When we think of what makes a top-notch cardio workout, running, swimming, or cycling might jump to mind. But don’t sleep on cardio barre routines for your aerobic fitness.
Barre classes are typically celebrated as low-impact, strength-based workouts you can do while using little more than a ballet barre (or something like the back of a chair, for the folks at home). By repeating seemingly gentle movements until your muscles shake, a good barre class will sneakily challenge nearly all your muscle groups while taking it easy on your joints. And by upping the tempo, you can keep your heart rate elevated the whole time, and check the box for cardio-focused fitness, too.
No matter the style of workout, the American Heart Association recommends getting in at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least five times a week for cardiovascular conditioning. If a repetitive sport like running or biking isn’t your cup of tea, why not try a cardio barre routine?
Well, we’ve got just the video to recommend: For Well+Good’s Trainer of the Month Club, Nicole Uribarri, founding instructor and program director at Bande, picks up the tempo with a challenging but low-impact 20-minute cardio barre workout you can do from your home. But be warned: You’re gonna need your water bottle for this one—hydrate, hydrate!
Uribarri sets the pace right away with big, smooth movements that get your heart pumping in a series she calls a “plank cardio blast.” This sweat-inducing intro starts off with knees-to-chest and shoulder taps in plank, leading into a push-up flow—and it’s all technically still the warm-up. Next, using a light grip on the bar, Uribarri moves into a high-tempo lunge series targeting the glutes and abs.
While the pace of this workout is no doubt bringing the heat, each move is focused on control as much as tempo. The moves may seem pretty simple, but the intensity comes from the quick transitions and big movements. (Looking at you, plank cardio blast!) Make sure to meet your body’s needs by modifying if you feel pain or aren’t quite there yet.
“I want you to do you, I want you to give me your best—whatever that is today,” Uribarri says. “Remember that this moment is temporary, this is a brief moment of your day to focus on you.”
Barre is no doubt a total body workout, and Uribarri lets this shine in the last 8 minutes with a leg-lift series before finishing it out with our favorite—the plank cardio blast. This is tough, y’all! You’re definitely going to feel that heart pumping.
“Toward the end of the workout, your mind is going to tell you to stop,” Uribarri says. “You don’t need to. Stay in it, say yes! Your body can do a little bit more. Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do. Enjoy these moments and enjoy the fact you have the facility and the resources to move in this way.”