Beginner's Guide To Barre At Home
Training at home can be a convenient option if you are balancing the demands of a busy lifestyle, or don’t want to go to the gym.
Barre is low-impact training that blends elements of ballet with Pilates, which you can do in the comfort of your own home, using minimal equipment. It can be done in small spaces, and it is a style of exercise that is suitable for beginners — if you continue to practise barre, over time your strength, technique and confidence will increase.
You don’t need to be a dancer to get started — if you’re new to barre, here’s what you need to know to work out at home.
What do I need to start barre at home?
You don’t need a lot of space to get started with at-home barre workouts, as you will move around on a mat. If you don’t have a mat, you can do a barre workout without one.
Barre classes will often require the use of:
- A barre or chair
- Dumbbells or hand weights
- Resistance band
Some of barre’s exercises come from ballet warm-up moves and require the use of a barre for balance, but a chair is a great substitute if you’re doing at-home workouts.
You should choose dumbbells or hand weights that feel comfortable for you to use during the exercises. A 1.5kg (3lb) weight is a good option to start with — if you find you are struggling to perform the exercises with correct form, you should switch to a lower weight. If you don’t have dumbbells or hand weights, you can use safe, heavy household objects, such as water bottles, or simply use your own bodyweight as resistance.
You should choose an area of your home that will be free of distractions, where you can move freely on your fitness mat, and move a chair in and out of your mat space as the workout demands.
What are the benefits of barre?
Barre’s unique style of training, which blends ballet and Pilates, is low-impact and builds strength through high repetition of small movements. There are also exercises that require muscular contraction in one position (such as a plank) — these are known as isometric exercises.
The exercises in barre, which fatigue the muscles, also increase flexibility, coordination, muscular endurance and control.
Because it is a low-impact form of exercise, barre is suitable for all fitness levels and can be an option if you are returning to training after pregnancy (if you have been cleared to exercise by your healthcare professional), after injury, or you are a fitness beginner.
Is barre cardio?
Some barre classes are high-intensity as well as being low impact, which makes them a unique form of cardio, but not all barre classes qualify as cardio.
If the movements in the class are too slow, and your heart rate isn’t elevated enough, your barre session won’t count as a cardio workout.
If you have a fitness tracker that monitors your heart rate, you should be able to gauge which heart rate zone you are in while you’re exercising and whether your barre workout counts as cardio.
- Your heart rate will be at 50-70 percent of your maximum heart rate if your barre class is low-intensity cardio.
- Your heart rate will be at 70-80 percent of your maximum heart rate if your barre class is moderate-intensity cardio.
- Your heart rate will be at 80-90 percent of your maximum heart rate if your barre class is high-intensity cardio.
SWEAT Trainer Britany Williams has created Cardio Barre and Full Body with Cardio classes as part of her Barre with Britany program.
If you are following another SWEAT program, you can also access an on-demand barre class via the “Browse” tab in the SWEAT app — choose Britany as your SWEAT Trainer or scroll down to “Other Programs” and choose “Barre with Britany”.
Britany’s barre classes are a unique form of cardio — one you can do indoors without gym equipment such as a treadmill or exercise bicycle.
Which parts of the body does barre target?
Barre is designed to be a full-body workout that boosts muscular endurance.
Barre with Britany has three classes a week that target your whole body, but each has a different focus:
Full Body with Bridge
Explores traditional barre poses to strengthen your arms and legs before finishing with a bridge sequence on the mat.
Full Body with Plank
Challenge your core and strengthen your legs with this fusion of traditional barre and mat Pilates.
Full Body with Push-Up & Cardio
Alternates between standing positions and mat exercises to work your whole body. This class will challenge you and elevate your heart rate.
The high-intensity movements of Britany’s classes will build strength across your whole body.
Give yourself time to get your technique right
If you’ve never tried barre before, give yourself time to learn about this style of exercise and the proper technique.
Barre with Britany has two Beginner weeks to introduce you to the style of training, the exercises and the correct technique. Training in front of a mirror can also help you to perfect your form.
Because barre uses a lot of repetition of small movements, you will become familiar with the exercises and correct technique as you progress with your training.
Get a motivating playlist and get started
If you’ve never tried barre before, or you’ve previously done it in a gym, it is an effective style of training you can do at home.
All you need to do is set up your workout space, find a motivating workout playlist, and get ready to challenge yourself with barre workouts.
Barre with Britany is available in the SWEAT app now — to access, just make sure you have downloaded the latest version, and you can do your first barre workout today!
* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.