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Why Women Over 50 Love Barre Workout Routines for Better Balance + Flexibility (Without Joint Pain!)

These three videos can help you get started at home — no special equipment needed

Whether you’ve noticed classes popping up at your local gym or a friend has raved about a new fitness routine, you’ve likely heard about trendy barre workouts. Barre is a low-impact exercise that combines yoga, Pilates and ballet. But you don’t have to be a dancer to get the benefits of a barre workout.

These movements are designed to increase mobility and flexibility, improve balance and coordination and strengthen muscles and bones. We’ve rounded up some great barre workout options you can try on your own, with explanations and tips from doctors and barre instructors.

What is barre?

Barre is an accessible full-body workout that combines the core strength of Pilates, the mindfulness of yoga and the high intensity of strength workouts, explains Michelle Ditto, Director of Training and Technique at Pure Barre.

She explains that these workouts are based on the premise that jumping, running or higher impact movements that stress the joints are not necessary to achieve substantial and sustainable fitness results. Ditto says barre is a workout that can be done consistently, leading to better longevity and fewer age-related ailments.

Find the best barre workout for you

Experts say that while the exact frequency of your barre workouts are a personal choice, you’re most likely to see results if you do a 30-minute class three or more times a week. You can start with fewer, shorter workouts and gradually build up your endurance over time. And don’t forget a quick warm-up stretch before your routine and a post-workout cool down.

Never taken a barre workout before? No problem! These three options are all beginner friendly, 30 minutes or less and ideal for any age and fitness level.

1. 30-minute barre workout for beginners

This routine begins with a gentle warm-up before moving on to lower body exercises that target the thighs, glutes and calves. You’ll need a chair and a pair of light hand weights for this part of the routine, if you so choose. Then you’ll continue with chair movements, which target the abs and core, before finishing with whole body stretches to cool down.

“Weight-bearing exercises, especially those involving the use of light weights, help in maintaining joint health as well as bone density, hence preventing osteoporosis and arthritis,” says Paul Daidone, MD, FASAM, Medical Director at True Self Recovery.

Dr. Daidone explains that the warm-up, forward fold, curtsy lunge and ankle circles in this video encourage enhanced balance and stability. “Proprioception [the body’s ability to sense movement and position] is improved by these exercises, which help prevent falls by focusing on controlled movements that enhance balance and stability,” he says.

And the leg lifts and arm exercises strengthen muscles without stressing joints. How? They use light weights together with repetitive motions. This can help maintain functional strength as well as muscle mass as we age, says Dr. Daidone.

“Flexibility is improved when many barre exercises stretch or elongate muscles, thereby increasing the range at which joints move,” Dr. Daidone says. “This greatly helps reduce stiffness while enhancing general mobility.”

1. 30-minute barre routine that’s gentle on the knees

This barre workout is intentionally easy on the knees. There are no pliés (bending and straightening of the knees), lunges or mat work. That makes it ideal for anyone who has experienced an injury or is experiencing knee pain. All you need is a chair and light weights (soup cans work, too!) for some added resistance.

Renee Roth Powers, DPT, physical therapist and founder and owner of Fundamental Motion, recommends this workout. She says it “offers a solid, safe starting point, avoids stressful positions, does not demonstrate excessive repetition and gives people suggestions and options for alternatives consistently throughout the video.”

3. 20-minute targeted lower-body barre workout

Prefer a shorter, more targeted workout? Try this lower body routine, which helps strengthen some of the largest muscle groups in your body — your legs. Anabelen Aranton, PT is a physical therapist and certified pilates instructor. Her 20–minute barre workout has moves that also activate the core. This enhances balance and improve posture with minimal to no pressure on the joints. A chair is all you’ll need for this series.

Dr. Daidone adds that another benefit of barre is that you can focus on particular muscle groups. In this case, it’s the thighs, glutes and hips. “Tabletop [exercises] or opening up the hip through side abduction specifically targets the glutes as well as hip abductors, which are important for stabilization and balance,” he explains.


More fun workout routines to try:

Step Up Your Rucking Workout With These Routines Recommended by Fitness Pros

These Easy + Effective Exercises Are the Best Bets for Women Over 50

Experts’ 7 Best Chair Exercises for Seniors That Improve Strength, Balance and Flexibility

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

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