How to Plan Your Barre Class

Warm Up (5min) 

  • Class should always begin with breath flow series, 3-4 inhales/exhales to prepare the bodybody and set tone for the class. 
  • Every Barre class begins with a warm up which prepares the body for the workout to come, warming up muscle groups that are going to be used throughout the duration of the class. 
  • A good warm-up prepares the mind, energizes and awakens the body, and relieves tension. The warm up  and should never be skipped or rushed.  According to the American Council on Exercise warm up activities should include large muscle movements in order to “gradually increase heart rate, blood pressure, cardiac output, and respiratory ventilation to intermediate levels so that these mechanisms are not suddenly taxed”. 

Upper Body Series- including stretches (10-12min)

  • Target all parts of the upper body. 
  • When designing your lesson plan, be aware of what muscle groups you are working and try aimto incorporate an equal amount of time for each group. For example, you will want to choose a bicep series, a triceps series, and a chest/back series in order to focus on all muscle groups.

Warm Up and Upper Body Series should be completed (15-17 min) 

Barre Series (25min)

  • The Barre Portion of the program makes up the majority of the class. The barre work should have equal time devoted to both the front of the body (thighs) and the back of the body (seat/hamstrings). 
  • The barre section should begin by warming up the thighs with a simple plié series. After the muscles are warmed, move onto more challenging thigh work.  It will be your job to determine the class level and to gauge what series is appropriate at that time.  After the thighs are fatigued, you will want to give a nice thigh stretch before moving onto the back of the legs.
  • After stretching and the providing aclass quick water breakhas hydrated, move onto the seat section. It’s important to do the seatwork after you have completed the thigh work. Many of the seat exercises lengthen the front of the leg, which will help stretch out the tight quadriceps that just worked so hard. The seatwork should consist of 2-4 series, depending on your focus for that day. Concentrate on working the abductors/adductors, the gluteus, as well as the hamstrings. After you have completed your seat focus, stretch the seat/hamstring muscles.
  • The remaining Barre Series of exercises are there for you to play with. The more cardio-geared series can be done before the thigh work, between, or after. The other exercises are intermixable and can be used as desired. They are there to keep things fun and fresh so clients never feel bored or “used to” the class. They should always feel you are doing something new but have a strong comfort level and confidence in the class. You should not introduce more than 3 new exercises per class. Start with a good foundation and then start to mix in new things as the class progresses. As you become more comfortable with the technique, you will be able to easily teach extemporaneously. Again, it is up to you to feel the class out and to determine what direction you want to take your group.

Barre Work should be completed (40-42 min) into the class. This

leaves 15-20 minutes to complete abdominal work, lower body floor work and cool down  

Core Series (10 min)

  • Although the core is in constant “play” throughout, we do the abdominal series of exercises towards the end of class. You may want to start the abdominal work with the C curve hold exercise. This will awaken the abdominals in an intense fashion and will allow even beginners to “feel” their abs during the work. The exercises to follow will be determined by your class level and lesson plan. If you choose to work under the barre for abs, keep the clients under the barre for the duration of the class. Spend less time transitioning and more time exercising. 
  • A strong emphasis of core control (drawing navel to spine and abs up towards ribcage) should be applied to every exercise, especially the core section. If a client is over-arching their lumbar spine and struggling to perform an exercise, modify it immediately by limiting the ROM, bending the knees, supporting the neck, placing a ball behind the lower back or omitting all together. Execution, not repetition is the key!

Core series should be a (full 10 minutes) of exercises 

Leaving you with (3-5 minutes) to complete lower body floor work and cool down 

Lower Body Floor Series (2-5min)

  • After core work, give clients one more boost of energy before cooling them down by choosing a lower body floor series. There is usually only time for one series here. 

Lower body series should be completed (50-52 min) into the class

Leaving 2-5min to complete final stretches and cool down 

Final Stretch/Cool Down (2-5 min)

  • This segment of class is designed to calm both the body and mind from the vigorous work that preceded. Be prepared to stretch the muscles that need the most attention for that day. 

Balance Ending (30secs)

  • Every Barre class ends with the balance ending series. Focus should be on applying all the principals of the class to this final exercise. Mental focus is imperative here, so be sure the class is aware and in-tune with their bodies.  Finish each class strong and calm. 

Stick with this order for all your classes.  Keep the classes fresh, innovative and exciting so your clients will keep coming back. Focus on which muscle groups you are working on for each series. Your goal is to create a class program that is proportional and equal in use to each muscle group.

Technique and Form: Focus on the clients’ form and proper alignment. It doesn’t matter how many repetitions they can perform if they are not working with control and in good form.

Efficiency: Focus on how they are creating the movement. It should come from the contraction of a muscle group, not from momentum. It doesn’t matter how high they can lift their leg if they are “flinging” it up.Flow: Focus on the fluidity of the movements and creating seamless transitions from one series to the next. Each transition should be viewed as an exercise. Make your clients aware of how they are getting up, down, or in and out of exercises. They should have constant body consciousness.