Total-Body Barre Workout

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Editor's note: This post was written by Suzanne Bowen for Fitfluential and published with permission by Skinny Mom. This total-body workout will get you sore in the best way possible!


This Spring Fever Total Body Barre Workout can be done anywhere you have a ledge or some support for balance. You’ll need a mat, light hand weights (I am using two pounds) and a stopwatch or stopwatch app on your smartphone.

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Warm up for five minutes before beginning this routine.

1. UP AND BACK WITH ARM SCULPT

Holding onto something sturdy for balance with light weight in the right hand, extend right leg forward keeping left knee soft and hips square. Take right arm straight back behind rib cage as you feel triceps contract. This is the start move.

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On inhale, hinge at the hips, bend right leg and move torso to face down as you reach right leg back straight, right arm forward. Exhale and return to start move. Do this one minute.

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Make it easier: Decrease range of motion, hand weight size, or duration.

Make it harder: Increase to 90 seconds and with each move pause and pulse arm and leg 10 times.

Troubleshoot: Don’t lock out the standing knee. Make sure the leg that is moving is straight. When you hinge to move the leg back behind, bend knee and then press it back.

Works: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, shoulders, triceps

2. FOLDOVER WITH REAR SHOULDER LIFT

From the last rep of Up and Back above, hold that hinge. Bend elbow and face palm to the back, keeping arm in line with shoulder. Bend right knee and point toes. Lift left heel. Pulse right knee and elbow up in small tiny moves for one minute.

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Make it easier: Drop left heel down, drop off weight and stay more upright.

Make it harder: Hinge more parallel to the floor, dip down a little lower in left knee, and increase duration to 90 seconds.

Troubleshoot: Keep hips square, left knee soft, and core tight so you don’t move lower back at all.

Works: Glutes, hamstrings, calves, rear deltoid, lower back

3. WIDE SECOND MIDDLE SHOULDER LIFT

Holding support with left hand and weight in right arm (which is down in front of hips), step out into a wide plié position and raise heels up.

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Stand up, keeping heels up, and raise right arm to shoulder height. Move down and up slowly within this full range of motion. Repeat this for 60 seconds.

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Make it easier: Keep heels down, decrease duration.

Make it harder: At the end of the 60 seconds, keep arm lifted, bend knees to lowest point, and pulse for 30 more seconds.

Troubleshoot: Make sure knees and feet are tracking by making sure not to turn feet out too much. With heels up, make sure the weight is on the big and second toes and less on the pinky toes. Keep heels below knees.

Works: Quads, inner thighs, calves, middle deltoids

Repeat the first three exercises on the other side.

4. TABLETOP BENT KNEE LIFT

On mat, bring hands below shoulders and knees underneath hips. Place weight behind the front knee, securing it so it doesn’t fall out. Tuck back toes under and lift knee off mat as you raise front shape of leg up. Keep core tight and pulse front leg up for 60 seconds.

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Make it easier: Keep back knee down on the mat and/or do not use weight behind the knee.

Make it harder: Move front knee in a full range of motion (all the way down and all the way back up) for 30 seconds, then pulse at the top for 30 seconds.

Works: Shoulders, arms, chest, glutes, hamstrings, quads, abs lower back.

Troubleshoot: Keep everything in the upper body lifted and engaged. Do not let neck or lower back sag. Core should be lifted so movement is not in the lower back but in the leg lifting.

Repeat on the other side.

5. SINGLE STRAIGHT LEG STRETCH

Lie face up on mat and draw legs up, keeping them as straight as possible, and feel abs lift. Raise shoulder carriage and keep head in line with spine, gaze up and ahead. Inhale. On exhale, lower front leg down and back leg to chest keeping legs straight. Inhale and on exhale change legs. Repeat for one minute.

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Make it easier: Lower shoulder carriage and head down to the mat. Keep knees soft or slightly bent and decrease range of motion of the legs.

Make it harder: Speed up the leg motions while maintaining control and stability through the core.

Troubleshoot: This move requires flexibility in the hamstrings (i.e., back of the legs) and it also requires strength in the abdominal muscles. If you feel strain in your neck, try pulling in the abs more. If your neck is still straining, lower head and shoulders down to the mat but stay very connected to your core. Once you build the strength, attempt to lift the upper torso and head back up. Also, try not to tuck chin to chest but instead keep head in line with spine.

Works: Abdominal wall, hip flexors. Stretches hamstrings.

6. MERMAID BRIDGE WITH CHEST LIFT

Lying face up on mat, bring knees together and feet apart, keeping feet close to hips. Lift heels. Holding hand weights, bring arms straight above chest with palms facing knees. Inhale.

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On exhale, press hips up and lower arms down to the sides of shoulders. Inhale as you lower hips and lift arms. Repeat this move for one minute.

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Make it easier: Rather than creating the mermaid shape with legs, keep legs parallel and hips distance and keep heels down.

Make it harder: At the end of the minute, keep hips up and lower and lift the arms for an additional 3o seconds.

Troubleshoot: It’s tempting to lift the lower body so high that the upper back begins to leave the mat. Avoid this by keeping upper back in contact with the mat. While it will move some, you don’t want to have the pressure on your neck. Also, when you’re lifting your heels to create the mermaid shape, make sure not to turn your ankles out too much. In barre exercises, always consider alignment.

Works: Chest, lower back, inner thighs, glutes