You don’t need to be a dancer to benefit from hitting the barre. In fact, the beauty of barre is that it’s an effective way to strengthen and tone, no matter your fitness level. And who doesn’t want to get longer and leaner with a few pliés and pulses?
Led by Becca Pace, a certified personal trainer and bodyART instructor, Barre Harmony makes it incredibly easy (and affordable!) to reap the benefits of barre right at home. “What differentiates Barre Harmony from other barre programs is there are a lot of areas for growth, whether you’re a fitness newbie or more advanced,” Pace says. “We’ll teach you how to move in smart new ways, and work smaller muscle groups that you didn’t know you have.”
Working out smarter, not harder — and seeing results, too? Here are a few more reasons to get behind the barre.
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Barre Harmony: Your Total-Body Barre Workout
You don’t need much to get the most out of your at-home barre workout. In fact, you can start pulsing away with just a chair, a yoga mat and a pair of two- or three-pound weights. Barre Harmony’s six-week program is comprised of eight different workouts — 15-30 minutes each — that incorporate the basic principles of barre with dance, yoga and Pilates influences. You’ll also use light weights to perform low-impact isometric movements and balance exercises. By slowing things down (and lightening things up), you’ll be able to hone in on weak areas of your body, and target hard-to-reach muscles, like your obliques, outer hips and inner thighs.
“Barre is a great way to strengthen your core, hips and back muscles, which you sometimes forget. If you work out in a perfect posture, as we call it in barre, you balance out the forward motion that you get in running and biking,” Pace explains.
Barre Harmony will help you develop better body awareness, contract and release muscles you don’t normally engage and increase your flexibility. You’ll also learn how to use your breath when you’re feeling fatigued, Pace says.
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Unlike other barre instructors, Pace doesn’t insist on fighting through the burn. Take breaks as needed — what matters more to her is form. “Listen to your body, take things slow and start small until the position feels comfortable. Less is more,” Pace stresses.
Ready to step up to the barre? Here’s what you can expect over the next six weeks.
Phase 1: Barre Basics
For the first three weeks, you’ll become familiar with basic barre movements, including first and second positions, the tuck, plié and relevé. New to these dancer terms? Don’t sweat it. There’s a five-minute tutorial that intros the different positions. The first workout is also a beginner-friendly full-body tone (using a chair in place of a barre) to help you develop a strong base. “These exercises specifically target the inner thighs and hips,” Pace says. You’ll repeat the movements and add onto them to help ingrain them into your muscle memory. Pace also recommends working out in front of a mirror to help keep your form in check.
Next up, you’ve got a lower-body pulse workout (think squat combinations, curtsy lunges, donkey kicks and clam hip openers). “During this workout, you’ll also get introduced to what we call ‘attitude’ in the program, which is a classic ballerina pose where you bring your upper body forward on the barre and stand on one foot with the other one lifted behind you,” Pace says.
Dancer’s cardio burn is next on the list, where you elevate your heart rate with a combination of mat work and standing moves. “The high reps and continuous flow will get your heart rate up,” Pace says. The last workout of this first three-week phase is all about the core burn. Think: tightening and toning your abs, while improving your posture.
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Phase 2: Turn Up the Burn
You’ve mastered the barre basics. Now get ready to turn up the intensity. During the three weeks of this final leg, you’ll do a second round of the full-body tone, lower-body pulse and dancer’s cardio, but this time you’ll use weights. The heavier demand on your muscles will not only boost strength and coordination — you’ll up your calorie-burning potential as well. Heck, you might even start moving (and feeling!) like a dancer at this point.
And of course, no series is complete without an emphasis on arms and abs. In this last, and arguably most challenging workout in the program, “You’re going to see reverse crunches and other influences from Pilates and yoga,” Pace says. Translation: You’ll use everything in your toolbox to work every angle of your core.
The workouts are completely customizable, too. Make ‘em easier by ditching your free weights, or amp them up with a heavier set. And you can always go back and do the beginner workouts if you need a refresher. Your own personal barre studio, along with Pace’s words of encouragement, will always be there for you.
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“Barre is a smart way to have a more balanced exercise routine,” Pace says. “Your body will feel stronger, not just on the mat but for everything else that you do.” Pace says.
Step up to the barre! Sign up now to experience the Daily Burn Barre Harmony program, free for 30 days.
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