Pilates vs. Barre: Which Workout is Right For You?

When you start looking into Pilates you’ll inevitably come across Barre as an alternative workout method, but what is the difference between the two?

Pilates focuses on controlled movements and breathing in order to improve flexibility, strength, coordination and balance. Barre exercises are a combination of ballet-inspired movements and Pilates exercises. 

Pilates and Barre are both popular forms of exercise that focus on strength, flexibility, and posture. While they have similarities, there are some key differences between the two.

What are the differences between Pilates and Barre workouts?

Both Pilates and barre offer a great full-body workout, but there are some key differences that make each one unique:

  1. Pilates uses light hand weights and props, while barre classes incorporate aerobic exercises to burn calories and build muscle strength.
  2. Pilates focuses on flexibility and core stability, while barre classes focus heavily on strength training.
  3. Pilates is a low-impact, full-body workout that originates from the core, while barre classes involve small, isometric movements based in ballet.

Of course, there are some similarities: both Pilates and barre are excellent exercises for improved flexibility, body alignment and muscular strength, and they are both easy for people of all levels.

Neither Pilates nor barre are better for weight loss; however, barre classes can provide additional calorie-torching cardio benefits.

Which workout is more effective for weight loss?

As a professional instructor I get asked about weight loss a lot. The important thing to remember is that exercise is only a small part of the equation. To really make a difference, you need a healthy lifestyle and diet.

That being said, if you currently do nothing at all, then both workouts will contribute to your fitness goals, provided you treat these as a long term fitness routine rather than a one-off sometimes.

Ultimately, the best way to decide which workout is right for you is to try them both and see what works best for your body.

What are the benefits of Pilates?

Pilates is a form of exercise that has many benefits to health thanks to it working the entire body.

In short, undertaking a long term Pilates exercise program will result in improved posture, better flexibility and strength, and a reduction in stress levels.

All of these benefits are possible because Pilates is a full-body workout that focuses on strengthening the core muscles.

Additionally, Pilates teaches users how to breathe correctly and focus on their bodies, which can help reduce stress levels.

Finally, because Pilates is low impact, it is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels.

For more benefits see: What is Mat Pilates? The Benefits of Mat Work and Pilates Classes

What are the benefits of Barre?

Barre is a low impact workout that tones muscles without adding bulk. Barre strengthens bones and helps prevent osteoporosis, as well as reduce injury risk.

It increases cardiovascular endurance and metabolism, which can help you quickly lose weight. It also improves posture.

The mental benefits of barre include increased clarity, focus, and sense of well-being. Endorphins released during physical activity can increase your general sense of well-being.

Which workout is better for toning your body?

If your goal is to tone your body, there are a few different options to choose from. You could go with Pilates, Yoga, or Barre.

All three of these workouts focus on balance and strength, and they share similarities in the principles of relaxation, breathing, and execution.

However, each workout has its own unique benefits that set it apart from the others.

Yoga is great for people who are looking for a relaxing and spiritual experience. The physical benefits of Yoga include improving posture, toning muscles, and decreasing stress levels. In addition, Yoga helps you connect with your mind and body in a way that other workouts cannot match.

Pilates is perfect for people who want to improve their overall fitness level. It focuses on strengthening the core muscles as well as increasing flexibility. Pilates is also known for its ability to improve posture and prevent injuries.

Barre is a fun, upbeat workout which works on toning muscles while maintaining leanness. It is perfect for people looking to tone their body without gaining too much weight. Barre also provides many physical benefits such as improved posture and coordination.

Which workout is better for improving flexibility?

Improving and maintaining flexibility is something that can make a real difference to your quality of life, especially as we age.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer, as different workouts work better for different people. You may need to try a few before you find the right one for you.

Mat Pilates is a specific regimen based on the work of Joseph Pilates that uses the core to stabilize portions of the body.

Barre workouts tend to focus more on repetitions and at a higher tempo.

Mat Pilates focuses primarily on strengthening muscles in the core, which improves flexibility in part due to its similar structure with barre workouts.

Both types of workouts promote flexibility and strength improvement over time.

Which workout is better for strengthening your core?

Pilates and barre are two of the most popular methods of core strength training. Both have their own unique benefits, and it can be hard to decide which one is right for you.

Barre classes typically involve more repetitions and higher speeds in order to work the core muscles. Mat Pilates, on the other hand, is a specific regimen based on the work of Joseph Pilates. There are similarities between the two workouts, but they’re more like cousins than siblings.

One thing that sets barre apart from traditional strength training is time under tension. During an exercise set, a muscle is held under stress (or working) for a certain time.

In traditional weightlifting, you might use heavy weights with few repetitions; however, barre workouts use high reps with low weight micro-movements. This type of workout can be a little harder for the very strong to do, but it’s not always impossible.

Barre workouts are typically done in a group setting and focus on upper body exercises. The workout typically begins with some sort of warm-up routine to prepare the body for intense exercise.

Some exercises are done in relevé and some in standing positions. You may also be asked to do some exercises barefoot, with grip socks, or in ballet shoes.

Not all exercises are created equal, so it’s important to try different classes until you find one that you enjoy doing. Working out is important, so don’t feel bad if you have to switch up your routine every once in a while!

How often should you do each type of workout to see results?

It can be hard to know which workout is right for you, and even harder to figure out how often you should do it. Here’s a breakdown of each type of workout and how often you should do it to see results:

Barre Workouts: Barre workouts are focused on lean muscle tone and increased definition. You should aim to do barre workouts 3–4 times per week.

Pilates Workouts: Pilates is designed to improve flexibility, circulation, and range of motion. You should aim to do Pilates workouts 2–3 times per week.

Are there any risks associated with either type of workout?

There are always risks associated with any type of workout, but fortunately the risks for both Pilates and Barre are relatively low.

With Pilates, you want to make sure you’re using proper form and aren’t pushing yourself too hard; doing so can lead to injuries. 

Barre workouts can also be risky if you’re not careful. Since they involve more cardio-intense moves than Pilates, there’s a greater chance of injuring yourself if you’re not paying attention or don’t know what you’re doing. 

What should you wear to each type of class?

When you’re choosing what to wear to your Pilates or barre class, it’s important to think about function over fashion.

That means opting for leggings rather than jeans and fitted tops that will stay in place as you move. You’ll also want to make sure you have a good pair of socks with grips on the bottom so you don’t slip during the class.

Depending on the type of class, you may need some additional equipment like dumbbells, elastics, weighted balls, or nothing at all! Be sure to check with your instructor before class starts, so you know what to bring.

In either case, always make sure to arrive early enough to do a proper warm-up. This will help get your body ready for standing work in a barre class or the more intense Pilates moves.

And be prepared for a great workout–these new methods are definitely going to fatigue your muscles! Your heart rate is likely going to rise too as you learn how to move this way, but that’s just part of the process. Just expect some physical shaking during your first few classes 😉

Donna Finnie

Donna loves to share her passion for Pilates with others. She is a fully qualified instructor who believes Pilates is for everyone, regardless of age, as it can truly help to increase strength, flexibility mobility and athletic performance.

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