I wasn't a believer in the barre workout until I tried it. I'm in pretty good shape. I walk, I run and I can hold my own when it comes to lifting light weights, but once I hit the barre, I was so challenged by my own body that I kept going back. What is it about tiny isometric movements that have women everywhere running to the nearest barre?

I'm not sure working out is my favorite thing to do. As a busy mom of three, it's rare to get time to yourself and the last thing I want to think about doing is sweating it out. However, I do crave that pre-baby body back and one hour of working out hard is just the trick to keep me going toward that goal. That's how I discovered the barre workout and with one class, I was more than hooked on it.

The Dailey method Barre workout

You know how every few years there's a workout trend that blows up across the country. Yoga, Pilates, Zumba... I tried them all and after a while, I got bored. However the latest fitness craze, the barre workout, not only has me hooked mentally but also physically. It's trendy and it works your body by isolating each tiny muscle in the body. In fact, barre workouts have been known to make the fittest women shake and sweat like they have never worked out before because the various exercises use different muscles than you typically use in yoga, Pilates, running, walking and lifting free weights.

Ellen Eisinberg from Phoenix first happened upon barre classes via a Groupon and two years later is hooked on taking The Dailey Method classes four times a week. She said, "At 53, I have increased my flexibility and my balance. I can touch my toes, which at my age, isn't something everyone can do anymore."

With so many studios and different barre methods out there, how do you know which one is right for you? Here's a look at the most popular studios and their individual methods.

Popular barre methods


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The Dailey Method

Created by Jill Dailey in 2000The Dailey Method was the first barre studio to open on the West Coast and has since extended into 10 states, Canada, Europe and Mexico. The Daily Method is a combination of ballet barre work, core work, yoga and orthopedic exercises that strengthen and stretch all the major muscle groups in the body. Throughout the class, the primary focus is on proper alignment and working the spine in a "neutral" position (opposite of the "tucked" position listed below) for the most health benefits and to avoid injury.


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Pure Barre

Founded in 2001 by Carrie Rezabek Dorr, a dancer and choreographer, the Pure Barre philosophy is to change the shape of your body using small isometric movements set to high-impact music to lift and tone your thighs, seat, abs and arms. Working in a "tucked" position throughout the class (where your tailbone is tucked underneath your hips), the method is extremely fast-paced but refrains from using any bouncing or jumping to protect your knees and back. With locations in 36 states, it is one of the most popular barre studios around.


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Xtend Barre

Dancer Andrea Rogers created the Xtend Barre workout to challenge bodies of any age, gender or fitness background. The method combines dance and Pilates exercises to sculpt the body proportionally and will ultimately strengthen, lengthen and stretch the body. Currently Xtend Barre studios can be found in 26 states and 15 countries around the world. The workout consists of a cardio warm-up, an upper-body segment, lower-body segment and an abdominal segment.


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The Bar Method

With The Bar Method, the principles again remain the same: to create a firm and sculpted body by combining isometrics, dance and physical therapy methods at a high interval pace to shape and elongate your muscles. Founded in 2000 by Burr Leonard and Carl Diehl, the first The Bar Method studio was opened in San Francisco and now they have franchised studios in 18 states and Canada.

The Magic Number

Each of the studios recommends taking a class three days a week to see a significant change in your body to tone muscles, lose weight and increase your overall flexibility. While all the barre methods are similar, the instructors recommend trying all the different studios to get a feel for what you like best and how your body ultimately responds.

I stopped running and devoted my workouts to The Dailey Method and found that it really is all I need to keep my body fit and toned.

Shelie Herman, an owner of the The Dailey Method in Carlsbad, California, agrees that taking barre classes can really change your body for the better. "I was a runner, practiced yoga and Pilates every day but after trying The Dailey Method, there was something different that happened to my body. I stopped running and devoted my workouts to The Dailey Method and found that it really is all I need to keep my body fit and toned."

While everyone is encouraged to go at their own pace during barre classes and the workouts aren't one size fits all, it's definitely worth a try to jump start your workout because you never know, it could be just the thing you've been looking for.

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Photo credit: The Dailey Method

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