This beginner's barre routine will improve your strength and flexibility with minimal equipment

Want to get strong and fit from home? Give barre a go

Woman doing barre workout in a mirrored room
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Bodyweight routines are a great way to build strength without any equipment, but sometimes doing endless squats, lunges and push-ups can get a bit boring. Want to shake up your schedule? Try doing a barre session. 

Barre incorporates elements of ballet, Pilates and yoga. It features a lot of isometric holds, which are positions that force your muscles to continually contract (think planks, glute bridges and wall sits). From these positions, you move through small ranges of motion to target specific parts of your muscles.

"Barre is an accessible way to improve your coordination and body awareness, which can lead to better posture and improved stability," says Katelyn DiGiorgio, a trainer at Pure Barre.

DiGiorgio has shared a fifteen minute workout that you can do from home with no equipment. You can use a light dumbbell for some of the moves, but the workout will challenge you without weights, too. If you don't own any dumbbells but still want to try the weighted variations, substitute in a bottle of water or a can. 

Katelyn DiGiorgio's Pure Barre bodyweight workout

1. Push-ups to pike

Time: 30 seconds on each side Rest: 10 seconds

  • Come down to the floor. Place your hands slightly wider than your shoulders and walk the feet back, so that they're hip width apart and parallel.
  • Bend your arms and bring your chest to the floor to do a push-up, then 'pike' the hips back and up into downward dog.
  • Lower the hips back to plank and repeat.

2. Forearm side plank crunch

Time: 30 seconds on each side Rest: 10 seconds in between each side

  • Lie on your right side, with your feet stacked on top of each other. Place your right forearm and elbow on the ground and push up, so that your body is off the floor. Reach your left arm up and over your head. 
  • Float your left leg upwards. Slowly bend your left knee in towards your torso and bring your left elbow down to meet it, then extend your leg and arm again. 
  • Repeat then switch sides after 30 seconds. 

3. Hundreds to roll up

Time: 30 seconds Rest: 10 seconds

  • Take a seat with your hands either side of you. To make this exercise more difficult you can hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Keep your chin to your chest and roll back, so that your shoulder blades are hovering just above the floor. Extend your legs straight out to a 45-degree angle. Zip them together and point your toes. Reach your arms forward.
  • Slowly alternate moving your arms up and down four times, then hold them straight and  roll your body up as you bend your knees to your chest.
  • Slowly roll back down, then up, then down, then repeat the steps listed above. 

4. Standing hip abduction

Time: 30 seconds on each side Rest: 10 seconds in between each side

  • Work near a chair, wall or counter for balance. Hold your support with your left hand and stand with your feet hip width apart.
  • Softly bend your standing leg and bright your right leg straight out to the side. As you do this, bring your right arm down towards your leg. 
  • Reach your right arm up and over, towards your support, as you lower your right leg. Repeat the above steps then switch legs. 

5. Countertop parallel

Time: 30 seconds on each side Rest: 10 seconds in between each side

  • Work near a chair, wall or counter for balance. Place your left hand on your support then hinge forward from the waist with a flat back. Place your right hand behind your head, with your elbow out wide. Bring your feet hip width apart and parallel and maintain a soft bend in your left leg.
  • Extend your right leg straight back behind you, then bend your heel to your backside, flexing your foot. 
  • Keeping your leg bent, lower your right knee in line with your left knee then press it back up behind you. Repeat and switch legs. 

6. Wide second with shoulder work

Time: 30 seconds Rest: 10 seconds

  • Reach your arms out in front of you at shoulder height with your palms facing in. To increase the difficulty of this move, you can hold a dumbbell in each hand. Walk your feet out wider than your hips and turn your toes out slightly. Make sure your shoulders are stacked over the hips
  • Squat down as you slide the arms open to a 'T' then stand back up, sliding the arms forward again.
  • Squat down a second time, but bend 90-degrees at the elbow this time, bringing your hands towards your head, then extending them forward again. 
  • Continue squatting and alternating arm movements. 

7. Leg extension with bicep curl

Time: 30 seconds on each side Rest: 10 seconds in between each side

  • Work near a chair, wall or counter for balance. Hold your support with your left hand. To make this move harder, you can hold a dumbbell in your right hand.
  • Stand with your heels together and your toes apart with the feet in a narrow “V” shape. Maintain a soft bend in the knee in your left leg and extend your right leg out straight in front of you, pointing your toes. 
  • At the same time, extend your right arm down towards your leg. Bend at the elbow and do a bicep curl in sync with your right leg as it raises. 

Looking for more at-home workout inspiration? Take a look at our beginner bodyweight workout or try these yoga stretches for beginners

Alice Porter
Freelancer Writer

Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.