Examples of Barre Workouts

people participating in a barre class

With barre workouts, you are using some fundamentals of ballet. You are also helping to strengthen and condition your body. Here are some classic moves often done during a barre class, whether you do it at home or in a studio.

Hip Extension

This standing barre movement works on your lower body muscle groups, primarily the thighs, hips, and buttocks. It is a simple extension workout where you stand with your thighs and knees touching as close as possible. You place a small exercise ball behind one of your knees and pull up that leg by lifting the heel toward your buttocks. Do this for 10-15 reps, then move the ball and switch to the other side.

Relevé Plié

For the relevé plié move, you will work on your abdominals, abs, and thighs. It teaches you first position, which in ballet is when your heels are together, and your toes are turned out. You start with your legs straight and put your hands on your ballet barre or a chair back. Tighten your abs and lift your feet until you are resting on the balls of the feet. A plié is done when you bend down until your knees reach just over your toes, then release. Repeat 15-20 times.


This is a barre version of a traditional arabesque position. For this exercise, you will start standing in first position, as mentioned earlier. Then put your right hand on the barre or furniture you are using. Bring your left leg back and point your foot to create an arabesque movement. Raise your left arm to shoulder height with your palm facing down. Lift your left leg in the air, keeping your leg straight. This is all one rep and can be done up to 20 times, then alternate feet and do it again on the opposite side for 20 reps.

As you have noticed, you learn some traditional ballet techniques and positions. These are some of the more simple movements you will learn during your barre classes. The moves focus on strengthening your body. Some workouts also involve hand weights to work your arms, shoulders, and upper body muscle groups. While these movements are all done while standing, many barre workouts also do floor work, similar to some traditional yoga and Pilates movements.