Five things you will get used to saying as a Barre Attack - Barre Instructor

Every barre instructor has their own style. Yes, our Barre Attack training is standardised to maintain the highest possible quality, but we recognise that every barre teacher brings their own unique “voice” to a barre class.

You’ll know this from your own barre training – the teachers who promise there’s only eight counts left, only to leave you gasping after three more sets, the teacher who never lets you get away with hanging on to the barre for dear life when your glutes feel like they are on fire, the teacher who reassures you that they know what you’re going through because they’ve been there themselves. Attentive, motivating, challenging – you’ll find the right balance to suit your barre teaching style and to suit each class and set of students you take.

But there are a few things that any regular barre student will know they are likely to hear in every class and, if you’re a budding barre instructor, then don’t be surprised if you hear yourself saying them too!

“Bum down, abs in, hands under shoulders!”

Whether you’re executing the perfect static plank or getting set up for a tough sliding disc set or a core climber/Brazilian combo, positioning is crucial. When the pressure is on, the pace is up and the music is pumping, it’s easy to lose your form. As a barre teacher, you’ll no doubt see all kinds of plank positions that make you shudder but here are three of the most common bad plank culprits to keep an eye out for – in yourself and in your students:

  • Bum in the air. Keep that butt down – it’s plank, people, not a pyramid!
  • Slack abs. Suck those abs in. This is one of the great core strengthening exercises of all time, so use them to keep you rock solid.
  • Hands all over the place. Hands should be stacked directly under the shoulders for proper execution of a high plank. Spread the fingers out and use them to stay steady.

“No rounded shoulders!”

When the going gets tough in Barre Attack, the tough maintain their posture. Rounded shoulders are a common sign of fatigue but will only cause pain in the long run and undermine the effectiveness of the exercise. As in Pilates, posture is an essential element of nailing the Barre Attack experience.

“Use control and stop swinging”

Again, the pace and intensity of a Barre Attack class will see many students start to use a swinging momentum to get through a tough exercise. It’s a big no-no and as a barre instructor you’ll need to be on the look out for it. As students get tired and sore, the body naturally looks for short cuts to make it easier, but an uncontrolled swinging motion can wreak havoc on the body – especially the lower back and the shoulders. Movements must be controlled and precise, not matter how fast they are being done.

“Elbows in, elbows in!”

Whether it’s a round of waiter arms, a set of tricep extensions, or a low row, keeping the elbows glued to your sides is how to get the most out of the exercise. Again, students will tend to let their elbows creep out because it feels like a bigger movement is a more effective movement (plus, it feels easier!) but you’ll know from your barre training that small and precise is key when it comes to these shoulder and arm strengthening exercises.


So simple but so important! When the ache sets in, students can tend to forget to breathe – as if holding their breath will make the set go faster. Barre instructors will know from their Pilates training that mindful breathing is essential not only to getting a particular exercise right, but to being able to maintain or hold when things get really tough. A focus on breathing can help to refine form and bring attention back to the body. It might be the most obvious instruction in the world, but “Breathe! Remember to breathe!” can be one of the most valuable and useful things a student can hear from their barre instructor.