Group of Women Doing a Barre class, leaning against the barre in a squat position

Barre is the low-impact workout that targets every muscle in your body

Barre fitness is a ballet inspired workout that challenges your muscles, reduces fat and improves posture.

Set in a dance-studio with mirrors and a barre pole – classes are comprised of high repetition exercises, balances and poses that test your balance and flexibility while building muscle definition.

What makes it different from other workouts is that it is low-impact, meaning it’s kind on the joints and accessible for people of any age, or if you’re recovering from injury or pregnancy.

We asked Niki Rein, the founder of Barrecore, what makes this workout so special and why it can be so effective.

‘Barre is far from a trend, it’s a longevity plan and it is here to stay,’ Niki tells

‘The workout is something you can do throughout your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond. Through doing barre workouts, you will continue to see change in your body, because with barre, there is always somewhere to go.’

Lower portion of women doing a barre class in a group, holding on to the bar in a squat position

‘You’ll be nailing planks and bicycle crunches in no time, seeing definition and increased strength super quickly too’ (Picture: Getty)

Niki first came across barre when she was living in the US. She couldn’t understand why it wasn’t available in the UK.

‘There is a barre studio on every street out in NYC now but in the UK we are still playing catch up,’ she explains.

‘We launched Barrecore in 2011 and now have 13 studios in London and Manchester. Our vision is to make Barrecore available to every neighbourhood.’

What is barre good for?

‘Barre changes your body by reducing body fat, increasing muscle definition and importantly, through improving your overall posture,’ says Niki.

‘We do this through exercises that push you to maximize efficiency through deep muscle burn to the point of shaking. We call this “shake” the sweet spot which creates incredible results.

‘Most importantly, Barrecore is a low-impact, high repetition workout which means it’s ideal whether you are pre- or postnatal, recovering from an injury or getting into fitness for the first time.’

What are the benefits of Barre?

‘Barrecore is an isometric exercise which works to target every major muscle group with a focus on the joint stabilising and postural muscles.

‘In the 2006 Journal for Applied Research, a study proved that doing isometric exercise for six minutes would be the equivalent muscle work of 30-35 minutes of gym work on commercial weight-lifting equipment.

‘The general benefits are: improved strength, posture, balance, proprioception, as well as, an improved body composition.

‘The high-repetition movements that cause this muscle burnout create a hormone reaction that has you melting fat for up to three days post-class.

‘Each of our workouts are choreographed to focus on thighs, seat and upper body strength, but the core burn is like nothing else.

‘The focused movements and reps work muscles to exhaustion and you’ll be nailing planks and bicycle crunches in no time, seeing definition and increased strength super quickly too.

‘You don’t need to start as an expert, however, as classes are meticulously tailored to suit every fitness level and the one-to-one attention is almost unprecedented as far as group fitness goes.’

Women in a dance studio doing a plie holding onto a barre

‘A barre habit will see you burning fat, powering up muscles and improving your posture’ (Picture: Getty)

Who can try barre?

‘Anyone can try Barrecore, even those who have chronic or recent injuries such as back or knee pain. It’s also great for pre- and postnatal or anyone brand new to fitness to the fitness bunnies.

‘A barre habit will see you burning fat, powering up muscles and improving your posture (the core work works wonders there) but you don’t need to be super fit or coordinated to start with.

‘While it’s a high intensity workout, the low-impact nature of the classes means that it places minimal stress on joints, and it could even help you to iron out niggles and recover from injury.

‘Our regular barre-goers report improvements with back issues and resolution of RSI, and the fact that the injury risk is low to begin with means that you’re far more likely to be able to keep your barre workouts consistent, meaning that you see the results you want even faster, whether that’s weight loss, muscle strengthening or simply a clearer head.

‘Those who suffer from chronic knee and back pain tend to find relief from the stabilisation and core strengthening exercises after just a few weeks of regular barre classes.

‘Instructors will give modifications to ensure positions and range of movement are safe for injuries. Also, clients who suffer from minor scoliosis notice a considerable improvement with their levels of pain, posture, and energy levels.’

What are the myths about barre?

It’s more than just prancing.

Many people assume that barre is essentially a ballet class without the frills, lifts or end of term exams – but that’s not true at all.

Sure, we’ve got a ballet barre to work with and the likes of deep pliés are included to get thighs burning, but the unique method incorporates fat-torching interval training with functional stretches to increase flexibility, and despite the low-impact nature of the workout, it’s tough.

A lot of people also think that doing Barrecore requires dance training and is only open to those who are very flexible, it’s not true – we welcome everybody, and everyone walks away feeling challenged and uplifted – no legwarmers or leotards required.

Group of Women Doing a Barre class, leaning against the barre in a squat position

What do you actually do in a barre class?

Classes range from 45 minutes to one hour and will start with a warm-up followed by full-body barre and floor work incorporating various props and weights, and ends with stretches and a final relaxation.

Instructors recommend that you wear fitted clothing –  your fave leggings and a vest will be fine. You should avoid leggings with unnecessary zips (these can prove uncomfortable during floor work).

Also you don’t need trainers – which is great news if you have to lug your kit too and from the office. You can do it barefoot, or find special, grippy socks.

A low impact sports bra should give you enough support for the classes – but don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security. You will be sweating by the end.

‘The Barrecore Method is graceful but still powerful,’ says Niki.

‘Because it’s a low-impact but high-intensity exercise, it integrates the fat-burning format of interval training to exhaust each major muscle group which in turn helps to lengthen muscles.

‘For this reason, it’s an incredibly effective workout for safely reshaping the entire body, creating the highly coveted ‘barre physique’.”

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