment throughout the class. Trainer Michelle Ditto told Very Well Fit that this workout is actually "one of the most accessible ways to improve your coordination," which, even if you're usually clumsy, gives you "more stability as you move through everyday life."

Barre classes might make you feel more relaxed

Last but certainly not least, much like yoga and pilates, barre classes could relax you in ways you might not be expecting. While yoga's meditation aspect makes it well-known as a practice that improves your sense of calmness and tranquility, many would be surprised to find out that barre can deliver similar benefits.

According to Byrdie, barre classes may reduce your sense of stress in your daily life, mostly because it is a kind of "cross" between slower, more gentle workouts like yoga, and more intense exercise that really gets your heart racing. Similar to yoga, barre involves holding movements for a long time, which forces you to slow down and simply focus on the challenge at hand — while quieting your mind, too. As per the outlet, barre classes will give you a refreshed feeling, and leave you ready to take on any problem thrown your way. It's a great workout for managing anxiety; trainer Kate Grove told The Thirty that participants "often report that they feel not only physically stronger but mentally stronger as well since the exercises challenge mental stamina and will."

Byrdie cites barre's power in toning abdominal muscles and your general core, and master teacher Michelle Ditto calls core strength "a foundation" for the rest of the workout, per Very Well Fit. Time to hit the barre, power up that core, and give this form of exercise a try!