Good Moves

This Low-Impact Cardio Barre Workout Burns Out Your Arms and Abs in Less Than 30 Minutes

Erin Bunch

Of all the things I miss about pandemic life versus pre-pandemic life, my cardio barre classes are among the top of the list. Something about those power hours—maybe that they invoked nostalgia for my past life as a professional ballerina—is hard to replicate at home. That doesn't mean, however, that I've abandoned them altogether. While you may not get the thrill of seeing a row of bodies moving with disciplined unison when hitting the figurative barre at home, you still get every other benefit (and the added bonus of being able to quit when a movement gets too difficult without shame—just me?). To help you do just that, Barre3 owner Alicia Sokol put together a low-impact cardio barre workout for the latest episode of Good Moves, and it is no joke. The 24-minute workout hits your entire body, but with an emphasis on the arms and abs.

If possible, Sokol advices grabbing a set of hand weights, though you could also use the canned goods you stockpiled back when everyone rushed the grocery store aisles last March, some water bottles, or anything with a little added heft to it. You'll also need a mat or towel for a bit of floor work. "Other than that, I just want you to breathe, move, give your body some grace, give it some love, celebrate all it can do, and at the end of this time together, I want you to feel really confident and strong in the body you have today," Sokol says.

If you're new to barre and are trying to mix up your at-home workouts, because the struggle to stay motivated is real, it might help to take a peek at this primer first. But the routine is designed to accommodate all levels, and Sokol offers plenty of modifications for newbies or those nursing an injury or sore spot. Still, it's pretty intense—I saw plenty of places I'd likely wimp out—which is great, because short, vigorous workouts are one of the many accessible-to-all keys to improving longevity. And you can keep utilizing it for that purpose well into your 80s. (Lotte Berk, the famed founder of the original cardio barre class The Lotte Berk Method, did, so there's no reason to think you couldn't, too.)

So ditch the go-to workout that hasn't been doing you any favors since your body acclimated to it, say, six months ago, and give this fun (promise) yet effective AF barre routine a go. Grab a mat, some weights, a little water, and maybe even a friend to practice along through FaceTime to give you that in-class feel, and press play on the video above to experience the most efficient 24 minutes of your day. Your body, soul, and long-forgotten ballerina aspirations will thank you.

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