The number one question I always get as a barre instructor is: Is Barre a Cardio Workout? The short answer is, it depends. The long answer is that it depends on the type of barre.
Barre can definitely be an amazing cardio workout.In fact, for me, it is one of my go-to cardios.But, not all barre classes are created equal.
Some barre classes might start off with some mild knee lifting or something to warm the body and then focus on toning and small muscle movements for the remainder of the class.There is absolutely nothing wrong with this and it is a great workout.However, it is unlikely to give you much of a cardio benefit.
In Balance Barre classes, the signature barre workout of Brittany Bendall Fitness, I focus on cardio… a lot! I want my participants to walk out of class not only shaking from the great muscle toning but also feel like they got a great, sweaty workout and burned a few calories.
Every class starts with a low-impact cardio warm-up where getting the muscles warm and increasing the heart rate are the main focus. Think of moves like plies, lunges, knee lifts and more to help elevate the heart rate. We do this for about 10 minutes to really maximize the cardio benefit. Starting out the class this way will also keep your heart rate elevated for the remainder of class, which will help you burn more calories even if you aren’t focused on cardio.
We then move on to upper body with light weights. While the focus in this section is upper body, it is also important to add compound movements to help keep the heart pumping, incorporate lower body toning and improve coordination.
At the Barre, we dig deep and focus on small muscle movements to really target the legs and glutes. We also incorporate cardio portions where we use larger ranges of motion still focused on leg and glute work to help bring the heart rate back up and continue to burn calories.
At the mat, we work at a quick pace without sacrificing form or substance to help keep burning calories and keep the blood pumping. Digging deep here and looking inwards to your personal limits will help keep you invigorated and therefore keep the heart pumping.
The nice thing about Balance Barre classes is that there are always plenty of options and modifications. If you are looking to add more cardio, consider grabbing light 1 lb weights during the warm up to slightly increase the resistance and help elevate the heart rate. You can also focus on making your movements a big range of motion and pushing yourself to your edge or your point of control to really challenge yourself and keep the heart rate elevated.
If you already do a lot of cardio and want to really hone in more on toning, you can always make your range of motion a little smaller, avoid options that increase your heart rate like raising your arms or going deeper with the legs.It is also perfectly acceptable to take breaks!
The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate activities or 75 minutes of vigorous activities a week for optimal cardiovascular health. If you incorporate a Balance Barre class into your workout schedule 2-3 times per week, you will be able to meet these guidelines no problem!
Want a preview of some Balance Barre cardio? Check out these videos or subscribe for full-length videos to get all your cardio in for the week!
If you are looking for more cardio or more intense cardio, consider checking out HIIT the Barre. In this signature class, high intensity interval moves are combined with barre toning. This is a high cardio workout that combines plyometric jumping moves with barre.It is as much cardio as any other HIIT class or a spin class. Check out a preview of HIIT the Barre.
So, let’s cardio!!
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