You might think barre exercises are something only ballerinas do; however, it would appear that they may also be a good way to lose weight. But how does it work? How can barre workouts help to shed excess fat and keep the pounds at bay?
In this article, we shall answer the question: ‘is barre good for losing weight?’ as well as explore the type of barre workouts you can do at home.
What is barre class?
Before you panic, barre classes don’t involve countless hours of doing plies or pirouettes.
Instead, these exercises consist of a mixture of Pilates, ballet, and yoga which aim to break down muscle and build up strength, helping to stimulate your metabolism and increase calorie burn.
One thing you need to remember about barre classes is that their purpose isn’t to help you lose weight. Instead, their mission is to work your muscles to the point of fatigue, before rebuilding them again.
As a result, you’ll burn more carbs and benefit from an increased breakdown of fat stores, as your body tries to create extra energy for this muscle creation.
At the same time, you’ll witness reduced waistlines; a small amount of weight loss, and the appearance of toned abs and glutes as you’ll expend more calories than you consume.
Things to remember:
- Barre workouts are low impact and combine the movement of ballet with strengthening and stretching techniques from Pilates and yoga.
- They typically last 45 minutes.
- Barres are used in class as a prop to help you balance so you can focus on performing isometric strength exercises.
- They are whole-body workouts aimed at energizing your body.
- Each class is designed to strengthen your core; tone and elongate your muscles and work on your build alignment.
- There are different types of barre workouts including cardio barre (barre exercises paired with cardio); HIIT barre (cardio barre but more intense), and yoga barre.
Typical barre exercises
If you’re questioning ‘what kind of workout is barre’, then the easiest way to surmise it is as a challenging workout that focuses on exercising your lower body.
By combining elements of classical barre ballet with Pilates and leg exercises, you can enjoy a low impact workout that will tone your glutes, hamstrings, and calves, leaving you leaner and stronger.
Now, if you’re a newbie we recommend doing barre workouts with a trained professional, to begin with, as the only way you can experience barre weight loss is to switch up your routine every day.
Do the same workout day in, day out, and eventually, its effects will diminish.
However, take the time to learn multiple moves (by attending a series of classes) and you can ensure that you’ve got a variety of exercises to test out at home.
Let’s list a few exercise examples that you might get during a barre class.
- Isometric strength exercises
For these, you will have to keep your body still, while contracting small and specific sets of muscles in your body. These movements should be small and controlled to maximize your burn.
- Thigh exercises like the Vertical V
A classic barre exercise. For this one, you have the barre on one side and start by keeping your heels together and your toes about 2-3 inches apart.
Lift your heels slightly off the floor, then bend deeply with your knees almost down till your bum hits the floor. Then slowly go back up, keeping your heels lifted at all times.
- Arm exercises, like arm circles
This exercise is quite self-explanatory. Stand upright with your feet apart, about hip-
width. Keep your back straight and stretch your arms out.
Now circle your arms forward for about 15 times. Repeat while doing it the other way
round. It sounds easy, but you’ll feel the burn.
- Bum exercises like the straight leg pretzel
For this one, hold the barre on one side and step away from it a bit keeping your toes
Pointed to where your hand is on the barre.
Now slightly bend the leg closest to the barre while slowly lifting the other leg straight
out away from you. Now bend that knee bringing it towards the bar while still hovering in
the air, then send it back out again.
Repeat this several times, then turn around and do it for the other side as well.
- Abs exercises like the straight leg incline
This one doesn’t use a bar, but it’s a classic during a barre workout.
Sit down on the floor with your legs straight outstretched in front of you and your hands placed in a prayer position.
Now keep your back straight, and slowly go back down a little. Don’t bend your back! You will feel this one straight away in your abs.
Note: you shouldn’t rely on barre workouts at home alone to lose weight, as on their own they won’t boost your metabolic rate. Instead, specialists recommend combining it with strength training and high-intensity workouts e.g. weight lifting, cycling, running, swimming, etc.
Benefits of barre workouts
Although barre exercises won’t trigger massive amounts of weight loss, they CAN help to loosen your jeans; decrease the circumference of your thighs; lift your butt; improve your posture and alignment, AND increase your leg and abdominal strength – in a matter of weeks (4 to be precise).
Improves strength/builds muscle
Opt for a cardio-based barre routine and it can help you to build muscle and become stronger. This is due to it working your muscles until they become fatigued i.e. with high rep sets and stretching.
As your muscles tear and repair themselves, this causes them to not only grow bigger and stronger but need more energy.
Note: the bigger your muscles, the more energy your body will use daily.
Thanks to the amount of Pilates involved in barre exercises, you will learn to use your core to help stabilize portions of your body. In doing so, you’ll notice improvements in your stretching capabilities and posture, as well as an increase in flexibility and balance.
Stimulates weight loss
Pairing barre with 30 minutes of cardio can give you the intensity you need to get your heart pumping; your body sweating and the calories burning, as you’ll be pushing your body to the limit.
This in turn will trigger an ‘afterburn’ effect where you use up additional calories – all of which can lead to weight loss.
Improve your posture
A big focus of barre exercises is strengthening the muscles in your chest and shoulders. Not only will this stop you from slouching; it will also help to elongate your body and improve your posture.
Strengthen your glutes
Barre workouts may place a lot of focus on your chest and shoulders; however, they will also tone up your lower half leading to tightened buns/glutes. Also, these exercises will help to stabilize your pelvis which can alleviate pressure off your back, hips, and knees.
Toned abs/stomach muscles
Balance is at the core of barre and will naturally put your abdominals to work as they try to correctly align your body. Long term, barre workouts will tone your stomach and give you abs of steel.
Yoga is the third and most forgotten part of barre exercise, yet it is vital as yoga is renowned for being able to reduce stress and bring greater peace of mind.
With this workout you’ll experience the mental challenge of barre combined with the meditating qualities of yoga; both of which will help you to become calm and lifted.
Barre weight loss benefits – Will you lose weight with barre classes?
It is important to remember that no workout alone can help you to lose weight. Barre workouts at home – like all exercises – need to be combined with a healthy diet and other forms of exercise to maximize your weight loss.
Yes, barre can help you to manage your weight by working your muscles and increasing your calorie burn; however, this added muscle mass will minimize your losses.
This is because muscle weighs more than fat, so while your body will become leaner and more toned, you won’t necessarily lose huge quantities of weight.
But, this doesn’t mean you should exclude it from your weight loss endeavors entirely. After all, within 2 months you will see:
- Boosts in your metabolic rate – every time you do barre, your metabolism will remain bolstered the rest of the day.
- Increased energy expenditure – more muscle means you’ll need more energy. This will lead to an increase in calorie burn as your body works to maintain and build muscle.
- Toned legs, abs, and glute – you might not lose lbs upon lbs; however, you’ll become noticeably trimmer and will see a drop in clothing sizes as you become more toned.
- Low impact – this exercise is perfect for anyone just starting as it will gradually build up your stamina while helping to strengthen all of your muscles. With time you will find it easier to ramp up your exercise and achieve greater results. At the same time, you’re less likely to suffer from injury enabling you to lose weight safely.
So if barre good for losing weight? Yes and no.
On the one hand, it will stimulate weight loss as your muscles grow and you become stronger. However, the amount of weight you lose will be minimal as muscle weighs more than fat.
For that reason, we recommend pairing barre exercises with cardio and strength training and following a calorie-controlled healthier diet. In turn, you can opt to add a proven fat burner such as PhenQ into the mix. With its support, you will see greater long term fat loss as it helps to curb your appetite and support your metabolism.
For more information on PhenQ and its ability to encourage natural weight loss check out the PhenQ homepage.