These classic barre exercises can be done anywhere (no actual barre required). Warm up, grab a mat and light hand weights (1 to 5 pounds), and use your smartphone as a timer to get your burn in this week.
With hands underneath shoulders and knees underneath hips, place a light weight behind the back of the knee. Keep core strong and pulse the leg up for 1 minute. Change sides.
Make it easier: Drop the weight. Just lift the shape of the leg up.
Make it harder: Lower the leg all the way down and up to top for 30 seconds then pulse the leg up for 30 seconds. You can also increase the weight.
This classic barre exercise can be done off the barre and on a mat. Bring left leg in line with left hip. Angle the left shin in a comfortable distance. Take the right ankle into the right hand and place right leg behind the hip. Square hips and shoulders off as much as possible. Hold ankle and squeeze glutes on and off for 1 minute. Change sides.
Make it easier: Reduce time to 30 seconds and release the exercise if your hamstrings cramp. Then go back into it when you feel ready.
Make it harder: Release the right ankle but maintain the shape of the leg. Bring right hand forward to brace the position. Squeeze glutes on and off for 30 seconds. Then try to lift the right leg up and down for 30 seconds without letting the right leg travel forward. (This one is tough!)
Lying on side with left forearm under shoulder and left knee bent, square off hips and extend the right leg out and slightly behind right hip. Rest your weight on top of the right thigh. Lower right leg down and up for 30 seconds. Hold at the top, and press leg back an inch for 30 seconds. Change sides.
Make it easier: Drop the weight.
Make it harder: Lift upper body more upright by straightening the left arm a little. You will engage the upper body more, add more oblique action, and feel the burn!
Bring hands under shoulders with fingers turned out and thumbs facing feet. Heels should be under knees. Raise front leg up in a bent knee position and lift hips up. Lower leg down as you lower hips. Do this for 1 minute. Change sides.
Make it easier: Keep ball of the front foot down on the mat with heel raised for more support.
Make it harder: Lower shape of the leg down and up for 30 seconds, then keep knee raised and pulse up for 30 seconds.
Facing up on your mat, bring your hands underneath shoulders with feet underneath knees. Fingers should face out and thumbs should face feet. Extend front leg straight up and press hips up keeping head in line with spine. Pulse hips up for one minute. Change sides.
Make it easier: Keep front ball of the foot down with heel lifted for more support and drive hips up to pulse. (If you’re strong but flexibility is an issue, bend front knee in half so that your knee comes in toward the shoulder.)
Make it harder: Keeping leg extended, lower hips down and up in a big range of motion for 30 seconds. Then pulse up for 30 seconds. Hold the last one for 10 seconds.
In barre, we always stretch immediately after strengthening. Don’t be tempted to skip this part! Not only will your body thank you, but you can also truly increase your level of workout with more flexible muscles.
Take left knee and bend it in so that the inner sole of the left foot touches inner thigh of right leg, which is extended. Rotate upper body toward right leg. Walk upper body down as much as possible so that you feel only slight discomfort or a release in the hamstrings and glutes. Breathe in and out a few deep breaths. Change sides. (Repeat again if you are really into barre!).
Bring right shin on top of left shin and keep a soft flex in the feet. Walk upper body over to the left. Breathe and feel the stretch in the upper hips and lower back. Hold this stretch for a few deep breaths and repeat on the other side.
Make it easier: This can be a deep stretch for beginners and certainly was for me when I first started barre. If your right knee is lifted up high above the left foot, it’s an indication that you should move back to the middle and lean the upper body back. Don’t push farther into your stretch than just that point of slight discomfort.
Make it harder: Keeping shins parallel, bring knees closer together and bring upper body down closer to the floor.
Hooray! You are on your way to a more sculpted and lifted #barrebutt! Comment below after you try it!
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