5 barre exercises you can try at home
First there was Pilates, then there was Barre Pilates, and now there’s Barre Attack? If you can’t keep up with the constant onslaught of new fitness trends and classes to try, we chatted to Renee Scott, former professional ballet dancer and founder of Barre Attack, to help clear this one up for you.
“Barre Attack is a low impact, high intensity workout that combines standing Pilates work, short cardio bursts and dance moves,” explains Renee (pictured below).
“It differs from other Barre classes because it’s an intense workout that will make you sweat and tone your body up. There are no real relaxation or yoga elements to this class, which you will find in many of the others.”
Here, Renee has put together a tough little Barre Attack circuit you can do at home. Aim for 3-4 rounds.
1) Second position grand plié on a rise
Targets: thighs, pelvic floor, glutes
Start position: Legs turned out and a little over hip width apart, one hand holding onto a chair or table to stabilise your body. Heels are lifted off the floor and legs are lengthening, stretching the torso up to the ceiling.
Action: Bend the knees and allow the legs to turn out so they are following the toes out away from the body, torso should remain upright as you slowly bend the knees. Feel like you have an imaginary wall in front and behind the body and the torso is sliding up and down the wall.
Keep the tracking of the knees over the toes and go down low enough for the crouch line to come down in line with the knees. Keep your ‘high heels on’ as you come down in the pile and lift back up.
If you are feeling any pain through the knees, make the movement a shallow bend of the knees. Add a sneaky 20 pulses at the end in a mid-range level of the plié.
Try: 10-15 reps.
2) Frogs with a jump or reach
Targets: Legs, cardio
Start position: Legs are out in a wide second position but this time we start with the heels pressing into the floor.
Action: Bend the knees and stick the bottom out and back as you reach down and touch the floor in-between the feet (if you have a ball you can use this as well). Squeeze the bottom and inner thighs as you return to an upright position, reaching the arms up to the ceiling. Make sure the legs are working, not the back, look forward with the eyeline as you tap and touch the floor (like a frog about to leap). As you reach up to the ceiling you can add a rise or a jump to advance the movement. Add jumps at the top of each (if comfortable with the movement and jumping).
Try: 20 reps.
Targets: Core, arms, abs
Start position: Come down into a four-point kneeling position so that your hands are under the shoulders and knees are under the hips. Your back should be horizontal to the floor like a table top, with a gentle natural arch in the lower spine.
Action: Lift the knees an inch off the floor. Keep the spine horizontal to the floor and hold for 30 seconds. Hold the last rep up as long as you can keep the tummy active and without losing your form.
Try: 10 reps of 30 seconds.
4) Toe taps in arabesque
Targets: Glutes, legs
Start position: Standing on one leg with a bent knee and parallel foot, the back leg is stretched behind the body and in line with the hip. Slightly rotate the toes and thigh out on the back leg, drawing the big toe to the floor and the little toe up to the ceiling. Pitch the upper body forward so the elbows are leaning on the top of a chair or table, taking any pressure out of the lower back.
Action: Stretch and lengthen the back leg and lift it off the floor to hip height, keep the turn out of the leg so you can feel it in the top of the bottom crease as you lift the leg. Lower, tap the floor and repeat. On the last rep, lengthen the leg a little longer and hold for 30 seconds.
You will feel the activation in the standing leg under the bottom, at the top of the hamstring and through the bottom of the moving leg. If you feel pain, stop and reset.
Try: 20 reps each leg.
5) Stepping burpees with an optional jump
Targets: Whole body
Starting position: Reach the arms above the head in a standing position, feet together.
Action: Bend the knees and pitch forward placing the hands down either side of the feet then stepping out into a full plank position, step back in and scoop up through the stomach back up to the start position. Make sure when you find the plank position you pause for a small moment. Add a push up in the plank or a jump at the top of the movement if you wish to work a little harder.
Try: 20 reps
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