Looking for a new way to workout? Learn the fluidity and grace of basic barre exercises. They will firm, tone and tighten without creating bulk. Barre exercises combine dance aesthetics with the beauty of ballet. A half-hour to hour barre workout will leave you strong and sculpted. The graceful movements eliminate impact to joints, creating graceful positions that stretch and lengthen muscles. With regular barre exercise, muscle groups become strong and lean.
Barre exercise is not a fitness fad. According to Labarrestudio.com, “barre classes have been helping men and women alike, tone, lift, and tighten for decades. This method of exercise is far from new. In fact, it all started over 50 years ago, when in 1959 Lotte Berk opened up The Lotte Berk Method on Manchester Street in London. After suffering a back injury, Lotte Berk got the idea combining her ballet barre training with rehabilitative therapy, and thus The Lotte Berk Method was born. In 1971 the method was introduced to the United States when Lydia Bach, one of Lotte’s students, opened The Lotte Berk Method in Manhattan.”
Today, barre fitness is known all over the world. There is an amazing history, proven success and results to barre exercise. Try these six basic barre exercises you can do at home.
1. Basic Barre Squat
With both hands on the back of a chair, stand with your feet together and parallel. Bend your knees into a deep squat (plié) by lowering hips. With knees touching, squeeze inner thighs together. Keeping knees bent, lift up halfway, and then return to plié position. Repeat 10-12 times.
2. Fist Position Leg Lifts
Barre floor exercises are effective and can be challenging. This one begins on your back, lying on the floor with your hands at your sides. Raise your feet in the air with your torso and legs at a 90 degree angle. Slowly lower your legs down until they are one inch above the floor. Hold for as long as you can tolerate, then raise your legs back into the air. Repeat 10-12 times.
3. Thigh Plie
Rest your hands gently on the back of a chair. Stand with your heels together and toes turned outward to a 45 degree angle (first position). With straight legs and standing tall, tighten your abs and rise onto the balls of your feet. Lower your torso half-way down and plié by bending your knees out over your toes. Straighten legs while squeezing your inner thighs and lowering your heels. Repeat 10-12 times.
4. Floor Splits
Begin on the floor in first position, your legs straight up in the air. Using your abs, lower your right leg one inch above the floor. Keeping both knees straight and your head on the floor, attempt to bring your left leg towards your face, creating a split. Hold for one count, or for as long as you are able. Repeat five to 10 times. Switch to other side.
5. Rear Fly
Grab a chair and a dumbbell. With dumbbell in your right hand and left hand resting on the back of a chair, stand straight with your feet touching parallel. With toes pointed, extend your left leg behind you. Bend your right knee and bend from your hips. With your right arm, reach towards the floor, keeping abs tight and back flat. Extend your right arm out to the side while lifting your left leg up behind your hip. Lower your leg and arm. Repeat 10-12 times, switch to other side.
6. Inner Thigh Leg Lifts
On the floor, lay on your right side. Rest your head on your right arm. Bring your left leg across to the right. Your left knee will be pointing toward the ceiling. With your right foot flexed, lift your leg. The entire thighbone lifted, hold for a count one minute, relax and repeat. Watch PopSugar Fitness’ entire workout for inner thighs here.
Consult with a certified barre exercise instructor for correct posture, form and technique. Not just for dancers, barre exercises are for everyone. No dancing experience is necessary. Barre exercises are high intensity without the impact; small, isometric movements create flowing positions. You will burn fat quickly and, with regular exercise, see amazing results. Regardless of your fitness level, body size or shape, barre exercises can make a difference in your physique and wellness. Complete barre exercises four times a week to feel the transformation. As with any exercise, consult with your healthcare professional before beginning any new exercise; workout within your fitness level.