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What is Cardio Barre®?

By K T Solis
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Cardio Barre® is a no-impact exercise program that uses a ballet barre to get exercisers into shape. The exercise regimen is a combination of barre exercises and light weights to help tighten and tone the body. Its series of resistance and toning exercises target the legs, buttocks, arms, and torso. The goal of the program is to transform the body into the long, lean body of a dancer.

Cardio Barre® was invented by Richard Giorla, a dancer and choreographer. He began dancing at an early age, eventually winning a dance scholarship to the Pennsylvania Ballet Company. Later on, he moved to New York where he pursued further dance training, ultimately becoming the lead dancer for Chippendales. After a move to Los Angeles, he began to find work in commercials, movies, TV shows, and stage productions. While working in Los Angeles, he suffered an injury that sidelined his dance career.

As a result of the injury, Giorla embarked on a physical therapy program that incorporated elements of yoga and Pilates. He focused on toning and strengthening his muscles. Soon, Giorla began to teach a class that used the ballet barre as the principal workout equipment. Not completely satisfied with the program, he decided to include more cardio in the class. He eventually designed a program that combined cardiovascular workouts with dance. The result was the successful fitness program called Cardio Barre®.

A Cardio Barre® class lasts about one hour. The class routine typically begins with plies, deep knee bends, and progresses toward a mixture of ballet movements and weight training. The abs section of the workout is the only time exercisers move away from the ballet barre.

The regiment helps to improve balance, coordination, posture, and core strength. It helps people to develop long, lean muscles -- the muscles that a ballet dancer achieves through the day-to-day work within the ballet studio. The movements in the Cardio Barre® program feature continuous fat-burning elements despite the fact that the regimen does not involve jumping or punching.

The ballet barre, a long rail that exercises hold onto, helps to stabilize the person exercising. It provides the exerciser with balance, enabling her to develop a strong core. Using the barre for support allows the exercisers to isolate muscles one at a time, while still permitting them to use the entire body in a coordinated manner.

Hollywood celebrities often attend Cardio Barre® classes because they like the results that following the program achieves. The method has been featured in national magazines such as Shape, People, Self, and Glamour. People who are unable to find a Cardio Barre® studio in their area can purchase the program on DVD or buy Giorla's book Raise the Barre which features the program as well. A background in ballet or dance is not required in order to receive the benefits of this particular exercise regimen. It's important that a person speaks with her doctor before beginning any type of exercise program.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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