Is Barre Class Hard?

Is Barre Class Hard?

Over the last decade, barre workouts have exploded in popularity, creating a wave of boutique studios and classes, and funny T-shirts with slogans and inside jokes like “resting barre face,” and “embrace the shake.”

With so many people now on the barre bandwagon, that means it’s easy to find barre options, but the real question remains: Is barre hard? That is, is it actually a good workout?

“Absolutely,” says Andrea Rogers, founder of the Xtend Barre program. “Barre is a challenging workout that doesn’t get easier. But you get stronger.”

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Why Barre Is Tough

Because barre is a low-impact workout, it might look easy. Until you try it. Then you’ll laugh at yourself for ever thinking such a thought!

Even seasoned triathletes or people who work out most days of the week can come into a barre class and be surprised, Rogers says, because it’s a unique workout that challenges muscles in new ways.

For example, Xtend Barre is designed with a foundation of dance and Pilates in mind, but it also incorporates some fat-burning cardio movements that will challenge your endurance.

In barre, you’ll also perform “isometric” movements, contracting a muscle and holding it for a short period of time (it will feel long, don’t you worry about that). In so doing, you’ll increase your muscle’s “time under tension,” which will boost your calorie burn and help you build more strength and lean muscle. Even though Xtend Barre is just 30 minutes (and the express versions are even shorter), all of that work will make you feel every minute of it.

Rogers also designs some Xtend Barre workouts to focus on specific muscle groups, so you can choose classes and that build strength and definition in areas like your shoulders and arms, core, or lower body.

 

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Who Should Do Barre?

is barre hard - xtend barre class

Because barre is a challenging workout, is it only for super fit people or dancers? Not at all. In fact, Rogers says Xtend Barre members range from early 20s to mid 70s, and they have a wide range of athletic experience.

The moves in Xtend Barre can also be modified to suit your fitness and ability level, allowing you can work within what Rogers calls your “challenge zone.” That’s where you feel like you’re making a difference in your body, but doing so safely. You can crank up the intensity to where you need it to be.

In short, the workouts are accessible, so anyone can do them pretty much anytime and anywhere.

 

How Barre Changes You

is barre hard - xtend barre class

All that challenge comes with reward. With consistent workouts and focused movement, you can see transformative results, Rogers says. Many people discover they achieve a lean, graceful physique with more strength and flexibility. (There’s a reason why “barre butt” has become a thing!)

Many Xtend Barre enthusiasts see other benefits as well, such as improved focus and concentration, better mind-body connection, and even better posture thanks to improved mobility and total body strength and stability.

The more you start to see these kind of aesthetic and functional changes, the more you’ll “embrace the shake” and get that resting barre face, too.

“You’ll get stronger if you stick with it,” says Rogers. “Anything that’s easy is not going to change your body.”

Elizabeth Millard

About

Elizabeth Millard has written for Men's Health, SELF, Prevention, Runner's World, and several other health and wellness publications. Based in Northern Minnesota (yes, it's just as cold as you've heard), she's also a rock climber, obstacle course enthusiast, and registered yoga teacher. Follow her on Twitter.

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