Sample Class: Barre Strength & Interval

by Jamie Smith on Sep 24, 2013

Class Take-Out

Add variation and load to your barre classes.

Take your barre class to the next level by adding equipment and intervals, and bring new life to your tendus and passés! Students will gain postural and body awareness while increasing their strength and cardiovascular health. This class touches on all levels and is fantastic for cross-training.

Barre Strength & Interval Details

Goal/Emphasis: postural awareness, strength, cardiovascular conditioning
Total Time: 45-60 minutes
Equipment: one Body Bar® per participant; BOSU® Balance Trainer (optional)
Music: 125-130 beats per minute

Warm-Up (no bar) (10-12 minutes)

The warm-up is slightly extended because as participants focus on technique and posture, they’ll already be getting deeper into the movements. Cue them to feel the ground all the way through their feet, and help them find proper alignment and posture. Use this phase to cue technical and kinesthetic responses that participants will return to throughout class. For example, you might say, “Zip up your inner thighs each time you come back to center. Imagine there’s a string coming out of the top of your head, pulling you up to the ceiling.”


  • Perform tendus front, side and back.
  • Do demi-pliés, first position.
  • Do demi-pliés, second position.
  • Do toe presses (rolling up through entire foot, starting with heel and going all the way to ball of foot, then rolling back down).
  • Do relevés.
  • Add pliés to recover.
  • Repeat toe presses and relevés, second position.

Work/Focus Phase (~25-40 minutes total)


This sequence introduces the Body Bar, which remains on the floor in the vertical position (at midline of body) for light support.

  • Cue participants to use bars for balance checks only. Encourage students to stabilize through technique and core strength.
  • Let students know they can also do jumps on the BOSU trainer with bar in same position. Watch to make sure they maintain control. Give safety cues as needed.
Half-Moon Bar Raises (8 full reps)
  • From first position, lift bar overhead (arms are fully extended and remain that way throughout).
  • Slowly take bar right (R) and then left (L).
  • Create semicircle over head, gradually increasing range of motion. This prepares lateral muscles and allows participants to check form and change weights if necessary.
Place bar on floor in vertical position, at midline of body.
  • Do 16 slow sauté jumps, first position, 4 counts; end and stick plié.
  • Do 16 sauté jumps, first position, 2 counts each (32 jumps if participant ability allows); end and stick plié.
  • Do series of gentle pliés to recover. Allow participants to “shake out” legs if they need to.
Note: This is a difficult series, so adjust accordingly.
  • Repeat sauté jump series, second position.
  • Repeat one more time, both first and second positions.
  • End with half-moon bar raises.


Use the jazz sequence below or create your own (no bar).

  • Pick interval (instructor’s choice) for push phase. Repeat through one song (e.g., do 30 seconds of work followed by 15 seconds of recovery).
  • Give yourself approximately 30 seconds at song’s start to teach base sequence so class is ready when intervals start.
  • During recovery, keep people moving with one basic move that matches your dance genre (not from combo). Encourage recovery.
Sample Jazz Sequence
  • Chassé R (1, 2); turn (3, 4); kick ball change 2x.
  • Repeat L.
  • Get creative with arms, but not too complicated. Emphasize increased heart rate, not intricate movement.
Note: On turn, show alternative/modification as cross-step (facing forward).


Arm Series (with bar)

  • Do front tendu slowly, with overhead military press.
  • Do military-press pulses, up to tempo, at top half.
  • Do side tendu slowly with one arm (same side as leg); bent-arm lateral raise.
  • Do lateral-raise pulses, up to tempo, at top half.
  • Do back tendu with triceps lift. Elbows face back wall.
  • Repeat all.

Leg Series No bar; resume vertical position in front for balance checks.

  • Do front dégagé.
  • Hold in lifted dégagé position (about 6-8 inches off ground); slow pulse.
  • Pulse up to tempo.
  • Repeat on both sides.
  • Repeat in attitude.
  • Arabesque R, in plié (hold; chest faces R wall, R arm extends R; L leg extends L).
  • Pulse extended back leg (still in plié).
  • Do plié pulses (back leg is still extended, but not moving).
  • Add both together and pulse.
  • Repeat L.
  • Repeat front dégagé series but to back.
  • Repeat front and back.


  • Triple step up R, L (like pony, only more grounded), 2x.
  • Triple step back R, L, but let hip follow foot. If you’re on R foot, R hip rotates back.
  • Do front and back first few intervals.
  • Add “around the world.”

Depending on how much time you have and what your focus is, repeat all or some of the above. If you prefer to have just a strength class, take out the choreography intervals. If you prefer more cardio, add more intervals.

Floorwork: Glutes and Abs (5-10 minutes)

Incorporate any muscle isolations you like in this section. Here are some examples:

Glute Raise With Chest Press

  • Start on back, heels hip width apart, close to glutes. Squeeze knees together. Hold bar in start position for chest press.
  • Drive through heels, square pelvis to ceiling and lift hips up and down slowly.
  • Stay at top of move and pulse.
  • Repeat with chest press.
Extended Ab Crunch
  • Remain in raised-glute squeeze position.
  • Extend one leg, arms overhead.
  • Pull knee to chest as you bring bar to knee and lift torso.
Extended Ab Crunch, Slow
  • Stay in extended ab crunch and pulse in top position (knee into chest and bar into knee).
  • Repeat on opposite side.
  • Repeat all, time permitting.

Cool-Down and Stretch (4-8 minutes)

When class has recovered from activity, do the following:

  • lying quad stretch
  • runner’s hamstring stretch
  • cat/cow to release the back
  • runner’s lunge for hip flexors
Add your own customized stretches based on the activity.

IDEA Fitness Journal, Volume 10, Issue 10

© 2013 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Jamie Smith

Jamie Smith IDEA Author/Presenter

Jamie G. is an International Fitness Presenter/Choreographer & Lifestyle Spokesperson. She specializes in dance-fitness with over 20 years experience & was a REEBOK Fitness Ambassador in 2012. She da...

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