Whether you’re a ballet dancer looking for a way to do something a little different in addition to ballet class, or a workout enthusiast looking to change things up, ballet barre workouts might be just for you.

Below you’ll find all the information you need on ballet barre workouts, including a free home ballet barre workout that you can do anytime, anywhere.


What is a Ballet Barre Workout?


A ballet barre workout is a combination of pilates, dance, yoga, and functional muscle training. Whether you’re a trained dancer or have never danced a minute in your life, ballet barre workouts are for people of all skill levels.

Ballet or dance as a workout is nothing new. Ballet barre workouts became popular after the release of the movie Black Swan in 2009.

Barre workouts can be found at most gyms these days, or even some ballet schools have specific barre workout classes for trained ballerinas and just workout enthusiasts.

What should I know About Ballet Barre Workouts


If you’re doing a ballet barre workout for the first time, then don’t worry. Ballet style workouts and exercises can be challenging for newbies because they rely on several muscle groups that you may not be used to training or even using. But doing ballet type workouts can have enormous benefits for your core strength and physique.

Here are some general tips for starting ballet barre workouts and exercises:

1. Focus on making small improvements. You will not perform every movement or motion perfectly the first time around. Keep practicing and focus on getting the technique right. As you get better and better, you’ll notice yourself becoming more toned and stronger.

2. Practice your tuck. The tuck is one of the crucial elements in ballet exercises. It’s a pelvic tilt where you shift your pelvis forward and pull your contract your ab muscles. This is one of the fundamentals of barre workouts!

3. Stretch and warm up. Warming up is essential to performing barre exercises without injuring yourself. You’ll be required to engage in exercises that revolve around ballet movements, which for most people requires stretching and straightening your limbs. Trying to do moves that need this level of flexibility without warming up is begging for a pulled or strained muscle.

4. Stay under control. Fast jerky movements are also a recipe for injury. Focus on controlling every movement as much as possible. Oh and don’t be afraid of the shaking that comes with trying to control your body. What to wear to a ballet barre workout class

We recommend wearing workout leggings or yoga pants with a tight fitting top. Loose clothing tends to become an annoyance as you perform the movements, and also affects your ability to see your technique in the mirror.

And trust me. You’ll want to be able to see your technique as that is how you improve.


Example Ballet Barre Exercises You Can Do Anywhere


Maybe you’re getting ready for your first class and would like to know what you’re getting yourself into, or perhaps you just got done and are looking for some extra credit.

Regardless, we have you covered. Here is a sample workout with some common exercises that you can expect to do in your barre workout class.


The Knee Bend


The knee bend is a ballet barre exercise that is easy to do but is highly effective. It also helps with posture and balance.

  • Start by placing your palms lightly on a chair, or barre, with your feet parallel and hip-distance apart.
  • Slowly bend into a small lunge, and hold it for 5 seconds.
  • Afterwards, rise up and keep your hips square and level. Your knee should be over your ankle the entire time.
  • Repeat this exercises 12-15 times on each leg.


High Fifth


High fifth is an exercise in barre workouts that target your glutes and core.

  • Start by placing your legs apart, in a wide plie, while facing the barre with your hands placed on the barre lightly.
  • Make sure your toes are turned outwards, and make sure your knees do not bend over your toes.
  • Straighten your legs and rise all the way up to your toes. This is called the demi-pointe position. Hold in this position for 5 seconds, and then return into a deep plie.
  • Repeat this barre exercise for 12-15 reps


Rond De Jambe


A rond de jambe is a simple exercise and part of a regular ballet class. This is a highly effective ballet exercise to work the glutes and inner thighs. You might be noticing a trend with ballet exercises focusing on sculpting those butt muscles.

  • Start by placing your heels together with your toes turned out as close to 90 degrees as you can get. Make sure to keep both your knees slightly bent.
  • Next, you’ll lift one foot off of the ground and place it around 15 cm in from of you while maintaining a pointed foot.
  • Move your leg slowly from the front of your body to the back in a circular motion. Keep your foot level the entire time without wavering from high to low.
  • Now, reverse and bring your back foot to the front in the same way as before. Make sure to focus on the movement of your leg, and not your standing foot or knee.
  • Do 15 reps for each leg.


Plie Bend and Stretch


The plie bend and stretch is a barre exercise that focused on the inner and outer thigh muscles.

  • Start by taking a large step away from the barre. Then, place your hands lightly on the barre, or chair.
  • Next, begin to bend at your knees and move downwards, holding the motion for 5 seconds. It helps to imagine yourself as if you’re sliding down a wall.
  • After you’ve counted to 5, rise back up to plie and elevate onto demi-pointe. Again, hold for 5 seconds before coming down to flat-footed plie.
  • Repeat this exercise 12-15 times

Curtsy Lunge Pulse

When you’re in a curtsy lunge, make sure to keep your weight evenly distributed. Keep your hips aimed forward and wrap your inner thighs toward one another.

  • Start by standing behind a chair with your feet hip-width apart, and hands lightly resting on top of the chair.
  • Step your left foot behind you to your right side and lower your body into a demi-plié or half squat.
  • Lift your arms up overhead in third position and pulse your legs for 10-15 reps before switching sides.

Reverse Lunge to Passé Combo

This lunge combo is more of an intermediate move and will work your hip mobility and balance. Note: When going into passé, firmly press on your front foot to push off the ball of the back foot and bring your toes to the inner knee of the front leg.

  • Begin with your feet in first position (heels together and toes turned outwards 45 degrees) while standing parallel to a chair on your right side.
  • Step backwards with your left foot, sinking into a reverse lunge. Then, bring your foot back into first position.
  • With your left foot pointed, tap it to your left side and then come up to relevé on both feet.
  • Then, lift your left knee bent out to the side, and with your left toes pointed, touch your right knee in a passé position.
  • Do 10-15 reps before switching sides.

Rainbow

This barre exercise is mainly for your thighs, but you’ll get a burn in your obliques as well. While doing this exercises try to keep your hips from lifting or dipping, but keep them pointed down.

  • Get in a tabletop position with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
  • Bring your right leg out to the side with your knee straight.
  • Keeping your hips square and your abs tight, sweep your right leg up and over to the left side, so you create a rainbow with your leg.
  • Finish the movement by bringing your right leg back to the starting position.
  • This is one rep. Do 10-15 reps and then switch sides.

Examples of Ballet Barre Workouts

We know you might want a better idea of what to expect, or maybe a barre workout you can do at home. We’ve compiled a list of barre workout videos that you can practice and use at home.

Final thoughts: Ballet barre workouts


Ballet barre workout classes are a great way to build core strength and sculpt your legs. Have you had the chance to try a barre class? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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