Barre is one of the fastest-growing fitness trends in the industry. According to the American Council on Exercise's 2015 Industry Trend Report, in the last two years barre has grown globally by 141%, and has already been adopted by almost 1/3 of the fitness industry. With dozens of studios set to open across the country, here are five must know facts to keep your club ahead of the competition.
1. What is barre?
For the uninitiated, barre (pronounced ‘bar’) is a ballet-inspired workout method that is designed to build toned and lean muscles. The actual barre is a waist-level bar that users hold onto while doing exercises. Sadie Lincoln, founder of barre3 fitness, describes barre as:
"… a combination of postures inspired by ballet and other disciplines like yoga and Pilates. The barre is used as a prop to balance while doing exercises that focus on isometric strength training (holding your body still while you contract a specific set of muscles) combined with high reps of small range-of-motion movements.”
2. Barre isn’t new
Barre swept the fitness world last year, but it didn’t start off as an international success. Barre classes were not nearly in such high demand when Lotte Berk opened the first barre studio in London during 1959. Berk wanted to fuse her ballet barre training with rehabilitative therapy methods to create a new kind of workout. One of Berk’s students, Lydia Bach, brought barre to the US when she opened a studio in Manhattan in 1971. A strong community formed over the following 40 years, leading to barre’s recent explosion of popularity.
3. Barre is here to stay
While some have dismissed barre as a passing fad, all of the evidence points to the rise of barre as a prominent, permanent new feature of the fitness industry. As mentioned above, since 2013 barre has grown by 141%, and now almost 1/3 of the fitness industry has integrated barre into their fitness arsenal. There are now over 700 corporate-owned barre studios in the US alone, with more slated to open this year. Pure Barre alone has almost 300 locations and many companies offer on-demand and online streaming options for home workouts.
4. Barre has a high ROI
If you are considering adding barre workouts to your club, then there is good news! Fortunately, Barre doesn’t require exorbitant equipment or tons of space. The essential piece is the barre itself, which is traditionally attached to a mirrored wall in a dance studio-like room. If your club doesn’t have this kind of room already, you can purchase a free-standing bar. Beyond that, including any additional equipment is up to you. Many barre classes also include yoga mats for certain exercises. Most barre classes are bodyweight-based, but you can also use small 5 pound weights to make things more challenging, as well as exercise balls or resistance bands.
You will need to hire a barre instructor to lead classes as well. Although hiring another instructor is a huge investment, barre can be very profitable – at some studios, one barre training session can cost up to $25 per participant. Bringing a barre instructor in for some weekly classes can attract many potential members who want the barre experience, but do not want to pay hundreds of dollars a month to attend a full-time barre studio.
5. Barre can be for everyone
While barre workouts are a challenge for everyone, a typical barre class is overwhelmingly female. There have been many successful ‘bring the men’ events, but if your club has mostly male members, barre might not be right for you. However, if marketed correctly, introducing barre classes can bring new women members to your club. As long as your club is staying on-brand, adding barre classes can be a great way to bring new members to your club, while also adding variety to current member’s routines.