The growing popularity of “barre fitness”, has brought a new wave of customers to Alvas BFM. We totally get it, dancers are in phenomenal shape.

Many popular fitness studios have trusted us to provide their studios with ballet barres. Studios such as Barre Code, Cardio Barre, Booty Barre, Xtend Barre, Piloxing Barre, Pure Barre, the list goes on.

We often get asked if ballet barres are the same as fitness barres and if they can be used the same way. The short answer is yes. But, you’re going to want to make a few modifications to the barre so that it better suits your needs.

A Simple Difference

The difference between a ballet barre and a fitness barre isn’t really about how it’s built or how it’s used, but the intensity with which it is put to work. Ballet barres provide balance and stability during stretching and warm-up exercises. Of course, they need to be durable and stable if they are to provide dancers with a safe place to stretch their legs, but they might not need to withstand the constant, rigorous use to which fitness barres are regularly subjected.

The big difference between barres in dance and barre studios is going to be the number of support brackets. Barre fitness classes typically require additional weight to be placed on the ballet barres, therefore requiring more support. Placing approximately one bracket per 4′ of barre will offer your barre fitness classes the additional support necessary.

So if you’re just skimming the post, here’s what you need to know:

Fitness barres require one bracket for every four feet in length

It’s a pretty easy modification to make, even if you’ve never put a barre together in your life. Just refer to the installation instructions prior to installation and you’re set.

Fundamentally, there’s no real difference between a fitness barre and a ballet barre beyond the number of brackets you’re using. That’s really all there is to it. But it’s an important difference.

Ballet-Inspired, But…

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.

It’s All About 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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