The Method

Sculpt Your Body with Barre

January 12, 2023

It’s no secret that one of the most attractive things for anyone to wear is confidence. Our goal at The Bar Method is to bring confidence and strength, inside and out, to each and every one of our clients. One of the best parts about barre is its ability to sculpt and define your muscles in a real, transformative way. In any session at the barre, you’ll see a variety of exercises that are specially designed to work multiple muscles groups in the body, as well as your core, resulting in a more efficient (and effective) full-body workout. We believe that when you feel your best, you look your best—and vice versa! Keep reading to learn more about exactly which muscles are sculpted at the barre, why Bar Method does it differently, and our top three sculpting secrets! 

The Muscles Sculpted in Barre

One of the many amazing benefits of barre is that it truly is a full-body workout. Not only will you see perks like reduced stress, increased flexibility, and improved posture but you’ll also see and feel real changes in your muscles. High repetition exercises with lightweights matched with great form can help to sculpt and define the muscle groups below 

The Pecs (Pectoralis Major): The muscle responsible for making the chest look a little perkier flare over your upper and lower chest area. When it’s toned and strong, it can give the breasts a lifted appearance and even make things like breathing easier! Next time your instructor calls for another round of push-ups, know that perkier pecs are right around the corner.  

The Outer Quads (Vastus Lateralis): Expect your outer quads, or outside thigh muscle, to be chiseled to a distinctive, dancer-like curve down your leg. All that time spent burning at the barre in second position will soon pay off once you begin to see real definition in those quads.  

The Triceps (Triceps Brachii): Your triceps are your arm’s largest muscle. Sculpted triceps, just like toned hamstrings, can make your arms appear more slender. Reverse push-ups are often the fastest-acting triceps-shaper you’ll see in class. While the burn is definitely real in this exercise, it’s worth every second! Ensure proper form by turning to the side and checking your positioning in the mirror. You’ll see that arm definition in no time! 

The Hamstrings (Biceps Femoris): Your hamstrings run down the backs of your thighs and curve inward right under your butt, giving it that definition and lift. Toned hamstrings do wonders for the overall look and feel of your legs. When you continue to strengthen your hamstrings, you’ll help to keep the muscles loose and more flexible. 

The Lower Quads (Quadriceps Femoris): Ever notice that little muscle bulge right over the knee? Those are the lower quad muscles. At The Bar Method, you’ll work these muscles with eccentric contractions. One of the most targeted thigh exercises for slimming and toning is the Narrow V. This stance keeps your knees in a uniquely deep bend during plies. While this movement may look deceptively simple and easy, don’t be fooled! Your lower quads will be on fire.  

The Abdominals (Rectus Abdominis): Barre is one of the best ways to improve core and over abdominal strength. While crunches aren’t unique to barre, fitness-enthusiasts everywhere use them to chisel their abs. Bar Method members are no exception. In your average class, you’ll do sometimes more than 100 crunches. However, your abdominals are engaged throughout every exercise at the barre. 

TA (Traversus Abdominis): Your Traversus Abdominis or TA, is your deepest abdominal muscle. This muscle is often neglected in many other forms of exercise like running, spinning, or yoga. When it’s strong, it both flattens the stomach and stabilizes your lower spine. Bar Method tones the TA with our flat-back exercise. Students anchor themselves against the wall under the bar, exhale and “pull in” sharply, and then lift their legs against the stabilizing force of their core muscles.  

Hip Abductors (Gluteus Medius): This glute muscle forms the top curves of the rear and helps to stabilize your core and pelvis muscles. The Bar Method technique includes many exercises to shape the gluteus medius including pretzel, standing seat, arabesque, and back dancing.  

Buttocks (Gluteus Maximus): The largest muscle in your body, the gluteus maximus embellishes your elegant, upright posture, and in women forms the bottom part of that alluring hour-glass shape. You’ll see this muscle group worked throughout class in heel lifts, diamond thighs, seat work, curl, and back dancing. 


Bar Method Exercises to Sculpt Your Body 

While any class works a variety of muscle groups, as touched on above, there are certain specific exercises unique to The Bar method that are really incredible for sculpting the body.  

“U-Shaped bent elbow lifts”: To tone your back and shoulders  

Taking time to train your back and shoulders can leave you looking taller and leaner. When your posture improves, so does the overall shape of your body. That’s where these U-shaped bent elbow lifts come in. They’ll sculpt your arms, shoulders, and back muscles in one fell swoop. This exercise also teaches you to work from your center and engage your core for more stability. With this Bar Method exercise, you’ll feel the burn immediately and see the results quickly!  

How to: Pick up a set of 2-4 lb. weights. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and raise your arms to shoulder height. Then, begin to draw your weights out and down in an arching motion to behind your waist while still maintaining that 90-degree bend in your arms. Next, reverse the direction back to shoulder height. Continue this for about 2-3 minutes.  

“Pretzel”: To carve your waistline and glutes 

 Whether you love your backside or wish it was a bit more sculpted, it’s time to bring sexy back with our favorite booty lifting exercise, pretzel! Pretzel is truly a triple threat. It carves your glutes, tones your hamstrings, and whittles your waist all in one movement.  

How to: Sit down and place one leg in front of you at a 90-degree angle and the other leg behind you at a 90-degree angle. Then, place your supporting hand in line with your front knee. Lean your torso away from the working side at a 45-degree angle. Slide your back leg in line with your hip until it locks into place and press your hips forward. Using your glutes, lift your working leg off the floor. Lift 20 times and press back 20 times using your glutes, repeat this 3 times.  

“Narrow V” thigh work: To narrow your thighs  

Narrow V thigh work is amazing for both narrowing and elongating the appearance of your thighs. Not only that, but it spikes your heart rate and works your core muscles. You will experience a full body burn that will bring a newfound confidence to show off those sculpted leg muscles.  

How to: Press your heels together and open the balls of your feet 2-3 inches apart into a narrow V-shape. Next, raise your heels about an inch off the floor and bend your knees to come down to your lowest point. Then, focus on relaxing your glutes and calves. Move down an inch, up an inch by bending your knees. Do 10 reps slow and 20 reps at pulse speed, repeat 3 times.  

“Low Curl”: To define your six-pack abs  

The Bar Method incorporates several great abdominal exercises, however low curl is one of the most well-rounded, targeting all four main abdominal muscles. You can either hold the position and breathe or add little isometric curls for a deeper burn! Let go from the backs of your thighs for more of a challenge and you’ll aerobically burn away the calories! 

How to: Start by coming down onto your elbows on a yoga mat or other soft surface. Next, grip your glutes and anchor your lower back down. Hold onto the back of your thighs and bend your elbows to the side. Lift both of your feet off of the floor to a tabletop position. Use your biceps to bend forward as much as you possibly can. Do 10 curls slow and 20 fast. Repeat 3 times.  


Our Top 3 Sculpting Secrets  

The Bar Method, rooted in kinesiology and created by a team of physical therapists, has a few hidden superpowers that help to excel the sculpt, definition, and elongation of your muscles. 

Muscle Isolation  

At The Bar Method, you’ll be taught how to isolate key muscles and keep them activated for sustained periods of time. Our instructors will help you to isolate those hard-to-find muscles by ensuring you’re in the proper position and holding it until your muscles fatigue. The holding pattern itself is tough enough but mixed with small pulses, you’ll get that well known burn that ensures real results. Other workouts that include exercises like squats or lunges, are releasing that grip of the muscle with each rep. Thus, the muscles are never building the burn long enough to generate new muscle mass. Through isolation, true visible sculpting takes place.  

Interval Training Format  

Our interval training format creates a high level of intensity that boosts the metabolic rate. Every Bar Method exercise calls on multiple muscles groups to perform each movement and prevent these muscles from relaxing between reps. The barre itself allows you to easily balance for minutes at a time without a break while you work your thighs, glutes, hamstrings, and postural muscles. The “down” intervals, we focus on active stretching to help pull apart the still clenching muscles. When you combine minutes of hard work with active stretching throughout, the result is increased elasticity which enables muscles to easily contract and expand, which causes them to become functionally stronger and more sculpted.  

Hands On and Verbal Adjustments  

We pride ourselves on this sculpting secret. Unlike other workouts, isometric movements work by means of precise positioning. Our best-in-class instructors are there to ensure proper positioning and form by providing hands-on and verbal adjustments throughout class. The better your form and the more intentional you are about positioning, the faster your incredible results will appear. Whether you’re a beginner or barre pro, you’ll most likely receive some adjustments in each class. Your instructor cares about your success at the barre and wants to see you become the most powerful and sculpted version of you! 

As if you needed another reason to try out barre, consider this your official sign! Barre is truly a full-body workout that is totally different. When you combine the burn and isometric movements with expert-led classes, you’ve got the recipe for a sculpted body in no time. When you barre consistently, we’re talking 3-5 times a week, you’ll see even more accelerated results.  Book your class and experience the burn for yourself!