A woman doing floor barre
Ballet Barre

What is floor barre fitness? Its awesome benefits!

Are you injured or have bad knees? If you are looking for a workout routine that will not compromise your joints or you simply wish to get back in shape safely, then floor barre is the perfect workout for you. But not only. It is beneficial for everyone and here are the reasons why.

What is floor barre?

As its name mentions it, “floor barre” is a barre fitness workout done on the floor. If you read my article “what is ballet barre fitness?”, you discover that it is inspired by ballet. It is a mix of Pilates, yoga, strength training and ballet moves. Like Barre fitness, I found it very interesting that this technique emerged not a very long time ago (in the 1950s). I mention this because “ballet floor which is basically a ballet workout on the floor, is very beneficial to dancers to perfect their technique. Therefore, I would have thought it already existed since the beginning of ballet. At least since the 17th century when ballet technique started to get more and more complex?!

It’s in 1953 that Boris Kniaseff, a French dancer and master of ballet with Russian origins, founded the “barre au sol” (French for floor barre) method. He had a problem: he couldn’t fix barres on the walls of the building he purchased to start his ballet school in Switzerland. It was classified as “historic”. He came up with the idea to put together a series of adapted ballet moves that could be performed on the floor.

Very soon after, in the 1960s, others started to develop their own certified technique. The Zena Rommett floor barre and The Maria Fay technique. These methods were tailored mainly for dancers. Throughout the years the technique evolved and became very popular in the fitness world in general. Today, Pilates, yoga and strength training associated with basic ballet moves, makes floor barre conditionning a complete body workout of its own.

Isometrics: strengthen key muscles

A woman doing a plank isometric exercise.

Working out on the floor forces you to target muscles you’re supposed to develop. You are not distracted by having to hold a barre, keeping your balance or exhausting yourself jumping around.

In a floor barre workout, you build toned lean muscles when doing isometric exercises. The focus remains only on muscles you are working on by tightening them using equal forces against each other. It is called isometric muscle movement. Holding a pose such as a plank is an isometric exercise which involves the static contraction of muscles while there is no movement of the joints. Yoga poses are isometric exercises. Such isometric holds increase the ability to sustain a position for a specific amount of time. In ballet, dancers often have to hold still in certain positions like in an arabesque or attitude. Isometric exercises target these key muscles to maintain such positions.

You may not realize how effective isometrics are because you are not breaking a big sweat but tensing up your muscles really builds both physical and mental endurance.

Isometric exercises can help you:

  • lose weight and take off a few inches from your waist.
  • build serious overall strength.
  • decrease high blood pressure.

And all this without moving at all!

Corrects your posture

Lying on the floor and sitting down force you to correct your alignment and perform the exercises properly. It compels you to accurately position yourself to the lining of the floor. It makes it impossible to do the steps incorrectly. Proper alignment in ballet is very important and ballet floor barre exercises help dancers find their positions, better their natural turnouts and improve their flexibility.

Relieves stress on joints

Low impact exercises cause less strain on your knees, hips and ankle joints. Since you don’t have to press into the floor, it relieves the tension off your joints. You are unlikely going to hurt your ankles or knee joints while performing exercises on the ground. Floor barre exercises are the safest when you are injured or suffering from a bad hip or weak knees. You can fully extend your legs without hurting your joints. You don’t have to worry about popping your knee out or breaking your ankle! It is also a perfect alternative for gently getting back in shape after long breaks or injuries.


Increases your flexibility A woman doing floor barre fitness on a yoga mat.

Stretches are also part of a floor barre workout routine. Stretching makes you more flexible, improves your mobility and increases your range of motion. As we age, our muscles can get stiff so it is essential to stretch our entire body to be able to move easily!

Strengthens the core

As mentioned earlier, laying on your back constrains you to maintain a good posture therefore your center of balance is placed as it should be. It enables you to give extra attention to your core muscles and legs. It is a great way to maintain core, hip and foot control without carrying your whole body weight.

Stretches your brain: coordination

Ballet floor barre really makes you train your brain and thus develops coordination. Your brain has to send different instructions to separate body parts. You learn how to coordinate the movements of the arms with those of your legs. For instance, it demands a lot of concentration when having to move your arm “inward” while your leg performs an “outward” movement.

Try it!

Here’s the fitness mat I use.

BalanceFrom GoYoga All-Purpose 1/2-Inch Extra Thick High Density Anti-Tear Exercise Yoga Mat with Carrying Strap

I love exercising on the floor because, freed from my body weight, it awakens senses that I don’t feel when I workout standing up! I can really focus on my breathing and I feel more relaxed while still toning up my whole body and getting more flexible.

However, floor barre can get very challenging especially when doing isometric exercises. Breathing deeply is very important to efficiently oxygen the muscles.

If you have any questions or thoughts on the subject, please leave your comments below. I will be very happy to help in anyway!

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  1. This technique looks awesome! One of my friends broke had a stretched Achilles tendon and couldn’t do any workout for a long time and even after that she’s been afraid of running, biking and such activities but she’s very concerned about her weight and wants to have a nice figure. I have to send her link to your website, that’s exactly what she needs, in my opinion.
    To me, it seems a little bit like yoga combined with ballet, is it not?
    I like the fact it corrects your posture as well.

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Yes there is a bit of yoga and Pilates. It is a great workout to do when you injured so your friend would love it! Thank you!!

      1. I think so! She says yoga is too relaxing for her 🙂 This looks more energetic so I think it would be good for her.

        1. Anne-Caroline says:

          Yes Lenka, it is more energetic. It is a mix of Yoga and basic ballet moves so it is a complete workout! Thanks for your great comments!! 😉

  2. Henderson says:

    You know, this is a technique that everyone will enjoy because of the fact that most of the floor exercises really work well. I like the fact that you talk about the benefits of floor Barre exercises. This is good a great method to perform when injured because you don’t put any weight on your joints. Thanks.

  3. Thanks for this great post on floor barre fitness. I love doing my exercises on the floor because it helps in strengthening all the joints in my body, and sometimes if I don’t workout, I ‘ll just experience sudden muscle pulls,  and when i exercise in the morning, i feel fine throughout the day. Thank you for this post 

  4. Wow, there are so many benefits to doing this very cool workouts. I really admire this post that you have written here about the floor barre. It gives some very good information about it all. I must say that I am more of the weight lifting and suplextrainer. I will like to try to do this floor exercise that you have mentioned here.

  5. Antonio says:

    Hi Anne-Caroline

    I am too surprised that it took such a long time for these exercises to be developed for ballerinas. It does really show that there is always room for improvements and that ballerinas are no different. The exercises look good for a wide range of people, as long as you can get up and down from a floor, which can be difficult for the elderly. Exercises are so important to our well-being and I can see how this form of exercise  can strengthen our muscles and joints.

    How long do you think you should do floor barre exercises for each day?



    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Thank you for your comment! You can train 10-20 minutes a day.

  6. Thank you for amazing tips …literally very beneficial for health.

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Exactly!! Many thanks for your comment! So happy you enjoyed it!

  7. Exercising should be incorporated into our everyday routine. It helps boost our immune system. Exercise a few minutes a day will definitely have a good impact on our health. Thank you for introducing me to Floor barre fitness, it is less stressful on the ankle and knees. You can enjoy some nice relaxing music during floor barre fitness.

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Yes floor barre fitness is a great alternative to those who have ankle and knees problems! I find floor barre fitness relaxing as well. Thank you Diana for your comment!

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