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What is a barre workout?

October 5, 2021 tiffaniewoods

What is a barre workout?

October 5, 2021 Tiffanie Woods
Athletes exercising with ball using gym barre

Been thinking about getting into barre workouts but not sure where to start? Great news: We’re here to give you the details on what you should know before attending your first class.

Have you been to a class but didn’t love it? That’s okay. Sometimes it can take attending the right class to make you feel comfortable enough to go back. Starting a new fitness regimen can be intimidating, especially one you’re not very familiar with.

One of the reasons it can be intimidating starting a new workout class like barre is not knowing where to start. Barre has been around for a while, but when you type “barre” into Google, you’ll see a lot of different definitions of what the classes entail. Sometimes too much information is just as bad as too little information, especially for something that pulls from several elements in each class. Having to discern for yourself without any expert input can be overwhelming for anyone.

We spoke with Megan Calvert of Barre(tend) to answer all your barre newbie questions to get you into and through your first or next barre class.

What is barre?

“Barre is a series of small movements, sometimes using bodyweight or just 2-3 pound weights. It is inspired by elements of ballet, yoga and Pilates.”

Even though barre encapsulates these different practices,  you don’t necessarily need experience in any of them, especially ballet, Calvert says. Think of the different pieces as complements to the workout, not prerequisites.

What’s interesting about barre is that it’s similar to many of your favorite bodyweight exercise classes where a workout can exercise your whole body or target specific areas. . At Barre(tend), you can take leg, arm, and full-body classes.

What should you expect when attending a barre class?

“We always start with a warm-up, move into different exercises for the glutes and legs, then arms, and lastly take it down to the mat for abs and planks. We also include a stretch at the end of class,” Calvert says.

Although this is specific to Barre(tend), most barre classes follow a similar routine. If you’re not getting adequate warm-up and cool-down time,  make sure to do your own stretches either before attending class or when you get home. It’s easy to get discouraged by the soreness that can come from classes like barre and focus on specific muscle groups, including many that we don’t use on a daily basis. But adequate stretching after class and even using a foam roller at home can be helpful to reduce soreness.

An upside to attending a barre class is there aren’t differentiations between beginners and advanced classes. Think of it as your own personal class and make the movements work for you.

Still unsure? Calvert is here to put your mind at ease. “All moves offer modifications and you can really make a barre workout work best for your body. I always tell everyone ‘it doesn’t matter what your neighbor (neighbor at the barre) is doing, do what’s best for you!”

Feeling ready to take on barre? Here are some final thoughts and advice from Calvert that might help encourage you to take the plunge and sign-up for your first class.

“I always say give it a try but make sure you try more than one class. I remember it took me at least five barre classes to really understand what those slow, controlled movements were all about,” she says. “I was always used to lifting heavier weights and more of a boot camp-style class.  I was really nervous and intimidated walking into my first barre class too.  But once I relaxed and appreciated the low-impact amazing workout I fell in love.”

Tiffanie Woods

Tiffanie Woods is a writer and social media strategist. When she’s not curating the perfect playlist, she can be found talking about her affinity for skincare and hanging with her tabby cat Poppy. Connect with Tiffanie on Twitter @tiffromthe6 and read more of her work at

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