The following post was written by Jessica Smith, who blogs at Jessica Smith TV and is part of POPSUGAR Select Fitness. Be sure to follow her YouTube channel, JessicaSmithTV, for tons of great workouts and fitness tips!
If you've been wanting to get in on the barre craze but don't live near a studio or need to save some cash, we've got good news for you -- there's no need to take a live class in person to get a great barre workout! We asked some of the country's top barre instructors to share with us their best tips on maximizing your barre workouts at home.
#1: Focus on Form
Since there is no instructor there to correct you at home, you'll need to keep a close watch on your form during your workout. "It's important to watch your alignment, so if possible, try to use a mirror as a guide to make sure your posture is correct," suggests Laurie Alfano, Director of Education for Xtend Barre. Don't have a mirror handy? Pay extra attention to your alignment during the workout, and when in doubt, skip moves that feel uncomfortable, recommends Tracey Mallett, a certified instructor and creator of "The Booty Barre" program.
#2: Ditch Distractions
Working out at home can be a challenge with distractions like kids, ringing phones, doorbells and dryers all poised to interrupt your work at the barre, but it's not impossible! Treat your workout time the same as you would if you'd left the house to go to a studio for a session. "Silence your phone, close the door and ignore the buzzer on your dryer -- make the time commitment for your workout," Alfano says.
#3: Turn Up the Volume
Since you'll be sweating solo, you may need an extra dose of motivation and energy in your home workout space. Alfano recommends turning up the volume on your workout (on your TV, computer, etc.) to make it feel like you have the energy of the studio with you. And, don't just rely on the visual demonstrations. Get into the flow of the workout and listen for the cues, she says.
#4: Use a Proper Barre
While you probably don't have a barre available at home (and if you do, we're jealous!), you can easily find a good substitute with a sturdy chair or countertop, so long as it's the right height. Studio barres are typically between 36-37 inches high, Mallett says. Taking the time before your first workout to locate a chair or countertop that is within this height range is important because a "barre" that is too high could put you at risk for shoulder injuries, she explains.
#5: Follow the Right Leader
Find an expert instructor to train with, even if it's just via a DVD or streaming video. "So often people just don't get barre because they're not doing it right, so choose someone who knows the exercises inside and out and knows what mistakes people can make," suggests Suzanne Bowen, star of the "Barre Amped" DVD series. "This instructor can not only show you onscreen but can also verbally cue you to help you have successful results," she notes.
#6: Go For Quality Over Quantity
Though barre workouts can be heavy on the rep count, it's still important to listen to your body during the workout and take breaks when needed to maintain proper form and alignment with the exercises. "Success with barre technique is very dependent on alignment and precision," explains Jennifer Galardi, a dance instructor and star of the "Dance Off the Inches: Cardio Hip Hop Party" DVD. "If you begin to tire and lose good form and posture, take five. Re-adjust your position and then go back into the exercise," recommends Galardi.
#7: Dress as You Wish
One of the best benefits of a home barre workout may just be the fact that you don't even have to change out of your pajamas if you don't want to! "You can wear just about anything as long as it allows you to move," says Sadie Lincoln, star of the "Element: Barre Conditioning" DVD. Save more money by skipping coordinated workout gear and go barefoot, she says. If you feel your feet need a little extra on a bare floor, Lincoln suggests investing in a wrap-style shoe like the NIKE Studio Wrap or a pair of barre grippy socks.