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What is Floor Barre and Why We Love It

We love our Floor Barre class at Shine! Even though floor barre, sometimes simply called “barre,” is growing in popularity, many people have no idea what it is. The name is confusing—does it involve a barre? Is the barre on the floor? Is it ballet? We’re here to answer your questions, with pictures!

Standing leg lifts with a weight

The name “barre” (pronounced like “bar”) comes from the portion of a ballet class completed at a barre for balance. It is typically used at the beginning of the class to warm up muscles and hone technique, without the annoying distraction of trying not to fall on your face dancing ballet. Floor barre is a variation where the barre exercises are completed lying flat on the floor, further reducing the need to remember to balance.

Today, the popular style of barre popping up at gyms across the country, including Shine, has morphed a lot from its ballet origins, leaving little of its dancer roots. What remains is a low impact, high intensity workout that tones muscles using body weight or low weight exercises with high repetitions, focusing on the muscles dancers would use. Think lots of core and booty exercises, to get you ready for those relevés and pliés, whether you end up using those muscles on the dance floor or not. Even though we use low weights throughout the class, we focus on working to exhaustion. The whole class is set to music, with each set of two exercises repeated with no breaks, till the end of a song, longer than a typical set of 10 to 12 repetitions at the gym. That way, we can get strong without the risk associated with high impact exercises like weight lifting.

Single leg lifts on yoga mat
These kicks work not just our abs, but quads and inner thighs as well. Imagine that the Spice Girls are playing during this exercise because that’s what happened.

Curious how that would look? We took a few pics from Codi’s floor barre class to give you a sneak peek!

The first portion of the class is all about legs and glutes. Moves like hip bridges and kicks force you to not only engage your lower body muscles, but to also stabilize your core, sneaking in some ab work and helping with balance and control.

The middle of the class is all about abs, where we always mix things up so it never gets boring, and your muscles always get a good challenge. We finish with arms and upper body, usually incorporating free weights, which you can adjust in size to get the perfect workout for toned arms and strong shoulders.

plank hold
To make plank holds a little more challenging, Codi gives us the option of adding one-arm shoulder taps.

Varied exercises and adjustable levels of difficulty make floor barre a great workout that will get you sweating every time. Come check out our floor barre class and see what all the hype is about! You can see the latest schedule and sign up here.

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