I have been a fan of varying my strengthening and toning workouts with pilates, yoga, and barre style classes for a number of years now. These types of exercises can help you with core strength and, by focusing on particular areas of your body, allow you to work toward toning that creates a lean physique. I like to add these routines them to my cardio exercises, after a run or cycling if I am doing them on my own. They are also great in group class environments that are typically fun and upbeat. Instructors are there to help you with alignment and focus, and usually to encourage you to go a little bit more than you might push yourself on your own. I have recently attended more barre classes because I like the combination of techniques, the pace of the classes, and the atmosphere they create. Many combine parts that are familiar from yoga and pilates and they often use props such as weights, circles, balls, and straps. A basic barre class starts with a bit of a standing warmup that will focus on just moving your arms and legs with low impact movements. Then they typically have sections such as thighs, glutes, arms, and abs. They tend to be challenging on the smaller muscle groups that would not be accessed in a regular cardio routine or weight lifting sequence. Most classes encourage form and alignment with more reps rather, than lifting heavier weights. And these classes aren’t just for women, though the majority of them have mostly women in them, they can be of benefit to everyone. Some places even have classes specifically just for men. Barre classes are not dance classes, or ballet classes, they are great complimentary workouts that will enable you to focus on abdominal, arm, and leg toning. Below are links to a few of my favorite barre techniques for more information.