Barre classes and at-home barre workouts have a number of benefits. Not only can barre help strengthen and lengthen your muscles, including hard-to-reach, smaller muscle groups, but practicing it consistently can also pay off in other areas, from helping you become a better runner to improving your sex life.
But if you don't have time during the week to get in both barre and cardio, what's your best move? Do you focus on toning in exchange for burning fewer calories, or stick to your usual cardio workouts? It turns out that you don't have to choose. Barre can pull double-duty for conditioning and cardio, explained Jake DuPree, a Los Angeles-based barre trainer whose workouts are featured in the POPSUGAR Fitness 4-Week Full-Body Fusion program, available on Glow by POPSUGAR. Here's how to get the most out of your barre workout, whether you're a beginner or have been flexing that muscle for some time.
How Can I Burn More Calories in a Barre Class?
Like cardio, speed is the name of the game if you want to boost the burn during a barre workout. "Add jumps or speed up a lot of the sequences you do in class to really get your heart rate up and pumping," Jake told POPSUGAR. "Make sure to keep moving and keep your pace up throughout the entire class." This means when you're holding a move or in a sequence, you should try not to come out of it early. "Push through the entire time without stopping or giving up on a move before the trainer tells you to for a burn you'll really feel," he said.
Form aside, get your heart rate up during a barre workout by adding in some high-intensity interval training (HIIT). For example, you might try jump squats or other cardio exercises like burpees. "Believe it or not, there are such things as ballet burpees," Jake said. Not only will this increase how many calories you'll burn in any given class, but it will also help you torch fat, without sacrificing strength training. "HIIT-style workouts are some of the most effective when it comes to burning fat and strengthening the body, and barre workouts are all about elongating the body and making it as lean as possible," Jake said. "Put the two together, and it is pure magic!" Look for a bootcamp-style barre class that incorporates moves like this throughout the class or do it on your own at home.
How Many Calories Will I Burn in a Barre Class?
While it depends on the type of class and the style of the instructor, Jake explained that, when you incorporate HIIT-inspired exercises and work to hold your poses and form, there's the potential to burn anywhere from 400 to 500 calories on average per class. Plus, by doing barre classes consistently, you'll increase your fitness potential overall, helping you burn more calories in the long run. "Barre classes improve your balance and core," Jake said. "That comes in handy for cardio workouts because you know what muscles to engage to support yourself during a specific workout. It can also help prevent injuries because the smaller muscle groups really help support your joints."