What Exactly Is Barre, Anyway?

I workout for this person

What is barre? You’ve probably heard about barre and seen plenty photos on Instagram of rows of girls in front of a ballet barre on their highest tippy-toes, with the hashtag #barresohard. Maybe you even have a friend who religiously attends barre class and swears that it’s the most intense workout she’s ever tried and keeps trying to get you to come to class with her.

Or maybe you’ve never even heard of a barre workout…

Either way, I’m going to go through the nuts and bolts with you today. In this blog post, I will:

  1. Give a general definition of “barre class”
  2. Explain what happens in a class at The Barre Code (this is the studio that I’ve been attending for over a year, so it’s where most of experience lies; I’ve also tried most of the other barre studios in Austin, so I know this applies to most places, too!
  3. Clarify why it’s such a good workout
  4. Answer a couple FAQs y’all have sent me
  5. Give you an discount offer to try it, if you’re interested! 


Barre class is a ballet-inspired workout, but don’t worry if you’re not a dancer…you definitely won’t be doing any pirouettes! Although barre class has increasingly popular lately, it has actually been around since 1959 when a German ballet dancer used her ballet barre training, combined with rehabilitate exercises, to help her body recover from a back injury.

Class generally takes place in a studio with mirrors and ballet barres around the edges. This strength-training class is a series of isometric movements (which means you body stays mostly still while you contract certain muscle groups) and small range-of-movement. You’ll likely hear your instructor say “down an inch, up an inch” about a kazillion times during class. The result is a low-impact workout that targets deep muscle groups for fast, visible results.


  • A 5-minute warm up. This is to get your muscles warm in order to avoid injury. Barre is such a safe workout. Because there’s a nice warm up and the workout movements are tiny, there’s a much lower risk of injury compared to traditional strength-training classes.
  • Four 10-minute sessions targeting core, arms, thighs, and seat. The order changes with each class, and the moves are always a bit different, but the instructor is clearly explaining everything each step of the way. You target one tiny section of the body for 10 minutes without a break, so your muscles really shake and burn and feel it the next day!
  • A 5-minute mindful, deep stretch. The stretch at the end isn’t just for your body (although your muscles will thank you for it!); you’re also hitting “refresh” on your mind during this time with a moment of gratitude and meditation. It’s a wonderful way to start the day!


    There are a couple reasons:

  1. The one-inch movements are the key. Teeny-tiny contractions mean that your muscles get a little “mini recovery” during each rep; you’ll be able to hold the contraction for a lot longer!
  2. That shake is a sign that it’s working… If you’ve taken a barre class and experience your legs trying to jack hammer through the ground, you know what I mean! Shaking muscles mean that they’re reaching the point of fatigue, and they’ll have to rebuild themselves, and you’ll see a visible difference!
  3. You fully fatigue one body part at a time. Barre babes experience such quick results because you work each muscle group to exhaustion before moving on to the next. However, you’ll be asked to keep the entire body engaged during every session, so nothing ever gets a complete break.
  4. Barre is a mindful workoutEvery move has a purpose at The Barre Code. The instructors are trained to help you know how to not just physically conquer the workout, but mentally engage in order to make your body stronger. I’ve been blown away by how much mentally tougher I’ve become during a workout in the past year from these classes.


Do I need a dance background? Absolutely not. The moves are simple and repetitive, and the majority of the girls at The Barre Code don’t have a dance background. It’s a studio full of strong women who want to feel good and be surrounded by a community of uplifting accountability partners.

Will I be super sore afterward? Honestly, after my very first class I was sore for 4 days, haha! It’s amazing to me that a 50-minute class can be that powerful! The good news is that the soreness is directly related to the results you’ll feel.

How soon until I see results? I always have say this first: you will feel results immediately. You’ll feel energized, strong, and uplifted. I seriously felt like I could take on the world right after my first Barre Code class! As far as visibly seeing physical results, I noticed changes in my arms after about 5 days of daily workouts. It’s a pretty fast way to get in shape!

What do I need for class? Leggings and a shirt (think “yoga clothes”) and a pair of sticky socks. They sell those at the studio. If you don’t want to invest in a pair until you make sure you love the class, you can wear regular socks for the first class. It’s a little more difficult without the sticky grips on the bottom, but class is still manageable.


Ready to try some classes at The Barre Code? The best way to fully experience it is to attend regular classes for two weeks in a row. You’ll get over the initial learning hurdle, and you’ll start to feel (and see) results during this time.

Use the code SOMUCHBARRE for 50% off your first two weeks of unlimited classes. That means it’s $40 instead of $80, or just $4/class if you go 5X/week! CRAZY STUPID GOOD DEAL. 

Email me with any other questions! kelsey@somuchlife.com

**photos by Chris Lammert 

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2 years ago

[…] if you’re new to barre or don’t even know what it is, click here to read “What Exactly Is Barre, […]

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