What Your Barre Teacher Wishes You Knew

There’s no doubt that taking barre is effective for building strength, lengthening and toning your body through low-impact exercise. But, going to your first barre class can be intimidating: what if you can’t pulse and hold the position? What if you don’t have the proper form? Or the right gear? (What are barre socks!?)


And while everyone – and everybody – is welcome in a barre class, one of the keys to making the workout effective is making sure you understand and practice the technique. Like with any exercise, the more you try it, the better you’ll get. You might even find a favorite instructor who helps you get the most out of your experience in the studio. If you’ve ever wondered what those talented and motivating instructors are thinking, you’re in luck – we talked to them!

Here’s what they confessed:

We continually correct your form because we want you to be safe.

When it comes to ensuring your barre technique is correct, there are certain non-negotiables for teachers. Aligned hips, a straight spine -the list goes on. But there are a few little tidbits that aren’t as obvious that trained instructors know and will help you adjust your movement, that’s why we always come around and adjust you.

We aren’t judging you because you can’t keep up with other students who can hold the position longer or pulse higher. We just want to make sure you get the most out of your barre exercises and continuously improve. We also want to make sure that what you’re doing is comfortable (or at least as comfortable as it can get in barre!) for your exercise level. We never want you to injure yourself!

We worry when you overdo movements.

If you’re a cardio or bootcamp bunnie, it might be natural to go as hard as possible, all the time. That usually means doing more, and doing it higher, faster and bigger. However, in barre class, the logic is completely different. It’s actually more important to go slowly and control each movement for smaller, slower repetitions. When we seeing you go all out within the first five minutes, we worry about you burning out. If you let us slow you down, we promise you’ll make it to the end of class feeling (and noticing) the benefits of a true barre workout.

We want you to do the level that is right for your body.

Even if your best friend is begging you to go to an intermediate class with you, if you’ve never taken barre, you really shouldn’t. There is so much to learn about the workout itself, and without the basic fundamentals, you won’t master the art of the practice.  

If you’re taking the advanced option when your body’s not quite up for it, your technique will be completely compromised, and you won’t get any of the benefits of the exercise. What’s worse, you may actually injure yourself and be turned away from the ballet barre before you fall in love with it.

It’s so much more important to stay within what feels right for your body and keep the integrity of your form. Remember to acknowledge that your limits may look different from day to day – that’s perfectly normal.

We want you to stay for the whole class.

You may think it’s optional relaxation time, but savasana is actually a critical part of some barre classes and the necessary finale for a class. If you are going to give 45 minutes or one hour of your time to yourself, allow it to be just that. Leave your phone on silent and commit to dedicating time to yourself.

We get excited when we see your progress.  

When it’s really starting to burn and you really, truly think you can’t handle it any longer – and you keep it up – you might want to jump up in the middle of class and celebrate. Guess what? We want to, too! As teachers, it’s so inspiring and motivating when we see our students improve. We want you to meet your fitness goals and help you build your confidence, too.

Emma Seibold is a certified yoga teacher, STOTT Pilates certified instructor and holistic health and wellness coach. Seeing a phenomenal change in the tone and shape of her muscles, she created Barre Body to share the technique with others looking for a strong, flowing, fun and highly-effective workout. Barre Body now has eight studios across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.