Are Barre Workouts Really Effective? A Beginner’s Guide to Barre Class

Are Barre Workouts Really Effective? A Beginner’s Guide to Barre Class

You're going to love this whole-body workout.

By PelotonUpdated January 17, 2023


Whether you’re a busy professional, a stay-at-home parent, or a fitness enthusiast with little free time, the ideal workout is one that you can easily accomplish yet one that makes you feel stronger, healthier, and more positive about yourself.

Peloton has just the thing.

It’s called the Barre Workout and millions of people are discovering this intense but low-impact way to quickly burn calories, increase bone density, boost metabolism, and enhance cardiovascular endurance–all without putting a strain on ligaments and tendons, like other fitness training can.

What is Barre?

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The great thing about Barre is that it is a whole-body workout. It engages muscles you don’t normally target, including those deep within your body that squats, lunges, and sit-ups just can’t reach. With its high reps and low-impact movements, Barre helps you to fine-tune your muscles. Unlike yoga and Pilates alone, it incorporates aerobics into each workout, thereby strengthening your cardiovascular system and enabling you to burn a significant number of calories and maintain a healthy body weight.

It is distinguished from other group fitness activities by its use of the ballet barre, a horizontal handrail, and its incorporation of movements derived from ballet. But you needn’t worry. No ballet experience is required to enjoy the full benefits of a Barre workout, which is one of the reasons it is growing in popularity.

Benefits of Barre

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Aside from being an enjoyable and sustainable way to strengthen and tone your muscles, Barre has many other physical, health, and mental benefits. These include:

  • Improved posture. The strengthening of your chest and shoulder muscles during Barre practice enables you to stand taller and prevents you from slouching with a sense of elongation throughout your body.

  • Stronger glutes. Barre works these muscles to stabilize your pelvis and help alleviate pressure on your back, hips, and knees.

  • Better-toned stomach muscles. Focusing on balance and strength, Barre provides an intense core workout, which enables your abdominal muscles to hold your body in correct alignment.

  • Increased flexibility. With its ballet-like focus on posture and stretching, Barre pushes your body’s range of motion to its limit with adaptable movements.

  • Reduced stress. Like most exercise, Barre has a calming effect as you maintain a level of focus and concentration on the small, precise movements that are utilized.

  • Increased mental clarity. As with all exercise, Barre releases endorphins that keep your mind sharp and positively focused.

  • Increased heart rate and cardiovascular endurance. Improved blood flow not only supplies your muscles with fresh blood and oxygen, but it also flushes muscle waste back to your kidneys. Efficient waste management results in faster recovery times, less soreness following a workout, and overall improved tissue health.

  • Increased metabolism. Barre workouts enable you to control your weight by quickly burning calories.

  • Increased bone density. Regular Barre workouts build stronger bones, helping to prevent conditions like osteoporosis and avoid injury.

  • Quick results. After just a few weeks of consistent Barre classes, you’ll begin to see a difference in your body. You’ll also feel stronger, more energetic and more agile.


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Peloton offers an extensive array of Barre classes conducted by instructors Ally Love and Hannah Corbin, both of whom are former dancers and certified trainers. As Ally and Hannah like to say, Barre is the ideal workout for anyone looking for fun, dynamic, and music-filled workouts that target a variety of muscle groups.

Some of the popular Barre positions in the class include a 6-move lower-body workout targeting the lower body that involves:

Wide Leg Bend

From a wide stance with your toes facing the front diagonally, you bend your legs to a 90-degree angle, then come halfway up, and repeat 16 times.

V-Position Bend

Starting with your heels together and toes two inches apart, you bend your knees and lift your heels 1”-2” off the ground. Then, you bend both knees, making a diamond shape with your legs, before coming halfway up. Repeat 16 times.

Bent Knee, parallel

Beginning with feet hip-width apart and toes facing forward, you extend your right leg directly behind you, bend both of your knees, tuck your pelvis forward, and lift your left heel off the ground. Then you pulse your right leg backward while keeping your pelvis tucked. You repeat this movement 16 times on the right side and then on the left side.

Straight Leg, turned out

Starting with your feet hip-width apart, you extend your right leg back diagonally with a flexed foot and your knee turned out. Then you lift and lower the right leg about 12 inches. You repeat this movement 16 times on the right and then repeat on the left side.


For this movement, you lay on your left side and bring your bent knees together. Then, you lift both feet together for greater range of motion. You keep your feet elevated and hips still while opening and closing the top (right) knee. You repeat this movement 16 times and then repeat 16 times on the other side.

Frog Lift

While laying on your stomach with your forehead resting on your hands, you bend both of your knees to the side and touch your toes together. You then lift your knees off the ground by squeezing your glutes with your toes going toward the ceiling. You repeat this move 16 times.

Examples of some popular Barre exercises that work your core muscles include:

  • X Abs, in which you lie on your back with your arms and legs splayed out in an X position. You then roll your body up as you reach your left hand to your right ankle and lift your right leg to meet your hand. You then repeat on the opposite side and continue alternating sides.

  • V-ups, in which you lie on your back with your arms straight and in line with your ears, and your legs straight and together on the floor. You then simultaneously lift your arms, torso, and legs, bending at the waist, creating a V-like position in which your legs and toes remain straight.

  • Dancer side bends, in which you stand with feet wider than hip-width apart and your toes moderately turned out with your arms extended above your head. You then reach out and side bend to the right, going as far as you can while bracing your abs and holding for three seconds. You then return to start and repeat the same movement on the left side.

These are just a few of the many ballet-like moves incorporated in a comprehensive Peloton Barre class. Get a glimpse of what to expect in this 40-second Peloton Barre trailer on Facebook.

What to Expect When Doing a Barre Class

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When you participate in an on-site Barre class, you can typically expect a large, open room with fixed barres along one or more walls, almost always with mirrors, like a ballet studio. Each person in the class will have a place on the barre and will usually stay in the same spot, at least an arm’s length from each other.

The Barre class may include extra equipment, such as resistance bands, exercise balls, small hand weights, and a mat. Throughout the class, your instructor will either lead exercises by example and/or demonstrate from different positions. If you are a beginner, you may want to let your instructor know so he or she can help you with technique if necessary and you should definitely let them know if you have any health issues, injuries, or if you are pregnant.

Classes typically last 45 minutes to an hour. They’ll start with a warmup and then include a mixture of barre, cardio, and stretch sections that may include the aforementioned equipment. For much of the class, you will be doing your exercise with one or both hands on the barre.

During your session, don’t overexert yourself. Focus instead on your body position, breathing and timing. Although Barre classes are fun, bear in mind that they are a full body workout and accept that it could be hard as you work areas of your body previously neglected. If you need to take a break, then do so. Realize that others in your group may have been doing Barre classes for months or years and have built up a greater endurance that you will eventually achieve.

Peloton also offers an alternative to on-site Barre classes that you can participate in the privacy and comfort of your own home by trying the Peloton App for free.

What to Wear to Barre Class

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The most common female attire for a Barre fitness class is leggings, a tank or breathable top over a sports bra, biker shorts, and no shoes. For men, stretchy shorts are best since they’ll give you the freedom to execute Barre moves without worry about splitting your pants. For both, grip socks are a must for traction.

Other accessories to consider include a water bottle to hydrate as you perspire, a towel to wipe off after your session, a hair tie or band, and a heart rate monitor or a smartwatch.

Get the Most Out of Your Barre Workout

A Barre workout is a fun yet effective way to strengthen and tone your whole body, while staying in your best physical and mental state.

To get started today, download the Peloton App and try for free.