What is the floor bar?

Inspired by the warm-up exercises found in dance classes, this discipline includes sheathing exercises, stretching and flexibility, muscle building and toning...

Where does the floor bar come from?

Floor barre is a ballet-inspired workout that can help dancers improve their strength and flexibility. This activity uses your own body weight as resistance to help tone your muscles and build endurance. In addition, the slow, controlled movements of the barre can help improve your balance and coordination.

Barre au sol is halfway between dance, yoga and pilates. It combines small isometric movements, usually performed while lying on the floor, to tone muscles, improve flexibility and build muscle strength. The beauty of barre is that it can be practiced by anyone, regardless of your level.

Boris Kniaseff: the inventor of the floor bar

The barre au sol is a method initiated by Mr. Boris Kniaseff, a French ballet master of Russian origin. He was not allowed to attach bars to the walls of his ballet academy in Geneva. This prohibition will be at the origin of the barre au sol. Indeed, the pedagogue Boris Kniaseff decided to transpose the exercises of the barre from his classical dance class to the floor. 

Today, this discipline is taught in many dance schools. It includes pliés, dégagés, battements and port de bras, which can be done on the back, on the stomach or even sitting. In this way, the body is freed from the constraint that gravity can exert on the body in standing position.

The evolution of the discipline

The floor bar has evolved in recent years since there is the contemporary or Jazz floor bar which offers moments of relaxation, breathing exercises and anchoring in the ground as well as other exercises for muscle strengthening. Of course, there is also the classic barre which corresponds to the one developed by Boris Kniaseff. 

How does a barre class work?

The barre au sol, also known as the barre à terre, is a complementary activity to dance and is inspired by the work done at the barre in classical dance. Contrary to its name, the muscular strengthening and stretching exercises that are done during the classes are done without the barre. 

During a floor barre session, you will find warm-up exercises from classical dance that are re-adapted to be performed on the floor: lying down or sitting. Indeed, the fact of executing the exercises on the ground allows you to become aware of your body, of your support points... but also of not having to control gravity. 

The lying down position also allows to protect the back while working on the musculature, the flexibility and the work on the axis of the body. Even if the barre au sol is inspired by the warm-up exercises of classical dance, there are nowadays contemporary or jazz barre à terre classes which borrow technical elements from these dances. 

During a session, you will be able to strengthen your muscles, especially the deep muscles, work on the alignment of your spine, make yourself more flexible but also relax and work on anchoring yourself to the ground. 

The benefits of the floor bar:

The floor bar is an activity that allows you to gain flexibility but also muscle tone. This activity is recommended for its benefits on the back, in particular thanks to the work of the alignment and the self-expansion of the spine. Moreover, it relieves lower back pain and allows you to work the deep muscles of the pelvis and the back. 

Benefits on the body axis but not only! 

The floor bar is an excellent way to strengthen the lower abdomen, the abdominal muscles and also the legs. As the sessions progress, the legs will become more muscular in a homogeneous way. The exercises involve the front, back, inside and outside of the legs. 

In addition to firming them up, the barre allows you to work on your flexibility from the hips to the feet. Dancer or not, barre is an activity that can be practiced by everyone. It requires no prior knowledge of classical dance. 

The realization of the exercises on the ground facilitates the work while preserving the body from the constraint of gravity. Everyone can progress at their own pace according to their physical abilities and take full advantage of the benefits of this discipline on the body.  

Working on flexibility, musculature and body posture, all with gentleness, and control of movement, is what you want for your body? 

Dancer or not, come and try the floor bar! 

The Wellness expert for Oktofit :



I have been dancing since I was 4 years old, I followed the teacher's course at Studio Harmonic in Paris and I currently teach in the East of France.