What is Barre Method

by Heidi on June 8, 2013

Hey Friends, it’s time for another Ask Heidi! Earlier this week, a friend of mine asked what barre method was and if it would be beneficial, so I thought I’d share some info on my new favorite workout type.

Hey, How are barre classes? Are they as hard as everyone says? I have bad knees and I was told it would help strengthen them, but I’m worried they’ll be too hard.

I LOVE barre classes. I’ve started taking them at Evolutions Annapolis and I adore them. They are difficult, but as with any type of exercise, there are modifications for beginners. Basically, barre combines cardio work with isometric exercises to tone and strengthen all the muscle groups in your body. The great thing about barre, is that the moves themselves are not difficult (the only exercise I’ve had to modify are pushups/plank work – my core has been destroyed from pregnancy & my cesarean) and are meant for all abilities – the difficult part is the shaking muscles because you’re actually working them!

Bar Method it self is based on the Lotte Berk Method, Lotte Berk was a dancer in the 30′s who escaped Nazi Germany and fled to London. After Lotte suffered a back injury she got the “idea of combining her ballet bar routines with her rehabilitative therapy to form an exercise system.” The Lotte Berk Method moved to the States starting in Southern Connecticut and Manhattan and later moving to the west coast. After Burr Leonard and her sister brought it to the States, it was observed that some of their clients’ “knees, backs and shoulders were not responding well to the exercises and sought the help of a physical therapist.” Under the guidance of the PT, the exercises were reworke so they would target muscles without impacting joints.(source)

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Since Bar Method was formed and the Lotte Berk method folded, other studios were created that are Lotte Berk inspired including Core Fusion, Physique 57, Pure Barre, Fluidity, Dailey Method, BarrePhysique, Barre3, Karve, PopPhysique, Go Figure, Body Fit, The Debbie Frank Studio, and Bodd.

Why I love Barre classes…

I love getting an intense workout that leaves my muscles shaking without a huge amount of sweat. I love the discovery of muscles I didn’t realize I had (probably because they haven’t been worked), I love that it’s all strength with a touch of cardio so I’m toning and strengthening without, in the words of the Husband, just “picking things up and putting things down” as he so delightfully describes traditional weight training.

I’ve been doing it 1-2x per week for the past three weeks or so and have already felt an improvement not only when in class, but also in yoga, and in my running.

Where can I try out Barre classes?

Annapolis/Baltimore/DC area has the following studios that offer Barre style classes:

Evolutions Annapolis Annapolis
Barre Baltimore
Pop Physique Baltimore
Biker Barre DC
Bar Method DC/Bethesda
Pure Barre  DC
Inline Baltimore
Barre3 DC

Here’s great information from DC Fit Crasher with great reviews of DC/VA Studios.  Be sure to check out your local gym – many gyms are offering them under alternative names (see, Evolutions).


Have you tried out any sort of Barre classes? What did you think? If you’re the DC/MD area do you have a favorite studio?


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  • Pingback: Fitmama Reviews: Pure Barre Annapolis | Life in Pink

  • Jill

    When I lived in Baltimore I would try to make it to Inline Fitness as many times per week as I could for their Barre classes. I’ve been with every instructor they have and I love them all! They all have slightly different styles but for anyone near Baltimore looking for a Barre class you can’t go wrong with Inline! Additionally, they have better prices for drop in classes and packages than anyone else I’ve found. Now that I’m in Annapolis I wish I could find Barre classes for around the same price but they all seem to be at least twice as expensive. I’ve tried Pure Barre in other places but the girls at Inline will ALWAYS be my favorites!

    • legallyheidi

      o.O that’s awesome! Yeah, the barre classes here at PB and Evolutions are frightfully expensive for a fitness class. I think premiere fitness also has them as well as the Y in Arnold – not sure what the cost is though :)

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