Raising the barre even higher

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The complete workout that shapes, tones and makes you stronger and more flexible. By Barre instructor Lisa Maree Theodore.

The strict ballet classes of your childhood have been given a fitness makeover — Barre is now the thigh burning, booty shaping, waist sculpting workout of your dreams (tutus optional).

This Barre workout moves your body through all planes of motion with control and focus, dynamically challenging your core stability (all the ab toning benefits with not a crunch in sight) while building strength, endurance and flexibility
using nothing but your own bodyweight and a barre.

Targeting mostly your lower body, a combination of double and single leg exercises and some more dynamic movements will awaken the sleepy stabilising muscles of your hips, butt and thighs, not only shaping your booty (Kim K eat your heart out) but also improving your posture and muscular efficiency.

Think like a ballerina and take this workout slow, with a focus on controlling each part of the exercise using smaller ranges of movement. You can increase the intensity by making the movements incrementally larger or by speeding up the tempo. Complete 15-20 repetitions of each exercise before repeating on the other side. Aim for three rounds in total.barre sets and reps

1 Lower and Lift (with jump)

Stand tall with your hands on the barre, feet together and elbows by your waist. Lower yourself down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, keeping your spine upright, core engaged and pelvis neutral. Press into your feet and return to standing. Once you have a rhythm add a jump off the floor as you come back to standing. Use the barre for extra support.

2 Skater Combo

Stand with your hands or forearms on the barre, feet hip-width apart and knees bent. Keep your spine long and draw the fronts of your ribs in, lifting your lower belly muscles. Raise your right foot slightly and tap your toes underneath your hip. Extend your leg behind you to tap, return to the centre and tap, then extend out to the side to tap before returning to the centre. Stay low in the hips and keep your pelvis neutral.

3 Arabesque Pulse

Stand with your hands or forearms on the barre. Turn your left leg and foot out slightly and extend your right leg behind you. This is your arabesque position. Using the strength in your glutes and hamstrings, pulse or lift your right leg — the lower you stay to the ground, the easier it will be. Keep your pelvis neutral by lifting your lower belly muscles rather than collapsing into your lower back.

4 Side Kick

In your arabesque position from exercise 3, turn your left leg and foot to face the barre. Place your right hand on your hip, or behind your head for more of a core challenge.
Slowly squeeze your right knee to your chest and extend it straight out to the side, almost like a slow-motion karate kick. Try to keep your ankle, knee and hips aligned and don’t let your lower back round during the movement.

5 Plie in 2nd Position

With your left hand on the barre, step out wide so your feet are wider than shoulder-width and in a “turned out” position. Like you’re sliding down an imaginary wall, bend your knees and lower yourself down into a plie position. Keep your spine tall with your tailbone lengthening towards the ground, knees broadening towards your second toes. Rise back up, focusing on evenly contracting inner and outer thighs as well as your glutes.

6 Plie to Lunge Rotation

In your plie position from exercise 5, rise and pivot to face away from the barre with your right foot in front. Lower down into a lunge, keeping your spine tall and aiming to get your back knee to brush the floor. Return to the top of your lunge, pivot back to your plie and repeat.

7 Reverse Chair

With your back to the barre, slide down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Ensure the barre is supporting your mid to upper back and shoulders. Align your ankles under knees and your hips under shoulders. Float your arms to shoulder height with a soft bend in the elbow. Slowly raise your arms over your head, keeping your core engaged. Lower your arms back to shoulder height.

8 Plank to Pyramid

Start in a plank position on the floor with hands underneath your shoulders, core engaged and legs firm. You can have your knees on the floor if required. Press your hips up and back into a pyramid shape, keeping a slight bend in your knees to activate the front of the thighs. Move between the plank and pyramid slowly and with control, focusing on keeping a strong core.