Portable or Mounted Barres? What’s the Difference?
There’s no denying that the barre fitness technique has made its way out of the ballet and boutique barre studios and onto the group fitness schedules of gyms and health clubs across the country. But what would a barre class be without the most important prop: the ballet barre? There are multitudes of companies that manufacture barres in all different sizes, materials and colors. But when it really comes down to it there are two types of barres to consider: portable barres or mounted barres.
Read through the characteristics of both and see what type is best for your facility.
We’re starting here because let’s face it, sometimes it just comes down to budget. Yes, portable barres are less expensive. To put it into perspective, if you’re looking to have enough barre space to accommodate 20 members, mounted barres can cost around $2,500 to $3,000 (not including installation), whereas portable barres run $600 to $750. These numbers of course are an average, as you can find more expensive and more cost-efficient options.
Mounted barres require the skills of a licensed contractor and the stability of the walls or floors. Not all materials are suited to have brackets adhered to them, which can then bear the load of multiple people pulling all of their bodyweight against it (think mirrored walls). Most portable barres are intuitive enough for anyone to put together without direction and can be placed anywhere that has the space for them.
Portable barres work best for barre techniques where the main focus is balance and stability. Mounted barres not only aid in balance and stability, but strength and cardio as well. Many barre exercises rely on the bodyweight being pushed into the barre or pulled away from the barre. Without the security of the barres being mounted, the instructor has limitations on what can be taught.
There’s nothing like having equipment that doesn’t need its own storage unit or has to be put away after class. Wall mounted barres are typically 5-inches to 6-inches away from the wall — not a significant impact on the usable space in a group fitness room. Portable barres are certainly a prop that need a designated place to store and require a little extra clean-up duty following class.
When picking the type of barre for your facility, think long term. Portable barres are quicker to implement and more cost effective, but the value mounted barres bring overtime is what sets the two products apart.
Stephanie Lyons is the president and lead master trainer for Barre Intensity. For more information call 248-219-1164 or visit www.barreintensity.com.