By now you have likely heard of the latest buzz word in exercise, Barre. Maybe you have been a bit intimidated to look into this workout because it conjures up images of ballerinas in tutus prancing gracefully around a studio and leaping with perfectly pointed toes. Well, it’s time to take a closer look at this fancy foot phenomenon and realize that not only can anyone participate in this muscle sculpting ballet-inspired craze, but you burn mega calories while at it!
Brittany Rebolledo, owner of SoWal Pilates in Florida who trained at the renowned Body Arts and Science International in Santa Barbara, California, walked us through these 12 steps to get your heart pumping and fat burning with the Barre method.
Think Outside The Barre: You don’t need to be in a fancy studio to complete Barre exercises. While it’s nice to have the guidance of a Barre trained instructor, you can use virtually anywhere to perform these exercises – a rail at the park, a bench, your stroller handle, the back of your couch. The possibilities are endless.
First Things First: Understand first position, which is the foundation for many Barre moves. First position consists of standing with your heels together and toes apart. Starting to feel like a ballerina already, aren’t you?
Rolling Through The Feet: Starting in 1st position, bend your knees, then rise up onto your toes, straighten your knees, and then lower the heels as you roll through your foot. Do this 8-10x then reverse, rising on your heels first. Expert tip: Pull in and up in your abdominals and keep your shoulders directly over your hips and feet.
Plies: Start in 1st position on your toes (as if you are wearing a pair of high heels). Keeping your heels clicked together and bend and straighten your knees. Go as low as you can while maintaining good body alignment. Repeat 8-16x.
Booty Hips: Starting in 1st position on your toes, form a diamond shape with your legs. From this position, keep your legs still and shake your hips from side to side. Use your obliques to isolate the movement. Start slow and then pick up the pace! Once you have the hang of it you could travel down for 4 counts and then up to the diamond for 4 counts. Repeat 8-12x. Expert Tips: Focus on using your oblique and abdominal muscles and keep shoulders over hips.
Grand Battement: Starting in 1st position, sweep your leg in front of you for a big kick staying lifted in your torso. Let your leg swing to create flexibility and then pull the kicking leg back to 1st position. Repeat 8-16x then change legs. Expert Tips: Use your core to stay lifted in your torso and brush the floor away from you when you kick.
Knee Repeater: Start with your left knee bent (knee over ankle) and right leg reaching out long behind you. Reach the right arm to the wall in front of you and then pull the right knee and elbow into each other. Keep the pace fast and pull in 10x. Get a little lower with the left leg and repeat another 10x. Get even lower and repeat 10x! Then change sides. Expert Tips: Keep front knee completely still while the back leg is moving and pull your stomach away from your thigh.
Side Leg lifts: Start with left forearm on the barre and reach the right arm and leg out to the side. Your standing leg is in a turnout and your lifted leg is rolling inward. Do small little lifts of the right leg. Keep the leg as high up as you can! Repeat 10-16x. Repeat with other leg. Expert Tips: Roll the lifted leg into internal rotation, keep your chest open, and lift out of your standing leg.
Standing Side Kicks: Start in position described above with the free hand behind the head. Keep the lifted leg up as if you are gliding it along a table top. Kick front and then kick long to the back. Try not to let the leg drop. Expert Tips: Be as still as possible in the torso. Do not sink into the bottom shoulder, instead lift out of it. Squeeze your booty as the leg kicks behind you.
Double Leg Stretch: Start down on the floor on your back. Curl your head and chest off the floor while your legs are in a table top position. Hold above your knees to start. Then stretch your arms out long by your ears and reach your legs away form you at a 45-degree angle. Circle the arms in as you pull your knees back into your chest. Repeat 10x. Expert Tips: Do not fall back in your curl as you reach your arms and legs out. Pull the stomach in, do not let it push out!
Swimming: Lying on your belly with arms extended out in front of you, lift your arms and legs off the floor. Lift your chest so that you are extending your upper spine. Flutter the arms and legs as if you were swimming fast! Repeat 10x. Expert Tips: Do not push your stomach into the floor, try to keep it pulled in. Make sure you are breathing!
Figure 4 Stretch: Lying on your back, bring one leg to tabletop and cross the other ankle over the knee. Weave the hands behind the tabletop leg to bring the legs in for a stretch. Expert Tips: Resist the stretch by pushing away with the knee closest to you and pulling in with the table top leg, creating a push-pull feeling in the stretch. On your exhale, try to sink deeper into the stretch.