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The “barre boom” as we know it first took off in the early 2010s and had everyone from your sister-in-law to your best friend’s mom arabesque-ing like there was no tomorrow. But what exactly is barre, anyway? And why are people so crazy about it?

What Is a Barre Workout?

Barre is a “high energy, low impact workout founded in the principles of dance and Pilates,” Andrea Rogers, founder of Xtend Barre tells us. The professional dancer founded her brand back in 2009; well before barre studios started popping up on every small town street corner and strip mall. “Barre is not only the best way to strengthen, lengthen and tone, but in Xtend Barre an emphasis is placed on cardio transitions to amp up the results of traditional barre moves.”

Barre workouts are specifically designed to target every major muscle group, including your upper body, lower body and core. You won’t need much to participate, just a mat and a barre or something similar to hold on to, like a chair or counter. During a barre workout, you can expect to fire up muscles you never knew existed. You’ll be pushed past your limit, then told to hold that pose for eight more counts, but through the shaking and sweating you’ll see real results and leave each class feeling a little stronger and standing a little taller.

What Are the Benefits of a Barre Workout?

The moves in barre typically focus on high repetition and low weight (or no weight) to help lengthen and tone your whole body. “Xtend Barre places an emphasis on form-focused movements that will challenge you both physically and mentally,” Rogers explains. “Physically you will feel an increase in flexibility, posture and strength.” Mentally you’ll improve your balance, stamina and coordination by bringing awareness to how your body and mind move through each move.

A 15-Step Barre Workout You Can Do At Home

Rogers broke out her barre to show us a few beginner moves you can easily do at home. Just grab a chair (or Rogers’s own trés chic ALR Barre, featured below) and let’s get started.

RELATED: 20 Arm Workouts for Women, From Tricep Dips to Preacher Curls

barre workout at home Parallel Plies
Andrea Rogers/Sofia Kraushaar

1. Parallel Pliés

Works your quads and calves.

Step 1: Begin in a standing position with one arm resting on a barre or chair at your side, other arm resting on your hip. Bring both feet together with your toes facing forward until your ankles touch. Bend your knees then lift both heels up off the ground.

Step 2: Balancing here, begin to lower and lift into a pulse, pushing through the balls of your feet and squeezing your legs together to fire up your quads. The movement should be small, only about one inch up and down with your body moving in a straight line. Flow through 16 counts.

barre workout at home Parallel Toe Taps
Andrea Rogers/Sofia Kraushaar

2. Parallel Toe Taps

Works your calves, quads and glutes.

Step 1: Begin in a standing position with one arm resting on a barre or chair at your side, the other arm resting on your hip. Bring both feet together with your toes facing forward until your ankles touch. Bend your knees then lift both heels up off the ground.

Step 2: Holding this squatted position, strike your right foot out and back, pointing your toe to maximize your power and extension. Flow through 16 counts, switch sides and repeat.

barre workout at home second position plies w alternating heel lifts
Andrea Rogers/Sofia Kraushaar

3. Second Position Pliés with Alternating Heel Lifts

Works your quads, calves and glutes.

Step 1: Begin in a standing position with one arm resting on a barre or chair at your side. Bring your free arm and feet out wide to second position and plié down until your thighs are parallel to the ground.

Step 2: Maintaining this position, begin to pulse up and down. Lift your outside heel for 4 counts then lower and lift your opposite heel for 4 counts. Repeat for a total of 16 counts.

barre workout at home Second Position Plie to Passe1
Andrea Rogers/Sofia Kraushaar

4. Second Position Plié to Passé

Works your quads, glutes and inner thighs.

Step 1: Begin in a standing position with one arm resting on a barre or chair at your side. Bring your free arm and feet out wide to second position and plié down until your thighs are parallel to the ground.

Step 2: Press through your feet to return to a standing position. Simultaneously, perform a passé drawing your outside leg in and up with your toe pointed until it lightly touches your knee. Return to the second position plié and flow through 16 counts. Switch sides and repeat.

barre workout at home first Position Plies on Releve
Andrea Rogers/Sofia Kraushaar

5. First Position Pliés on Relevé

Works your quads and calves.

Step 1: Begin in a standing position with one arm resting on a barre or chair at your side, other arm out in first position. Bring your feet to first position with your heels touching and your toes pointed out. Lift both heels up to relevé then bend both legs into a plié.

Step 2: Balancing in this position, press through the balls of your feet to straighten then bend again. Flow through 16 counts then hold a plié and pulse up an inch and down an inch for another 16 counts.

barre workout at home first Position Releve
Andrea Rogers/Sofia Kraushaar

6. First Position Relevés

Works your calves, quads and glutes.

Step 1: Begin in a standing position with one arm resting on a barre or chair at your side, the other out in first position. Bring your feet to first position with your heels touching and your toes pointed out.

Step 2: From here, lift both heels up to relevé while swinging your extended arm up overhead to fifth position. Lower back down and repeat, flowing through 16 counts.

barre workout at home Battement Kicks
Andrea Rogers/Sofia Kraushaar

7. Battement Kicks

Works your core, hamstrings and inner thighs.

Step 1: Begin in a standing position with your body slightly angled away from the barre or chair. Rest one arm on the barre and the other overhead in fifth position. Bring your feet to first position with your heels touching and your toes pointed out.

Step 2: Brush the floor to lift your right leg up off the ground as high as you can comfortably go. With control, lower your leg back down, alternating between fifth position (heel to toe) and first position (heels together, toes apart). That slight cross of the legs will help fire up your inner thighs. Flow through 16 counts, switch sides and repeat.

barre workout at home Hamstring Press Back
Andrea Rogers/Sofia Kraushaar

8. Hamstring Press Back

Works your hamstrings and glutes.

Step 1: Begin in a standing position with your torso facing the barre or chair with both hands resting for balance. With your feet parallel to each other, bend your legs slightly into a plié and lift your right foot up off the ground.

Step 2: Curl your foot up and in towards the back of your thigh to fire up your hamstring. From here, use your glutes to lift and lower the floating leg, so that the knees come together then separate as your lift. Flow through 16 counts, switch sides and repeat.

barre workout at home Side Seat Series
Andrea Rogers/Sofia Kraushaar

9. Side Seat Series

Works your gluteus medius and obliques.

Step 1: Begin in a standing position with one elbow resting on a barre or chair at your side, the other extended high overhead. Bring your feet to first position with your heels touching and your toes pointed out.

Step 2: Extend your right foot out, rotating your hips until they’re stacked on top of each other. Keeping your leg straight, lift it up to the side while drawing your elbow down and in toward your hip. Use your oblique to help lift your leg while keeping your spine long and extended. After 16 counts of full extension, hold the lifted position and pulse it out for 16 more counts.

barre workout at home Parallel Lunge Series
Andrea Rogers/Sofia Kraushaar

10. Parallel Lunge Series

Works your quads, glutes and calves.

Step 1: Begin in a standing position with your torso facing the barre or chair with both hands resting for balance. Step your right foot back into a lunge and plié both legs down, making sure your left front knee is directly above your left ankle.

Step 2: From here, begin to pulse moving up an inch and down an inch without breaking the plié or fully straightening either leg. Flow through 16 counts, then hold the lunge and lift and lower your front heel for another 16 counts. Switch sides and repeat.

barre workout at home Knee to Elbow Cardio
Andrea Rogers/Sofia Kraushaar

11. Knee to Elbow Cardio

Works your entire beautiful body.

Step 1: Begin in a standing position with your torso facing the barre or chair with both hands resting for balance. With a slight bend in your knees, hinge at the hips and extend your right leg out behind you and your right arm up overhead at a diagonal. Your extended arm and leg should make one long line.

Step 2: Balancing on your left leg, draw your right knee up and in as you pull your elbow down to meet your hip. Extend both your arm and leg back out and repeat, flowing through 16 counts on each side.

barre workout at home Knee to Elbow Pulse
Andrea Rogers/Sofia Kraushaar

12. Knee to Elbow Pulse

Works your glutes, hamstrings and upper body.

Step 1: Begin in a standing position with your torso facing the barre or chair with both hands resting for balance. With a slight bend in your knees, hinge at the hips and extend your right leg out behind you and your right arm up overhead at a diagonal. Your extended arm and leg should make one long line.

Step 2: Use your glutes to lift your right leg up off the ground while simultaneously pulsing your right arm back. Make 16 tiny pulses, switch sides and repeat.

barre workout at home Foldover Diagonal Reach
Andrea Rogers/Sofia Kraushaar

13. Fold Over Diagonal Reach

Works your gluteus maximus, core, hamstrings and quads.

Step 1: Begin in a standing position with your torso facing the barre or chair with both elbows resting for balance. With a slight bend in your knees, hinge at the hips and extend your right leg out behind you, using your glutes to lift it up off the ground.

Step 2: Keeping your right leg lifted the whole time, lower it down across the body to the outside of your left foot. Tap the floor and lift it back up, slicing diagonally across your midline to return to the starting position. Keep your hips and shoulders square to the ground as you lower and lift for 16 counts. Switch sides and repeat.

barre workout at home Figure Four Stretch
Andrea Rogers/Sofia Kraushaar

COOL DOWN

14. Figure Four Stretch

Stretches your glutes and hips.

Step 1: Begin in a standing position with your torso facing the barre or chair with both elbows resting for balance. With a slight bend in your knees, hinge at the hips and cross your right ankle over your left thigh. With the foot flexed, deepen the stretch in your glutes and hips by bending the standing leg. Hold here for 15 – 30 seconds, switch sides and repeat.

barre workout at home Ballet Barre Stretch
Andrea Rogers/Sofia Kraushaar

15. Ballet Barre Stretch

Stretches your calves, hamstrings and side body.

Step 1: Begin in a standing position with your torso facing the barre or chair with one arm resting for balance. With your feet in first position, place one ankle on the barre. Keeping your hips and shoulders square to the extended leg, hinge forward as far as is comfortable, bringing your nose to your knee and hand toward your toes to stretch out the hamstring. Hold here for 15 – 30 seconds, switch sides and repeat.

RELATED: 12 Low-Impact Exercises You Can Do at Home (Because Our Knees Need a Break)

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