Women everywhere are flocking to barre workouts, and for good reason. Low impact but undeniably intense, these Pilates and ballet-inspired workouts are great for all-over toning, elongating and strengthening of the muscles. The downside? Most in-studio barre workouts come with a hefty price-tag, often averaging around $25 per class. Rather than shelling over a fortune for pricey classes, crank out a barre workout in the comfort of your abode with this at-home barre workout, designed exclusively for Spry Living by Jackie Dragone, Co-Director of FLEXBarre at FLEX Studios.
1. PLANK KNEES TO CHEST
Come into a plank with the hands under shoulders and shoulders right on top of your wrists. Make sure your hips are in line with your shoulder and the abs are engaged. From here bring your right knee into your chest without rotating the hips or allowing your shoulders to move. Continue on alternating sides. As you pull your knees into your chest feel your obliques engage – think that your abs are moving your legs, not your hip flexors. This is a great move to get the entire body going and get your heart rate up.
2. WIDE SECOND POSITION WITH WEIGHTS IN HANDS (can be done w/out weights or with cans of soup if you do not have weights at home)
Step your feet out wider than your hips slightly turning your toes out to the corners of the room. The turn out should come from your hips, not your knees or ankles. From here bend your knees making sure that your knees are right on top of your ankles and your knees are tracking over your 2nd and 3rd toe. Lift your arms into a goal post shape, your elbows are at 90 degree angles. Straighten your knees and arms at the same time while squeezing into your glutes! Control it back down to the start position resisting with your inner thighs. Keep this up for 1 minute – you will really start to feel the heat in your thighs.
For a final push bend your knees, lift your heels balancing on your toes. Reach your arms out long in line with shoulders, palms facing the floor. Go into a set of little pulses moving from the knee joint. Let this last push really get the heat going in your thighs and shoulders.
3. STANDING LUNGES (you can place your hands on the back of a chair or a window sill)
Stand tall with your shoulders on top of your hips and feet parallel. From here, step your right foot back directly behind your right glute, then bend both of your knees to 90 degree angles, your left knee should be over your ankle and right knee under your hip. Keep the bend in the knees and go into a set of pulses. Once you feel like you have your balance try to take your hands off of the chair and reach them up to the ceiling along side of your ears! For an extra challenge, try to lift your front heel so you are on all 10 toes. Keep it up for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
4. SINGLE LEG GLUTE BALANCE
Start standing tall with parallel legs. Extend your hips behind you and go into a squat. Once in the squat reach your right leg straight behind you with the toes hovering a few inches off the floor. Reach your right arm up by your ear and left arm back along side your hip. From here bend your right knee in to your chest while balancing on your left left switching your arms the same time you move your right leg. Take it back to the start position and repeat 12 times before switching to the other side. This is going to create a great burn in your standing leg. Remember to keep your abs engaged as well to help with your balance.
5. SHOULDER BRIDGE MARCH WITH ENDING PULSES
Lay down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your knees should be right on top of your ankles and hip distance apart. Press into your heels and lift your hips up off of the mat engaging your gluts and hamstrings. Keep your weight between your shoulder blades and out of your neck and shoulders. Press into your left heel and lift your right leg into a table top position, place the right foot down and lift the left leg. Keep alternating sides for 1 minute. At the end of your 1 minute series, put both of your heels down and go into a set of small hip lifts lowering and lifting your hips just an inch. Keep going for 30 seconds, engaging your hamstrings and squeezing into your glutes. Even though the target for this move is the glute, make sure your abs are engaged to provide support for your lower back.
Sit up tall with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor in front of you. Reach your arms out in front of you, tuck your tail bone and roll back off of your sits bones. Your shoulders should be behind your hips and you should feel as though you are scooping out the space between your ribs and hips by drawing your abdominal muscles in toward your spine. From here reach your arms up along side your ears and then drop them down next to your hips, in a controlled motion. Nothing in your torso should change or move as your abs are stabilizing against the movement of your arms. Every time your lift your arms up to your ears exhale and try to scoop the abs in deeper. To finish, reach your arms up at your ears and keep them there and a begin to take small crunches up and back. Visualize yourself trying to slide your ribs down over your hip bones. This move makes your abs work as a mobilizer, so this final push will really deepen the burn.