Recently, a journalist asked me what the benefits of Barre was. In a short and sweet reply, I had sent her back a few words regarding the benefits. Here is what I said:
What are some of the benefits of Barre?
Barre can definitely help one to increase body awareness while at the same time having fun and getting to workout with others. You may gain awareness and strength in your arms, core, and will definitely feel some activation in your legs. Special attention may be dedicated to feet as well, which is sometime hard to target with other classes that may require shoes.
Can Anyone do Barre? Is it only for graceful dancer types?
Most definitely anyone can do barre. Instructor cueing can assist in helping people get the proper body alignment and proper muscle firing patterns we're looking for. While barre is not specifically for graceful dancer types, warning, you might turn into a graceful dancer type once you're done! Why? Because inherently barre is in a way an extension of the more formal practice of ballet...and in ballet, you are cued for good posture, grace, and body lengthening techniques. So from class, you get a good mind to muscle connection that helps you feel connected to your body and lengthened out, just like a ballet dancer!
Why do you love teaching it?
I love teaching barre because of the aspects of the mind to body connection. It is not just mindless movement, as you might experience in more intense HIIT classes for example. You are really working on technique. I love the refinement and precision aspect of it.
Is it different from pilates?
Yes, some of philosophies of barre and pilates are the same. But you may perform different exercises between the two. Lots of standing work in barre, however, you may perform a short segment of pilates exercises on the mat as a cool down or warm up during your barre class. Pilates is usually broken up into two groups - pilates performed on machines (reformer, cadillac, etc), and pilates matwork. Pilates matwork and barre matwork, will most likely resemble each other almost identically i.e. glute bridges, abwork, arm pulses, etc. If I had to make a general statement about the differences, I would say that barre incorporates lots of standing work, and pilates (mat), less so.
As featured in
About the Author
Movement Artist and Educator
Certified Comprehensive Pilates Instructor
NASM-CPT, CES, PES, USAW-1
Founder Strength and Grace Movement