Top 5 Barre Fit Exercises To Improve Your Ballet

Top 5 Barre Fit Exercises To Improve Your Ballet

By Alicia Holloway on 21st Dec 2022

 Ballet Barre Fit classes have their origins in ballet with inspirations drawn from Pilates and Yoga. It's a low impact exercise class taken at the barre and although it's not the same as taking a ballet barre class, there are definitely some exercises that will benefit and enhance a dancer's technique and would be a fun cross training option. Here are my favorite Barre Fit moves that will improve your ballet.


1 Plies and pulses on demi pointe.

This exercise will target the calf muscles, in particular the Soleus, which is beneficial for pointe work and good ankle stability.

Standing in parallel with good posture either facing the barre or side on. Rise up to the maximum height of your demi pointe, keeping the ankles and inner thighs squeezed together. Bend the knees and lower yourself then stretch back up to standing. Focus on maintaining the height of the heels on demi pointe as you bend and stretch and keep the shoulders stacked directly on top of the hips.

For a more intense workout, add some pulses on demi pointe after the pliés. Stay in the depth of your plié, maintaining the height of your demi pointe, and gently pulse up and down in that end range of motion.

Do 3 sets of 8 demi pointe pliés followed by 16 plié pulses.

2 Superman

Targets the glutes, hamstrings and back to help with arabesque and general stability during adage.

Standing feet together in parallel facing the barre. Walk your feet out away from the barre until your ankles are directly bow your hips and your arms outstretched in front of you like an inverted L shape. Degagé the right leg behind you on the floor. Slowly lift the leg until it's parallel to the floor making a T shape with your body and then lower. Make sure to keep the core lifted and engaged the whole time and that both hips remain parallel to the floor as you lift.

Pulses of the leg in the lifted position can be done with a pointed or flexed foot.

Do 3 sets of 8 lifts with 16 pulses each leg.

3 Oysters

These will target and strengthen the leg abductors, helping with any movement where the leg is taken out to the side and also to prevent over use of turnout muscles, aiding in injury prevention.

Standing with feet together in parallel facing the barre. Demi plié keeping both heels on the floor. Bend the right knee lifting the right foot off the floor. Hinge the right leg open and up towards the ceiling keeping the hips parallel and square to the barre and close back down. Make sure to not let the working leg turn out from the hip socket and to keep the knee back behind the supporting leg.

Pulses can be done at the very end of range motion, with the emphasis on keeping the knee up.

Do 3 sets of 8 Oysters with 16 pulses on both legs.

4 Retirè pulses

Strengthens the hip flexors for higher developes and control.

Standing side on to the barre in a turned our first position. Lift the outside leg into a retiré position maintaining turnout, gently lift the knee into a high Retire and pulse at the top of the end range of motion, with the emphasis on going up to the ceiling.

Do 3 sets of 16 pulses on both legs.

5 First position knee pulses.

Works to strengthen the deep rotators used for turnout.

Stand side onto the barre in a turned out 1st position, rise onto demi pointe and draw the feet together so the heels are touching. Demi plié keeping the height of the heels and maintaining contact. Pulse the knees out to the side, increasing the turnout range to its maximum. Keep the shoulders stacked on top of the hips and good posture the whole time.

Do 3 sets of 16 pulses