Not only does barre class help to channel your inner ballerina, it can give you a full-body workout to create longer, leaner muscles through non-impact, strength and flexibility training. No barre at home? No problem. Use a kitchen counter, table or sturdy railing. Here are 7 killer Bar Method move as performed by Bar Method Master Teacher, National Evaluator, Coach and songbird Kym Hoy.
Bar Method Move 1: Arabesque
(2.5 minutes each side)
Intense calorie burn!
Raise your slightly bent leg to the height of your lower back and open your working hip two inches higher, then square your shoulders. You will feel this working in your back and abs as well as your glutes!
What It Does: Our most balletic move will carve your gluteus medius (your “dancer’s dent”), sculpt your abs and postural muscles, and improve your mind-body connection by maintaining balance. Arabesque also gives you an intense cardio burn by working your standing glutes and hamstrings.
Pro Tip: Take a pull-away stretch after working each side to release your back muscles and stretch your hamstrings and glutes. Follow with a figure-four or pigeon stretch to release your glutes and hips.
Bar Method Move 2: Fold Over
(2.5 minutes each side)
Get a high, lifted booty!
Hinge at your hips and flatten your back, then lift your extended leg up until you feel a catch in your seat (no higher than hip height). Lift your leg in a small one-inch range of motion to warm up and proceed with a larger range of motion while maintaining stillness in your lower back. All movement comes from your glutes, not momentum! Focus on your booty, and don’t forget to breathe.
What It Does: Our highest calorie-burning exercise will sculpt and tone your gluteus maximus and hamstrings while elongating all the muscles in your working leg. Your standing leg supports your body weight, which helps sizzle away intramuscular fat.
Pro Tip: To create balance in your legs, bend your leg in half and lift in a one-inch range of motion with a pointed or flexed foot. Additional challenge: bend and unbend your standing leg (maintain a soft knee) for a cardio blast! Follow with a pull-away or pigeon stretch.
Bar Method Move 3: Diamond Thigh
Stretches and lengthens!
Go for a wide turn-out and press your heels together to feel more stabilized and engaged in your glutes. Maintain an upright spine and move up and down in a one-inch range of motion. You can vary the tempo and/or increase your range of motion from a deep plié up to a soft-knee stance.
What It Does: This exercise strengthens the largest muscle group in your body (your quads), which will raise your resting metabolic rate so your body can burn calories like an efficient machine. Diamond Thigh stretches and lengthens your inner thighs while working your glutes.
Pro Tip: Maintaining a light grip on the barre (or your kitchen counter) works your core strength and postural alignment.
Bar Method Move 4: Parallel Thigh
Builds longer, leaner muscles!
Challenge yourself to work at your lowest point possible, while maintaining good alignment and posture. Balance on the balls of your feet and keep your heels high to protect your knees. Vary the tempo of movement from a slow two-count up and down, to an on tempo, and finally a pulse tempo.
What It Does: You may notice your muscles shaking – that’s good! It means you are working at your edge, breaking down your muscles and rebuilding them to be longer, leaner, and stronger.
Pro Tip: You can add tucks at the end by gripping your glutes and rolling your hips up and forward. This will lengthen your thighs and strengthen your glutes.
Bar Method Move 5: Standing Seat
(3 mins each side)
A simple, yet challenging exercise to sculpt your butt!
To tuck, roll your hips up under and tightly squeeze your glutes. Pull your working leg back by gripping your glutes. Bend your leg in half to work your hamstrings. Keep your knee aligned under your hip or slightly in front to focus the effort in your glutes.
What It Does: Standing Seat is a powerful exercise for both beginners and advanced students alike. Standing Seat gives beginners a good sense of the “tuck,” which simultaneously works your glutes and strengthens your abs. The tuck also stretches your lower back and helps you maintain a strong posture.
Pro Tip: You can work with a pointed or flexed foot and add a relevé movement (rising to the tips of your toes) to challenge your standing leg, calf muscles, and balance.
Bar Method Move 6: Pretzel
(3 mins each side)
The ultimate muscle sculpter!
Position yourself on the floor, and bring your front leg to a 90-degree angle. Pull your other leg behind your knee and lift your foot off the floor. Squeeze your working glutes tightly and maintain your hip position. Lean to the opposite diagonal leg until your working knee lifts off the floor (just barely!). From this position, try to maintain a lifted chest, engage your abs, and move your leg with a flexed or pointed foot. Squeeze your gluteus medius (the muscle on the outer surface of the pelvis) to create a small movement from left to right or up and down.
What It Does: Pretzel sculpts every muscle, from your glutes to your hamstrings, from your obliques to your abs and postural muscles. After each side of pretzel, perform the series of stretches you see in the gif above to lengthen and release the muscles you’ve just worked.
Pro Tip: Raise your arms into an L-shape or prayer position, and extend your working leg to make it even more challenging.
Bar Method Move 7: Low Curl
Core stability: The secret to a stronger body!
Lie down on your back and bring your legs into a table-top position. Hold onto your mid-thighs and bend your elbows out to the side. Maintain contact with the mat with your lower back at all times and use your strong arms to lift your upper back off the mat. Bend and extend your legs and add a curl forward from your waist. The movement is small, with little to no rebound.
What It Does: Low Curl works your entire abdominal wall (rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis). Strengthen your body from the inside out!
Pro Tip: Extend your legs to a pike position, release your grip, make fists, and try to tap your shins. Do three or four sets with varying tempos of 10-30 reps each. Feel the burn and love it!
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