If we took a worldwide survey and asked people if they were planning on purchasing at-home fitness equipment back in January of 2020 — most would’ve said no, opting for gym memberships instead. Before the pandemic, there were many people who were strictly die-hard in-studio enthusiasts that shied away from at-home workouts. However, the pandemic forced even the harshest at-home workout skeptics to adapt to a virtual or solo training routine.
This surge of remote workouts created a huge demand for not just at-home fitness equipment, but also for at-home barre equipment specifically. In retrospect, this makes a lot of sense. Barre was already becoming an increasingly popular workout long before COVID-19 hit so, naturally, there was a huge following of people that wanted to continue their practice and maintain their strength, posture, and flexibility while being confined at home.
With at-home options that rival in-studio options — and that actually provide more flexibility and direction — this shift to at-home workouts may stay long after the pandemic. Brit Shimansky, founder of Britsbarre, an online, on-demand barre studio, saw the need for a sustainable, accessible barre option for people stuck at home — be it stay-at-home moms, business professionals working from home, or homebodies who would rather not leave the house. But barre needs a lot of specialized equipment, right?
Well, not exactly. The good news is that, with very little equipment, anyone can squeeze in a quality barre workout from home, the balcony of your hotel, or even outside. This is because barre is such a versatile workout that can be done using a variety of props you already have at home. It completely depends on your own unique wants, needs, and budget. In reality, all you need is an internet connection, a small section of empty space, a couple of soup cans, and a table, chair, or suitcase.
However, if you’ve decided that you can afford to upgrade your space from a dining room chair to a freestanding or portable barre, but you’re stuck in the preliminary stages of researching different types of barre equipment, we’ve taken the burden of sifting through online reviews and broken down the more in-demand barre options there are for you to choose from later on in this post.
We will start with going over the bare essentials and simple DIY hacks, then work our way down to the more expensive options you can purchase:
Barre workouts take up very little space. As long as there is enough room to lay out a yoga mat (or alternative) and be able to fully extend your legs and arms, you have enough space to execute all Britsbarre moves and positions.
These workouts are made to be done on non-carpeted and carpeted areas — just make sure you’re not working on a slippery surface. If you are, be sure to wear some grippy socks.
As we mentioned earlier, a free-standing barre is not necessary to have in order to successfully practice barre. A sturdy surface like a countertop, windowsill, or piece of furniture like a table or barstool makes a great substitute for a ballet barre.
That being said, we’ll be highlighting some of the best freestanding barres out there you can buy to add to your at-home barre studio below— so be sure to keep reading!
Don’t have hand weights? Check your pantry! Old wine bottles, reusable water bottles, and soup cans all make excellent hand-weight hacks. Alternatively, a bag of frozen meat, books, and resistance bands can all be used in lieu of light hand weights.
If you want to spend a little for a quality pair, Bala Bars run for about $55. These are a great option because it’s a weighted band that is worn on the body, it distributes weight evenly, and because they’re sleekly designed so they can be easily tossed into a suitcase or gym bag.
Resistance Bands & Loops
Both resistance bands and loops are easy-to-store and portable, but if you don’t happen to have any on hand, you can always use a sports bra, pantyhose, a bathrobe belt, or leggings tied in a loop and knotted at the end. Basically, if you can manipulate it to be securely fashioned as a circle — it will give you some level of resistance.
If you’re looking for quality above all else, a lot of people love SPRI bands, which range from about $5-$20. Since most bands are color coded by tension level, investing in a light, medium, and heavy band will allow you to work a range of different muscle groups that respond to varying levels of resistance.
Despite being lightweight and portable, sliders aren’t as popular as they should be. However, you can replicate their benefits by using socks, dish towels, paper towels, storage container lids, and furniture gliders. If you have room to spend, just know even the most premium sliders don’t cost all that much; in fact you can find most for under $25 on Amazon. The Synergee sliders have over 8000 five star reviews and cost $9.95 for a pack of two.
Used to target the lower body and core, yoga balls are often incorporated into barre routines, but they’re not the easiest to travel with considering it’s hard to pack a round-shaped 9-inch ball into a suitcase. As an alternative, you could always use a rolled-up bath towel or small pillow that’s already at the hotel, or you could always pack one and bring it with you.
If you’re looking to invest in a real yoga ball to add to your home barre studio, you can find a variety of them online for a range of prices. The TheraBand Pro Series Ball is one of the best you can find out there. It’s made from a sturdy and flexible material that is reviewed to provide the most support and tightest seal. It can be found at Walmart or Amazon for about $27.
As a substitute for a yoga mat, using a woven blanket, bath mat, comforter, carpet, or thick towel will do the trick. Whatever material you decide to work with, just make sure that it provides enough padding to cushion your joints, and that it won’t slide out from underneath you — we don’t want any unnecessary injuries.
If you want to purchase a yoga mat, one of the highest-rated yoga mats are Alo’s Warrior Mats that sell for $100. Even though this mat is pricey, it offers the best grip for the most challenging positions; your hands and feet won’t budge — even if you’re dripping in sweat. It’s moisture wicking technology prevents odor and sweat from building up, which is what keeps you in place. And while it is heavier than most other yoga mats, it does provide a little extra cushion at 4.22 mm to provide extra joint support, and has a range of 10 color choices to choose from.
Freestanding & Portable Barres
If you’re gung ho on diving all-in and transforming an old space into a professionally functioning and looking studio, we’ve outlined some of the most popular portable and freestanding barre options you can find online, and their pros and cons.
The Booty Kicker is the barre you see all over social media. They are portable and come with stainless steel supports, a weight rack, gripping feet, and a large white frame that can easily be stored in a closet or under the bed. Some things to keep in mind are weight restrictions; the Booty Kicker can hold up to 250 pounds, but you can always add more weight on the front rack for some additional counterbalance weight. Starting at $79.99, it is one of the more affordable barre options. Just watch out for the metal around the edges as users have complained about stubbed toes, so be mindful when you’re doing longer range movements.
This Utah based company has invented a portable barre that can be attached and removed from most all outdoor and indoor doors, making it an incredibly versatile option. It can be easily set up and dismantled within minutes, and it weighs under four pounds, and unlike other freestanding barres, the DorBarre eliminates the need to worry about tipping it over. The only downside is making sure you have access to doorways that provide enough space on either side to properly execute each move, and at $149.50, it’s much more expensive than the Booty Kicker.
Similar to the DorBarre, the Door Barre Fitness was designed to be a lightweight and portable barre option that can be easily mounted on the back of any door. Weighing under 3 pounds and 23 inches wide, it is the lightest weight option and it can be easily packed into a suitcase if you’re one of our frequent travelers. Compared to the DorBarre, it’s slightly more affordable at $110. It features adjustable straps and rubber backing to ensure it can hold all of your weight and can be adjusted to fit any height. Just remember while it can be attached to either side of the door, most prefer to mount it on the side you have to be on to pull it close for extra stability.
Touted for being the first portable freestanding barre, BurnBarre is the smallest and most portable freestanding ballet barre on the market; clocking in at just four pounds. Even though the door barres are smaller and lighter in weight, they aren’t a freestanding barre, so considering the fact it weighs just as much as a door barre is pretty impressive. Nevertheless, these are quite a bit smaller in stature than most other freestanding barres, and since it was built and designed for dancers by dancers, you may want to be cautious putting all of your weight on it. Unfortunately, Covid-19 forced them to close their factories in China and are currently relocating to the United States and hope to be back up and running soon!
These are a great, straightforward freestanding barre option that comes in three different shades, and can be easily moved around your space. That said, you can’t pack it up and travel with it, so if you’re needing a barre you can easily throw in your suitcase, then this definitely isn’t the one for you. That being said, we love that it allows enough space for two people to use it at the same time, and the fact that they come with a lifetime guarantee. The price tag is the most expensive on the list so far at $299, but it is crafted from powder-coated steel, it’s free standing, and it will last you a lifetime — so it may be worth it to you if you can afford it.
If there is any way you can swing it, the best option out there is having a real wall-mounted ballet barre installed in your home. However, we realize this is much easier said than done. In reality, not many people have the luxury to dedicate an entire room towards barre, and not everyone has the time, money, or ability to install it. They need to be mounted and anchored into a wall stud to ensure stability and safety, but if you can manage to pull it off — they are your best option for creating a real barre studio feel and experience.
This traditional single wood bar is made from a high-quality natural ash wood that has been sanded down and treated to remove imperfections and to prevent splinters. It can range in size depending on how large you want it; ranging from 3 to 42 ft in length. The standard 3ft barre runs for $76.37 and the 6ft goes for $113.77. You will have to install it yourself, or hire someone to do it for you — so be sure to factor this into the total cost.
If you’re looking for a wall, floor, or portable barre that can be completely customized, Custom Barres literally does it all. Seeing that it is a completely personalized process, you’ll need to know the specifics regarding the dimensions of your space, and what size you want your barre to be. Giving consideration that it is built around you, the costs can get pretty steep if that is something you’re concerned about. They do offer Barre Kits that come with everything you would need to mount it at home (the barre, brackets, and brace plate) which range from about $300 – $500.
It doesn’t matter if you’re short on time or money, are traveling, or have any other circumstances that make squeezing in a good workout seem impossible — know it can be done in as little as 10 minutes with things you have laying around the house.
And, as any barre fanatic can confirm, it’s 100% possible to practice Britsbarre and establish a studio from your oceanside balcony or hotel room with little more than an internet connection, a woven beach mat, a beach ball, and two water bottles.
Looking forward to pulsing with you!