The difference comes down to this: Ballet barres only need to withstand the use of ballet exercises. Barre fitness, on the other hand, is a hybrid discipline. It’s built on a foundation of ballet exercises, but it also involves pilates, yoga, and strength training.
Barre fitness involves a lot of high-rep exercises and weight training, and many classes utilize wrist-weights for added resistance. Being a relatively new workout regime, barre fitness is still slowly changing with practitioners incorporating their own unique twists on the routine. This element of unpredictability contributes to the need for a more durable barre than you’ll use in ballet, which is a much older discipline, utilizing a barre specifically designed for an established set of movements.
Consider, also, the wide variety of body types involved in barre fitness. This is not to say that dancers’ bodies cannot be incredibly diverse, but there are people involved in barre fitness who are also involved in power-lifting and contact sports. Generally, a ballerina is trying to achieve a leaner kind of muscle-mass, where many other disciplines may embrace a heavier build. A two hundred pound bodybuilder is likely to put more stress on the barre than would a hundred-pound ballet dancer.
Finally, barre fitness attracts people from all walks of life. Men and women, old and young, professional athletes or people just trying to lose a few pounds. While dancers come from every possible background, they all share at least one important thing: They’re dancers.
The different needs of a ballet barre and a fitness barre are relatively small, it’s not as broad a difference as between, say, ballet slippers and a pair of running shoes, but those differences are nonetheless important, and in the case of the fitness barre, necessitate just a bit more stability.
Some companies may advertise that they offer fitness barres, not ballet barres, but fundamentally they’re the exact same product. The fitness barre regime is, after all, based heavily on the exercises used in ballet. The difference is mainly in who’s using the barres and how, rather than anything to do with the barre itself.
Those extra brackets really are all you’re going to need in order to provide a safe, rewarding environment for anyone who wants to attend your barre fitness studio. Just read the instructions when installing your barre and you should be fine. If you’re still unsure contact a local contractor.
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