By: Tami Charbonnet | Model: Megan Ellender | Photographer: Milestone Photography
Barre is the increasingly popular ballet-inspired workout designed to sculpt and develop lean muscle mass while improving range of motion, balance and flexibility. More than likely, you have heard about hip barre studios such as pure barre, bar method, barre3, flybarre, and xtend barre. Many gyms, fitness clubs and studios also offer barre classes as an option for both members and group fitness enthusiasts. While each studio teaches its own method, barre technique focuses on small, isometric movements and stretches to lengthen and strengthen muscles.
1. Upright Parallel
Keep chest lifted with head over shoulders, shoulders over hips, and hips over heels. Roll the shoulders back, down and away from ears. Pull pubic bone to belly button and brace tightly through the core.
Tuck the tailbone under slightly.
Sink feet into the floor and stay in one place while you bend the knees.
For a more advanced option, lift onto toes and stay. Open arm gently and allow it to hover at shoulder height as you hold the position on feet or heels for 1 minute.
2. From Upright Parallel
Lift onto tip toes with hand gently lifted overhead. Hold position for 1 minute.
3. Relevé Plié
Stand behind a bar or a chair and face it with legs together and toes pointing forward. Gently place hands on the bar or chair back for support. Squeeze inner thighs together and lift heels high off the ground. Keeping shoulders stacked over hips and thighs engaged, bend knees and lower body straight down until thighs form a 45-degree angle with the floor.
Without dropping heels, extend knees to come back up to a standing position. That’s one rep. Continue for one minute.
4. Second Position Plié
Take a wide stance and point your toes about 45-degrees outward. Extend arms gently over head. Keeping your knees behind your toes, and your shoulders stacked over hips, bend knees to lower body until thighs are parallel to the floor. From this position, stay for one minute. Attempt 10- 1 minute repetitiions. Don’t worry, you may need to build up to 10, 1 minute reps.
5. Flat Back
This move opens up the back of the legs as well as the outer hips. Place palms on a bar or chair and step feet back behind. Bend knees slightly, lean torso forward, and hold. Exhale, lift left hips up toward the ceiling. Inhale through center. Repeat 10 times, 1 minute reps.
6. Narrow V
This pose shapes your entire leg, especially your inner and outer thighs. Draw heels together and turn legs out so toes are about 4 inches apart in a narrow “V” position. Keeping shoulders stacked over hips, bend knees into a narrow plié. Press heels firmly to floor, or as an advanced option, hover them slightly off the floor, coming onto the balls of the feet. Option to rest one hand or both hands on bar for balance. Hold for 5 deep breaths. Keeping range small and controlled, lower 1 inch deeper into plié, then lift 1 inch. Increasing range of motion, drop bottom down toward heels, then lift all the way up and squeeze inner thighs together. 30 reps/1 minute
Advanced Bonus Move:
Forward Fold on Relevé:
Stand with feet together, arms by sides.
Inhale as you gently lift both arms high over the head, reaching towards ceiling, on your next inhale come into relevé (heels lift) keeping arms raised high, exhale as you fold forward with a flat back. Wrap arms around calves and hold steady. Balance for two deep breathes. Lower the heels and slowly roll up, arms along sides.