Perk Up Your Barre Workout by Streaming a Class From London, Paris, and NYC

Learn how the ballerina-inspired workout is done in other major cities.

By day 926 of the pandemic, we’re pretty comfortable with at-home barre workouts. We have our makeshift barre, hand weights, and videos of our go-to routines saved on our Bookmarks Bar (and in our memory). The only thing missing is our enthusiasm.

Let’s remember the barre classes of yesteryear. They came with mirror-lined studios, upbeat music, and peppy instructors, all of which boosted our energy so we could perform the zealous routine of plié squats, port de bras, and pelvic thrusts. Without the setting, barre can lose its gloss, and we can lose what was once a super-effective workout. But there’s a way to make at-home barre classes interesting again without having to take a break from the much-loved exercise.

A 2019 study looked at the impact exercise variety has on muscles and motivation and found that although it didn’t have a significant impact on muscle thickness or strength, it had a substantial effect on enhancing motivation. How do you get your motivation back with at-home barre workouts? Test your well-honed skills by trying classes from other major cities with major barre scenes.

Ready to sculpt your bottom like the Brits? Tone your arms like the New Yorkers? Plié like the French? Here are three barre classes to stream now.

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If you’re looking for a free, 45-minute workout, try:

Program: Psycle London

Home City: London, England

Class: Barre 45 with Sinead

Barre was founded in London in the 60s by ballerina Lotte Berk, so we had to include a London-based barre studio in this roundup. Psycle London offers free live barre classes via the company’s Instagram page and has a few pre-recorded options saved under IGTV. Try Barre 45 with Sinead—it’s a 45-minute workout focusing on inner thigh moves (lots of pliés) and mat-focused exercises that target the glutes. (“You are sculpting your own bum!” Sinead exclaims during one particular sequence.) For this workout, you’ll need the usual barre equipment—1- or 2-pound weights, a yoga mat, and a towel. Ready for a more advanced barre class? Try Deep Burn with Beth.

(Related: Here are some of the best streaming workouts for women.)

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If you’re looking for a quick and sweaty class, try:

Program: Xtend Barre

Home City: New York City, New York

Class: XTend Signature Total Body

The first barre studio in New York City opened in 1970 and was said to be a mix of ballet, yoga, and sex. (Did you know barre has a secret sexual history?) Xtend Barre’s Signature Total Body workout is more about high-intensity ballet movements that really make you sweat. Taught by professional dancer and Pilates instructor Andrea Rogers, the 30-minute workout mixes traditional ballet moves, like tendus, with a full-body cardio workout. In the video, Rogers is accompanied by six women, all at varying levels of flexibility, and Rogers corrects their positions so you can double-check your own. The workout can be found on Openfit, a fitness platform with many workouts to choose from—not just from Rogers—for a small monthly fee (under $10 USD). Rogers’ other videos include 15-30 minute upper body, lower body, and core workouts.

(Related: Want to work on your flexibility? Here are ballet-inspired stretches to do every day.)

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If you’re looking for a live one-hour class over Zoom, try:

Program: Barreshape

Home City: Paris, France

Class: Virtual Barre

Ballet has a strong French history, dating all the way back to the 16th century, so we were curious to see how the French approach barre. Barreshape offers live virtual classes on Zoom, filmed in the studio. You have the option to turn on your camera during the workout, which may help you push yourself harder. Despite the French’s reputation for tardiness (mais, oui!), the class starts promptly at 6:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. EST, whichever you choose. For this one-hour workout, you’ll need an elastic band and a rubber ball (a pillow can work, too) along with light hand-weights and a mat. The routine focuses heavily on arms and inner thighs, and you’ll be sure to exhaust the muscles in those areas. Of course, the cues are in French, but by watching the instructor in the video, the moves are easy for non-French speakers to understand.

Now that you know some of the best online barre workouts, learn the benefits of a ballet-inspired workout.