Barre Workouts: Learn the Benefits and Limitations

By Tara Hackney for Athletico Physical Therapy

barre workout benfits and limitationsBarre workouts have been around for a while. You may be curious; maybe you’ve tried a class; maybe you’re scared to try a class because you aren’t a “ballerina” or, maybe you don’t see the appeal of this workout. Whichever you are, it’s important to learn the concepts of Barre so you know the benefits and limitations of this workout!

Barre workouts combine yoga, Pilates, ballet and strength training.

Benefits of Barre Workouts:

1. The tiny movements can help you get stronger! The tiny movements are called isometric contractions where the muscle tenses without changing length. Isometric exercise is a way to maintain muscle strength. These small movements can help isolate specific muscles. You may also be able to do more repetitions with these smaller movements as you will fatigue in a different way than typical strength training (ex: squats, bicep curls). These exercises are generally low weight, but high repetition to help with endurance. Isometric contractions also help strengthen muscles with a slightly lower risk of injury compared to traditional strength training due to less strain on tendons and ligaments.

2. You can target multiple muscle groups at once! In each move, you can do 2 to 4 movements either holding, pulsing, or stretching. When working all these areas at once you can also raise the heart rate.

3. You can improve the mind body connection! The smaller movements can enhance your level of body awareness that you may not achieve in normal strength workouts. Barre class can help improve muscle activation for frequently underused muscles.

Limitations of Barre Workouts:

1. You may not gain functional strength! Barre classes can lack compound movements like squats or lunges which use multiple muscle groups and joints. These functional exercises help with strength for movements in everyday life such as stair climbing or carrying groceries. Compound movements also help elevate the heart rate. Many classes have begun adding these compound movements to their workouts now.

2. The heart may not be challenged enough! The cardio in a barre class may not be enough for cardiovascular health. There also is a limit in the post-exercise burn with barre class. Other forms of exercise, such as resistance training and high intensity interval training, may be more effective at increasing the calories burned during and after a workout.

3. You may plateau! Your body can get use to barre class. You can tap out on your potential to get stronger. We must always keep challenging our bodies to prevent this plateau.

A Change in Your Workout:
Barre class is fun and interesting for many people. It is also a great way to change up a traditional strength training routine. Barre classes provide a low impact full body workout. Finding a workout routine that appeals to you is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle! Should an injury occur during workout, schedule an appointment at a nearby Athletico location so we can help you heal.

If you suspect an injury from a work out find your closest Athletico for a complimentary injury screen.

Schedule a Complimentary Injury Screen