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The History of Barre Fitness - The Rise & Growth of the Trendy Fitness Class

The history of barre fitness is long and storied, with roots tracing back to the early 20th century. Ballet dancers were some of the first to popularise the technique, using it to help improve their strength and flexibility.

Since then, barre fitness has continued to evolve, with new variations and approaches constantly being developed. Today, it is one of the most popular fitness trends, with classes offered at gyms and studios all over the world.

The Early Days of Barre Fitness With Lotte Berk

Barre fitness has its roots in the work of German dancer and choreographer Lotte Berk.

Berk began developing her own fitness method in the 1950s after suffering a back injury. She combined elements of ballet, yoga, and physiotherapy to create a workout that was low-impact but still effective.

Berk eventually opened her own studio in London, where she taught her unique brand of exercise. Her classes quickly gained a following, and she even attracted the attention of celebrities like Jane Fonda and Shirley MacLaine.

The Rise of Barre Fitness in the 1960s

Barre fitness first gained widespread attention in the 1960s, thanks in part to celebrities like Jane Fonda and Shirley MacLaine.

Fonda, in particular, was a big proponent of the technique, and she even wrote a book about it in 1968. In the book, she described how barre fitness could help people tone their bodies without putting too much strain on their joints.

MacLaine was also a fan of barre fitness, and she even opened her own studio in Santa Monica, California.

The Modern Era of Barre Fitness

Barre fitness regained popularity in the early 2000s, thanks in part to the rise of the Pilates craze.

Many people who were interested in Pilates were also interested in barre fitness, and vice versa. As part of the boutique fitness craze which swept the trendy & affluent areas of West London, the style has grown to include more affordable options too.

Barre fitness has continued to grow in popularity in recent years. In 2010, there were only a handful of barre fitness studios in the UK.

Today, there are hundreds of studios across the country, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down.

How Does Barre Fitness Work?

Barre fitness is a type of workout that uses a barre (a horizontal bar often seen in Ballet, a "Barre") as its primary piece of equipment.

The barre is used for balance and support while performing various exercises, such as squats, lunges, and plies.

Barre fitness classes usually last for around 45 minutes to an hour, and they typically involve a warm-up, a main section, and a cool-down.

The main section of the class is typically divided into three parts: upper body, lower body, and core.

During the upper body section, exercises are performed using the barre and hand weights to tone the arms and shoulders.

During the lower body section, exercises are performed using the barre and body weight to tone the legs and butt.

During the core section, exercises are performed using the barre and body weight to tone the abs and back.

Barre fitness classes typically use a lot of isometric exercises, which involve holding your body in a static position while contracting your muscles.

For example, during a squat, you would hold your body in the squat position for a few seconds before returning to the starting position.

Isometric exercises are very effective at toning muscles, and they are also gentle on the joints.


Barre fitness is a relatively new fitness craze that has exploded in popularity in recent years. Barre fitness is a combination of ballet, Pilates, and yoga and can be performed with or without props. Barre fitness is a great workout for people of all ages and fitness levels, and can be done in a group or private setting.

When you’re ready to start your Barre Fitness Classes in East London, Adore Dance is here to welcome you. We offer classes for ballet, contemporary, jazz, tap, and -of course- barre fitness.

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