Women Who Inspire Us: Burr Leonard

five students at the bar in a barre class

As we strive to get more exercise this year, we're inspired by Burr Leonard. A lover of dance, Leonard created The Bar Method. The method is one of the earliest and safest barre workouts, a fun and challenging exercise style that incorporates isometric holds using body weight.

Leonard decided to create the exercise style when she was taking classes in the Lotte Berk Method, exercises based on ballet moves that focused on building core stability. She was thrilled with her personal results, but realized that many of the exercises weren't safe for people of all physical abilities.

Leonard worked closely with a team of physical therapists to develop moves and holds that were safer, better at targeting muscles instead of joints, and meant specifically for women. This is The Bar Method we know today. She and a former partner opened their first exercise studio in 2001, and Leonard subsequently helped women entrepreneurs open franchises.

There are now more than 100 Bar Method studies throughout the United States and Canada, along with DVDs and online videos. Instructors are carefully trained and re-certify annually, which helps ensure the method is one of the safest barre workouts around, even for beginners or those with physical limitations and injuries.