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Is Pure Barre an Effective Full Body Workout?


If you’ve never taken a barre class before, you may be wondering if it’s an effective full body workout. Many people assume (incorrectly!) that Pure Barre is a dance class, or a workout meant only for ballerinas. But ask anyone leaving the studio after class - it is a total body workout! Although every Pure Barre class is different, each time you enter the studio you can count on one thing: a whole body sweat session! The Pure Barre technique is specifically designed so you work every major muscle group in one class. 

What is Barre?

Pure Barre is a fitness concept based on dance, Pilates, yoga and low-impact rehabilitation exercises. Although it draws inspiration from dance & ballet, make no mistake that Barre is a strenuous low-impact workout meant to target your entire body! Most barre classes focus on engaging your core and performing small isometric movements using your bodyweight or light hand weights. Classes are cued to curated, uptempo playlists so you can smash out a workout and have some fun while doing it!


Each Pure Barre Classic class takes you through a series of low-impact, high-intensity exercises targeting your arms, thighs, core and seat (that’s Pure Barre lingo for glutes). Although you work out the same muscles in every class, it never feels like the same workout! Pure Barre teachers are continually compiling fresh choreography set to different playlists, so you never experience the same class twice. Incorporating diverse movements into your workout is key to creating a well-rounded, full body workout routine. This variety of movement also increases your fitness level by working your muscles in different ways.

What Muscles Are Used During Barre Class?

The Pure Barre technique is designed to target every major muscle group: chest, back, arms/shoulders, legs/glutes and core. Every class starts with a warm-up and ends with a cool down to complement all your hard work in between. Your goal in each class is to work each muscle group to the point of fatigue - that’s when you start to feel the shake! 

Many people who try barre for the first time are surprised when their muscles start shaking in class, especially during thigh work. Don’t worry, this is a good thing! It means your muscles are reaching a point of fatigue. To get scientific, muscle fatigue is the point at which force and/or power of the muscle is reduced. When this happens, the different groups of cells that control movement in your muscles contract at different speeds, causing a “shaking” effect. In simple terms: when your muscles are tired, they lose power and start to shake! 

Every Pure Barre class is structured so that each muscle group is worked to this point of fatigue.  “The muscles in each group are fatigued via small targeted movements, high numbers of repetitions, and light weight or resistance,” according to Katelyn Digorgio, Pure Barre VP of Training & Technique. We want every muscle you work in class to start shaking! After the shake, you are guided through a stretch while your muscles are warm and malleable. This helps to lengthen the muscle, increase your flexibility & prevent injury. Every time you come to a Pure Barre class, you are getting a total body workout that fits perfectly into a well-rounded fitness routine!

What is the Best Full Body Workout Routine?

Researchers and medical doctors have worked with the federal government over the past three decades to figure out the amount of physical activity most people need in order to realize the many health-related benefits that come with an active lifestyle.

The current recommendation is that adults should engage in 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity physical activity. Additionally, adults should perform full body muscle strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups 2 or more days each week. A typical Pure Barre class lasts 50 minutes or less, so incorporating it into your routine is a convenient way to help fulfill these guidelines. 

The American College of Sport Medicine (ACSM) breaks it down further with additional recommendations for flexibility and functional fitness training. To create a well-rounded fitness routine, ACSM recommends adults include both types of training 2-3 times per week. Pure Barre classes always incorporate strengthening, stretching and balance exercises, making it one of the most effective full body workouts. 

Try Pure Barre for Free!

Interested in seeing how Pure Barre can strengthen and tone your entire body? Click to find a studio near you and book a free intro class! Our Foundations class is a smaller group class just for barre beginners. You’ll get to tour the studio, talk to your teacher about your fitness goals and learn all the movements used in class.



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