So You Want to Start… Taking Barre Classes

Jessica Smith
by Jessica Smith
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So You Want to Start… Taking Barre Classes

Ballet-inspired workouts, also known as barre classes, are very popular right now, and for good reason! Fusing together elements of classical ballet, Pilates, and even yoga, most barre routines are low-impact and help to build balance, increase flexibility, and shape up your entire body. If you’ve been considering a barre workout for yourself, now is the time to do it! Numerous instructors offer classes on DVD, online, and in studios—and with so many options, you have no excuse not to give barre a try.

Here are a few simple tips to help you get the most out of your first barre workout:

1. If you are headed to a class, don’t be shy! Arrive early so you can introduce yourself to the instructor. Let her know it’s your first time, and ask if she has any advice or guidance to make the most out of your first visit. She should be able to offer you some tips for maximizing your very first experience in her specific class or studio.

2. Wear the right attire While you don’t need a specific outfit for class, you definitely want to be comfortable and confident in your clothing! Avoid short or wide leg shorts, as there will be a lot of leg lifting going on. And skip the super baggy, slouchy shirt and pants—they could get in your way and make it hard for your instructor to see your form.

Also, plan to be barefoot for the workout. If you don’t like the idea of ditching your shoes completely, many students find it more comfortable to wear special, grippy socks or wrap-style footwear. (Unless you already have a pair on hand, I recommend trying your first workout before making an investment in new footwear.)

3. Expect to feel the burn (But don’t feel pressured to be a prima ballerina!) Barre workouts can be intense with lots (and lots!) of repetitions, but a great instructor should offer options to help you power through the burn—especially for your first class. Listen for her cues throughout the workout and pay attention to how your body feels.

Shaking or burning muscles are normal, but if you push to the point where you feel as though your limbs may fall off, you could be doing too much too soon—and you might end up never wanting to return. Also, don’t compare yourself to the rest of the class—many of them have been there for years! Simply take the workout at your own pace.

4. Know it’s OK to not “get” every move There may be a few moves or exercises that will be tough to master your first time out. That’s normal! And every one else in that studio has experienced that feeling, too. Don’t let that discourage you. Just do your best, and know that with each workout you’ll learn more about the movements, the right form, and your body.

5. Never stepped foot in a dance studio? You’ll still enjoy a barre workout! While barre workouts are ballet-inspired, the good news is you won’t be learning the choreography to Swan Lake in a barre class! Don’t sweat it if you have “two left feet” or can’t keep up in Zumba. The heavy emphasis on repetition in barre routines makes the classes easy to follow, and they typically don’t require a high-level of advanced coordination—whew!

Get Started Now!

Want to try a barre workout right now? Check out my free, 30-minute “Ballet Body” workout video on YouTube (above!) to get started. If you like this routine, my Barre Fitness DVD has even more fun options for beginner exercisers.

Have you tried a barre class, yet? Share your experiences in the comments below!

About the Author

Jessica Smith
Jessica Smith

As someone who struggled to lose weight for years, Jessica found that the key to her own 40-pound weight loss was making small, healthy lifestyle changes that led to big, lasting results. Now, as a certified wellcoach, fitness instructor and personal trainer, she has spent the last 15 years helping students and clients reach their goals in New York City, Los Angeles and Miami. She now reaches millions online through her YouTube Channel and home exercise DVD series. Please visit to learn more about her fun, results-driven programs for all levels of exercisers.


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