What are Booty Barre Workouts?

Interview with Founder Tracey Mallett

Barre Workout
Barre Workout. Lily Lawrence / Stringer / Getty Images

Though they share some similar goals such as strength and flexibility, barre workouts are quite distinct from Pilates.One of the barre workouts we're are seeing a lot of in Pilates contexts is the Booty Barre as developed by BASI Pilates instructor and fitness expert Tracey Mallett.

Barre workouts get their name from the ballet barre which is the bar dancers hold onto when they warm up. They are upbeat, fusion style workouts with a lot dance-based movement but they are oriented toward body toning and sculpting rather than art or performance.

 Workouts are usually done to music and include exercises using the bar for stability or stretching and sometimes resistance, as well as exercises done without the barre. 

Barre workouts are popular in the Pilates fusion world. They are making their way into Pilates studios and most barre workout styles claim to incorporate Pilates in their techniques.

Booty Barre Workouts Explained by Founder Tracey Mallett

Booty Barre was one of the pre-conference workshops at the Pilates Method Alliance conference and is also taught at Pilates Anytime, a popular website for subscription Pilates classes online. What is a Booty Barre workout and what does it have to do with Pilates? I asked founder Tracey Mallett to share her thoughts:

Are Booty Barre workouts only about buttock exercises or do they work all body areas?
Booty Barre is a total body workout focused around the abdominals, it's a balanced workout hitting every part of the body also with a strong emphasis on the gluteus and hamstrings.

It's a combination of strength, flexibility and cardiovascular conditioning.

"Barre" sounds like dance. Is Booty Barre a dance routine?
No, it's not a dance routine but a series of exercises that flow together seamlessly and in a controlled way which keeps your heart rate elevated.

Is Booty Barre a lot of ballet?
There is some basic ballet leg work but not entirely focused around ballet, as we have other dance techniques such as jazz and modern dance plus moves that have been taken from martial arts.

Booty Barre is not just for dancers. It is geared towards to the non-dancer who has always wanted to dance!

Is Booty Barre all at the barre?
No, we start with a fusion-fluid warm-up in the center of the room then we progress to arm work which is either done with hand weights (Booty Barre Plus version) or an exercise band (Booty Barre Flex and Flow version). Next is the barre section and then we finish with abs, back, and flexibility on the floor utilizing the barre and also movements without the barre.

What does Booty Barre have to do with Pilates, if anything?
The basic fundamentals of placement and biomechanics is based on Pilates. I've taken classical Pilates moves to the barre and perform them standing utilizing the barre as assistance for balance, but also as a tool to help teach the class awareness by stabilizing the upper shoulder girdle utilizing the barre. One of of our programs, Booty Barre Flex and Flow, has Pilates moves adapted from the reformer or trap table performed with a band at the barre and fused with barre work.

Do you have to be in shape to do it?
Absolutely not. We have all walks of life doing this program and it has been very popular in some studios for the baby boomers as we modify specifically for different demographics.