Inspired by the movements of dance and pilates, barre workouts are a relatively low-impact but high-intensity exercise that allows you to work up a sweat and work out your entire body.
Whether you’re a barre aficionado who’s looking to build a home studio or a newbie seeking a new workout regime, you are probably going to need some equipment. Here, I’ve compiled the most essential pieces of equipment you’ll need to get a great barre workout and my top picks for each.
1. Free weights
2. Resistance loops
3. Exercise mat
4. Barre ball
5. Double tube
6. Barre support
7. Core sliders
1. Barre Free Weights
A crucial component of any resistance exercise program, studio dumbbells add resistance to your barre workouts, increasing difficulty and helping with muscle building and toning. Generally, you will only need lighter weights in barre, with most exercises needing no more than 5lbs of resistance.
CAP Barbell Neoprene Dumbbell Set with Rack
I chose the CAP Neoprene Dumbbell Set for its versatility and functionality. It comes in a set of three pairs, ranging from 2 to 5 lbs so you can change up the resistance level of your barre workout with different movements or as you increase your strength. This set has hex-shaped heads which prevents your weights slipping away, and also comes with a convenient A-frame rack to maximize storage even in the smallest workout areas.
- Adding moderate levels of resistance to your workout with various weights
- People with smaller workout areas who need storage solutions for their equipment
What I personally use:
- CAP dumbbell rack + random free weights I’ve collected over the years
2. Barre Resistance Loops
Resistance loops (or bands) are versatile pieces of equipment that can increase the difficulty to any barre workout. Resistance loops can be wrapped around the arms and legs in a variety of barre workouts to target these muscle groups.
WODSKAI Resistance Exercise Fabric Bands
These resistance loops come in a set of five with varying resistance levels and are made with durable fabric, so they are more durable than their plastic counterparts. One major perk of these loops is that they are nonslip, meaning you won’t have to stop in the middle of your workout to readjust like you do with lower-quality loops.
- Increasing intensity in both upper and lower body isometric barre exercises
- The buyer who wants resistance loops that will last for more than a couple of workouts
3. Barre Socks
Perhaps one of the most important pieces of equipment to have when doing barre exercises, barre socks provide nonslip grip on the bottom of your feet so you can hold your poses without fear of slipping and sustaining an injury. These socks are generally ankle-cut and can be used on a variety of flooring including wood, tile, and mats.
Ozaiic Yoga Socks
These socks are designed for safety, comfort, and style! Boasting a ballet-inspired design and grips throughout the entirety of the foot, the Ozaiic Yoga Sock will ensure that you won’t have a slip-up during your barre routine.
- Working out in a home gym with a floor that does not provide a safe footing for barre workouts.
- Barre fashionistas
4. Barre Workout Mats
Mats are essential pieces of equipment for any barre workout. They provide cushioning when doing floor exercises and work to improve grip and prevent slipping during your workout.
Retrospec Solana Yoga Mat
This yoga mat comes in both ½” and 1” thicknesses – both offerings are significantly thicker than a standard ¼” yoga mat, meaning it will offer comfort and joint protection during your home workout. It is still portable if you’d like to take it on the road, coming with a nylon strap to sling over your shoulder on the way to your next in-person workout class.
- Barre practitioners who need a little more cushion than the average yoga mat offers
- Someone who likes to do their barre classes both at home and in the studio
What I personally use:
I have both the Retrospec and the TOPLUS yoga mats. I prefer the Retrospec, but it doesn’t do well (i.e. the material flakes off) on the rough surface of our patio. So, if I’m not on hardwood floors then I’ll use the TOPLUS because it holds up better.
5. Barre ball
Barre balls are used for a variety of different purposes during barre exercises, mainly targeting core strength and stability. The best exercise balls for barre are smaller than the average since you sometimes need to hold them with just one hand – you want to aim for about 9 inches for the best versatility in barre exercises.
Core Athletica 9 inch Soft Exercise Ball
The Core Athletica Exercise Ball is perfect for barre exercises. Its small size and durable hold means that it can function for a wide variety of barre movements while maintaining its shape and firmness. This ball also comes delivered uninflated, so you can inflate or deflate based on your needs.
Perfect For: Core and balance-intensive barre workouts
What I personally use:
I use a (slightly deflated) URBNFit mini pilates ball.
6. Barre Double Tube
Similar to resistance loops, double tubes provide resistance during your barre workout. Double tubes are specifically made to work out your upper body, allowing you to isolate and target your arm, chest, and back muscles.
iRibit Fitness Figure 8 Toner Resistance Exercise Tube
This double tube comes in a pack of three, so you have several different resistance levels to choose from when doing your barre home workout. Another major plus? This set comes with a lifetime warranty to back up its excellent durability, so no matter what you know you’ll have bands that last through any workout!
- Workouts that require varying levels of resistance
- Barre exercises that isolate muscle groups in the upper body
7. Barre Support
Having a solid support is the cornerstone of any barre home workout. Many fundamental barre workout moments require a sturdy support to hold onto. Traditionally, you would use a ballet bar (hence its name!) but you can even use a piece of furniture like a chair or bedframe if it’s sturdy enough.
Booty Kicker – Home Fitness Exercise Barre
This support is designed specifically with small spaces and home gyms in mind. It is adjustable for any height, plus it folds away for storage and is easily portable in case you want to move it around the house. This product even has a handy weight racking area for easy access to your dumbbells during your exercise!
- Home gyms with minimal space
- People of any height who practice barre
What I personally use:
I’m not ashamed to admit, I chose the cheaper option and just use the back of a folding chair we have in the house 🙂
8. Barre Core sliders
A staple in core exercises, these sliders reduce friction so that you rely solely on your core strength to hold up your body weight and keep your balance. The sliders are generally placed on the ground, and you place either your hands or legs on them and perform isometric and full-body core movements.
SKLZ Slidez Dual-Sided Exercise Glider Discs
These slider discs feature a double-sided design, improving grip on the contact side and allowing for gliding on multiple different surfaces including carpet. These can also be utilized in multiple different ways during your barre exercise, even clipping together to create one solid gliding piece to target different muscle groups.
- Barre workouts that take place in your living, bedroom, or other carpeted areas
- Increasing the difficulty of core-heavy barre workouts
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What kinds of muscles do barre workouts target?
A: Barre workouts are a full-body exercise! Just like dancing, you can target and isolate specific muscle groups with barre, but you can also get a good full-body workout and work up a sweat depending on the difficulty of your workout. Barre workouts are also great for the core.
Q: What kinds of equipment are essential for my home barre workout?
A: Many barre workouts can be done without a ton of equipment, but you still need a couple of essentials. The most essential pieces of equipment for your barre home workout are barre socks (or a nonslip mat you can confident won’t let you fall), a sturdy support (it can even be a chair of other sturdy piece of furniture in your home), and a pair of lightweight dumbbells to increase resistance and help tone your muscles.
Q: Where can I find barre workouts to do at home?
A: We’ve put together a HUGE list of the best free and paid options. Check it out here.
No longer do you need to go to a professional ballet studio or specialized gym class to get a good workout in. With just a couple pieces of relatively inexpensive equipment, you can replicate an authentic barre workout class in your own home!