I love fusion style workouts. I also love barre. I mean, I really love barre. So when I get a chance, I like to fuse different styles or equipments into my barre workouts to shake things up.
This is a barre workout, recently featured on fitnessmagazine.com, that can be done anywhere you find an exercise ball. This means you won’t have to have a barre or stable surface to hold onto, but this workout will require balance so if you’re unsure, build some strength and flexibility with classic barre workouts (like insert this:).
The ball I am using here is 55cm. I am five feet five inches tall. Sometimes, for a beginner, a bigger ball could be more useful as it will be easier to reach, but it is also a little heavier. I would also like to point out if you are investing in a ball for your home studio or picking one out to use at a gym, sit on the ball and make sure your thigh bones are roughly parallel to the floor.
For this workout, all you need is a ball and a mat. Be sure you are well warmed up because this lower body and core workout is going to hit the muscles deeply. Be ready for that shake and burn when the ball meets barre!
Hold Ball lightly but securely in your palms. Stand with your hips square and left leg slightly soft, take front leg back and behind you to the mat. Point toes.
Inhale and hinge the body over the standing leg as the ball travels toward the floor. Exhale and stand back up. Do this 10 times and hold the last rep.
Make it Easier: Reduce range of motion.
Make it Harder: Keep back leg straight.
Troubleshoot: Don’t move too fast in this exercise which is a common mistake in the beginning. Also, don’t let front hip lift. Stop your movement down if you feel that you must turn out. Lastly, really think about this exercise coming from the hips rocking over the back leg. There should be no movement in the lower back or the front leg. You want to think of how simple a see saw on a playground is. Model that!
Works: back leg’s hamstrings and glutes. Also works the lower back.
Place hands firmly on top of ball. Begin pulsing the front leg up 20 times.
Bend knee in half and slightly turn out the front leg. Pulse up 20 times.
Make it Easier: Bring fingertips to the ball but still firmly press down into the ball so you can elevate your upper body more while still using the ball for balance. Lower your front leg.
Make it Harder: Lightly hold the ball with fingertips barely brushing the ball. Don’t lose your form to do this though. Form is key to getting great results!
Works: Glutes, Hamstrings, and lower back.
Repeat See Saw and both variations of Foldover on the other leg.
Bring ball to the left and take legs out into a wide plie’ position. Make sure your thighs and feet are in alignment. Keep spine neutral and bend knees. Raise right heel. Pulse 20 times.
Switch ball to the right and switch heel lift to the left. Pulse 20 times.
Repeat those moves equally up to three times per side.
Bring ball to center of the last move. Raise both heels making sure more weight is on the big and second toes, less on the pinky toes. Bend knees and pulse the legs in a small range of motion 20 times. Stand up, repeat one or two more times.
Make Wide Second Position Easier: Work Higher. Don’t raise both heels for the last move.
Make it Harder: Work low and change up your range of motion. Make some of the sets small, others a little bigger, others full range, and then hold at the end. Just be even on both sides.
Troubleshoot: Tucking the hips is so common in this exercise. Really think about keeping your hips and spine neutral.
Works: Quads, inner thighs, calves.
On mat, hold ball with bent arms to the side, and take legs out wider than hips. Bring feet toward each other. Make sure that ears are over shoulders, shoulders are over hips, and keep the back totally natural.
Hinge at the hips and knees keeping shoulders over the hips as you straighten the arms and take the ball out. Move up and down slowly 10 times. Last rep, hold at the low point for 10 counts.
Make it Easier: Keep ball in toward chest throughout the move. Reduce range of motion.
Make it Harder: Increase reps to 20 and hold low for 20 counts.
Troubleshoot: The main problem with this move is that people shift chest and shoulders forward because it feels more natural (and it’s easier). Use a mirror and try this move without the ball and make sure you see your shoulders remaining over the hips as you lower. Also check that lower back. Make sure you see the natural curve. When comfortable, add the ball.
Works: Quads mainly.
Face down on mat with hands under shoulders and ball under belly and hips. Tuck back toes under and extend front foot. Keep head in line with spine.
Raise front leg up until it your foot is slightly higher than hips. Feel the glutes! Pulse leg up keeping a slight extension in the back but without letting the back move. Do this 20 times. Change sides. Repeat both sides one or two more times.
Make it Easier: The ball can be adjusted to support your hips more. The size of my ball here allows for my back to move into an extension. I could easily bend my elbows to lower the shoulder carriage to make my spine more neutral which would be a way you could make this a little easier. You can also reduce reps or sets.
Make it Harder: Take your back toes into a light graze on the mat. If you’re really ready for the challenge, place fingertips and thumbs lightly on the mat.
Troubleshoot: Don’t move through the back here. Think of your leg moving inside your pelvis.
Works: Glutes and lower and middle back muscles.
Lying face up, hold the ball above chest and bring legs up to reach the ball. Keep the lower back totally neutral. (I.E., don’t press your spine into the mat and don’t let your back arch off the mat. The space in your lower back should be small, like your palm could fit under. No less; no more).
Inhale and raise ball above your head as you lower legs toward mat without letting the back change.
Exhale, bring ball back to legs. Again nothing changes in lower back.
Repeat this for 10 slow breaths.
Make it Easier: Keep ball above the shoulders and don’t move the arms. Also, stop the legs lowering if you feel your back arching off the mat.
Make it Harder: Try holding the wide part of this move (where shoulders go above and legs go below) for a couple of seconds, then lift back up. Increase reps to 20.
Troubleshoot: The two main issues with this exercise are mind body connection and flexibility. You need to find your place in space with this move and demand your back stay stable and neutral. You might want to reduce your range of motion to only a couple of inches and then increase as you get stronger. Also, if you’re flexibility is challenged, especially hamstrings or shoulder joints, you will need to adjust for this. For hamstrings, bend knees. For shoulders, keep arms above shoulders.
Works: Abs and lower back.
Bring ball underneath the feet with legs zipped up. Arms should be out to side on a nice solid angle to create stability. Raise hips as you press heels and lower calves into the ball. Inhale and lower hips. Exhale and lift hips back up. Repeat 10 times. Hold last rep for 10 counts.
Make it Easier: Bring ball a little closer to your hips, about mid calf. Reduce reps.
Make it Harder: Bring arms up and together above the shoulders for an added balance challenge.
Troubleshoot: Do not lift hips so high that you are on your neck. Keep the top of the move broad across your upper back.
Works: Lower back and glutes.
Kneel on your mat with square hips which are underneath shoulders. Place ball in back hand. Straighten front let and flex front foot. Keeping spine totally neutral, hinge forward at the hips. Hold for a few deep breaths. Lift up, repeat. Change sides.
Troubleshoot: Most common mistake in this stretch is that people will round their backs. Don’t do it! Hinge Hinge Hinge! If this stretch is too hard and you want to bend your knee, bring the ball back toward hips and stay more upright. You can also release the flex in the foot.
Stretches: Entire back of the leg.
Holding ball for support, bring front leg forward. Keep front knee above the heel. Straighten the back leg as much as you can. Keep hips square. Hold for a few deep breaths. Come out of it, repeat. Change sides.
Troubleshoot: If you feel this is too hard, place back knee down and hinge your torso forward.
Stretches: Hip flexors and quads. You might also feel the bent knees hamstrings if you’re not as flexible there.
Sitting on mat, bring right leg on top of left, in a shin on shin position. This position with the legs may be enough for you. If you can, take the ball in the hands and roll out and to the right. Really reach through the left arm. Hold for. Few deep breaths. Lift up, repeat. Change sides.
Troubleshoot: Stay totally upright if your knees are lifting, especially the one on top, or if you feel any tension in your knees.
Stretches: Glutes and with the reach on the ball, the lower and outer back muscles.
I know you will be burning after this workout! Comment below to let me know what you think!
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