There are now 700 corporate-owned barre studios nationwide, according to Well + Good, and that number is only growing. There's Pure Barre, Flybarre, Barre3, The Dailey Method, Physique57... the list goes on. The workouts are ballet-inspired, and the small movements involved are known for creating long, lean muscles.
“Barre classes, in general, effectively shape the body in an exciting group format set to music -- that’s a recipe for success,” Sadie Lincoln, founder of Barre3, told Well + Good.
Though popular, it can be intimidating to walk into a class when you're not sure what to expect. So we chatted with the folks over at Physique57 and worked with instructor Katie Mitchell to give you a few moves to try before your first class -- or for a little home workout. And if you don't happen to have a barre at home (and come on, who does?!), grab a chair and move along.
1. Curl With Shoulder Shimmy
2. Pull your navel in and move your shoulders forward and back, alternating sides until you're “shimmying”.
3. As you shimmy, reach through your hands one at a time to lengthen your arms.
2. Standing Scissor
2. Step away from the chair so that your torso lengthens on an incline, keep your right foot directly below your hips and soften your knee.
3. Raise your left leg up to hip level and straighten it directly out to your side so that your body forms a T shape.
4. Point your toes and make sure your inner thigh is facing the floor.
5. Extend your left arm straight up toward the ceiling, and keeping your toes pointed, bring the leg forward in front of your chest, keeping your inner thigh facing the floor. As you bring the leg forward, slide your left arm down to hip level.
6. The arm stays straight throughout the movement. As you bring the leg back to the starting position, your arm goes back up as well.
3. Tricep And Side-To-Side Hip Dips
2. Place your hands five to six inches behind you with your fingertips facing forward.
3. Bring your heels together and knees apart, lift your hips off the floor and shift your body weight from side to side while simultaneously bending your elbows.
4. Curl With Can-Can Kicks
2. Bring your hands to your outer thighs and hold on gently, rolling your torso down until your shoulder blades hover just off the cushion. If you want, you can place a ball in between your thighs.
3. Extend your right leg straight while simultaneously curling your rib cage up a few inches toward the center. Reach your arms toward your toes.
4. Now roll back down a few inches as you bend the right leg, and then curl back up again as you extend the left leg. Remember not to roll down too far. Your shoulder blades should remain above your cushion the entire time.
5. Pretzel With Knee And Foot Taps
2. Bring the left leg behind you, and bend your knee at a 90-degree angle as well.
3. Turning your chest slightly left, lean forward and place your forearm beside your right knee.
4. Draw your navel in toward your spine and lift your left leg up off the floor. Point the toes of your left foot and keep them higher than your knee.
5. Keeping your left leg suspended in the air, rotate your left knee to tap the floor, then rotate your left foot to tap the floor.
6. Thigh Dancing With Hip Shake
2. Lift your seat a few inches off your heels, keeping your torso upright with your hands on your hips.
3. Keeping your seat off your heels, shake your hips first right, then left.
4. This is a small controlled movement rather than a loose shake -- you want your oblique to lift your hips up towards your shoulders.
7. Small V With Tuck
2. Make a small V with your feet by bringing your heels together. Your big toes should be 2-3 inches apart.
3. Keeping your heels together, hover them a couple inches off the floor. Make sure your spine is straight and press all ten toes evenly into the floor.
4. Bend your knees and lower your body until you feel your thigh muscles engage, about 5–6 inches down.
5. Keeping your upper body straight, roll your hips forward and then release them back. Hip tucks are small, controlled movements: Your legs remain steady, your heels are off the floor and your knees are bent.
And if you have time, don't forget to throw yourself a little dance party at the end.