Meet Me at the Barre: Staying Fit with a Back Injury

Hello friends! In today’s blog post, I’m sharing a little bit about my current fitness journey. If you’ve read my previous post about my experience with Crossfit (here), you probably know that I severely injured my lower back. My injury landed me at an orthopedic doctor, who recommended several weeks of physical therapy. Fortunately for me, physical therapy went extremely well. I was released early to start doing other activities, but I was banned from long-distance running, sprinting, and lifting free weights. Clearly, my Crossfit adventure was over.

My newfound physical restrictions left me stumped. In college, I played soccer. All I’ve ever really done for workouts was run, lift, or take spin classes. I quickly found that sitting on a bike for 55 minutes really irritated my lower back, so spin class was no longer an option.

After talking more with my physical therapist, she recommended taking barre classes. At first, I scoffed at the idea. I liked to lift heavy, run hard, and sweat a lot. Barre seemed like the exact opposite. But, my physical therapist insisted it would help strengthen my core and improve my posture without putting unnecessary strain on my lower back.

I took the plunge, and tried a barre class… and I was quickly eating crow. The workout was hard. A lot harder than I expected. I used 2 pound dumbbells, and my arms were shaking by the end of the workout. My instructor was constantly correcting my posture. Through a majority of the hour long class, my legs were working so hard they were shaking.

Initially, my plan was to try out a few different barre studios in my city (Knoxville, TN). But after two classes, I new Neighborhood Barre was a good fit for me. They have three locations across Knoxville/Farragut, and a pretty good selection of class times as well. Plus, they had a great deal for new clients- two months of unlimited classes for $150. If you are new to boutique-style fitness centers, this might sound high, but I assure you its a steal.

Neighborhood Barre Studio

As of today, I have completed my 10th barre class. I never thought these would be words that I would be typing, but here there are, flashing across my laptop. I’ve been taking barre for almost two weeks now, and I have a completely new appreciation for it. I plan to take 4 or 5 classes a week for two months, and then begin to transition back to my regular lifts as my back recovers.

Although it has only been two weeks, I’ve noticed changes in my body. My arms are looking more defined, and I’ve even moved up to the 3 pound dumbbells in class. My core is getting stronger too- I can get through the ab workout now without stopping. I would say my legs are getting stronger too, but its hard to tell since they still shake uncontrollably through most of the workout 😉

I have really enjoyed my experience with barre classes so far. Every instructor I’ve had has been great, and I love that every single workout is different, even thought they are structured the same way. The variety keeps me on my toes (sometimes literally), and definitely keeps me from getting bored with the workouts.

Waiting for class to start!

I would absolutely recommend barre classes to anyone who has back problems, or who is recovering from an injury. Its a great way to stay active, and prevent further injury in the future. In all reality, I think barre classes could be great for anyone. Its low-impact, so it wouldn’t be too stressful on the joints/muscles of elderly people, or really young people who are still growing. It would also be great cross-training for endurance athletes who can’t risk muscular fatigue with heavy lifting. I think it would even be great for high-level athletes to strengthen their core, hips and back (which are all notoriously weak in soccer players!).

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this update on my fitness journey. Its funny how life seems to be re-routing mine constantly. Does that happen to anyone else?

If you are interested in trying barre in Knoxville, I definitely reccomend trying out Neighborhood Barre. I think they also have a ton of other locations across the country as well. You can find more info at:

Have you ever tried barre? Do you have any other workout recommendations? Comment below if you have any advice to share 🙂

Until next time,


Want to see more? Follow me on instagram: @omg_phd

**please note, this post was not sponsored in any way. I just wanted to share my awesome experience with anyone who might be going through the same injury, or be interested in trying barre for the first time!**

2 thoughts on “Meet Me at the Barre: Staying Fit with a Back Injury

  1. That sounds great! I’m glad you like barre. I’ve been meaning to try it but at the moment, I am enjoying water aerobics. It’s amazing how low impact it is and it is a nice workout. It’d probably be a good cool down workout on one of your rest days.


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