In Part I of this series, Joli explained the benefits and history of Barre workouts. Here she gives us a basic workout you can start doing at home today.
The “fold-over” series
Adding barre exercises to your home workouts is a powerful way to specifically target the glutes and core. Barre instructor and international instructor, Abbie Appel describes her favorite barre exercises that can be performed at home …”anything from the fold over series. I love the hinge at the hip that makes the butt stabilize and the moving legs works the other glute, too.”
Exercise 1: Glutes
To do this at home, place hands on the barre or back of a sturdy chair. Begin by bending at the hip, maintaining parallel feet and engaged muscles of the legs with a slight bend in the knee. The exercises begin by extending one leg and raising and lowering that leg, while maintaining engagement of the standing leg. The kick of the moving leg can begin with full range of movement, progressing to working the top of the range of movement. Begin with 4-8 full range extensions, followed by increasingly smaller pulses of up to 32 repetitions. Finish by holding the movement at the top for up to 20 seconds. Remember to take a break to reestablish your form as needed in order to continue the progression. After a brief break, repeat on the other side. You can also add a full bend of the knee at the top of the kick in order to further target the hamstrings.
Exercise 2: Upperbody
This simple movement from the fold over series can also be combined with light weights to add additional strength work to the upper body. Using a small dumbbell of 1-3 pounds, target the stabilizers of the shoulder blades through kicking the dumbbell back with a straight arm, coming no further in to the body than the hip and extending fully behind the back, while maintaining retraction of the shoulder blade in to the ribcage. This will develop the muscles of the upper and middle back and assist in stabilizing the shoulders. You can also add a triceps kick back to the top of this movement by flexing and extending the elbow at the top of the movement. As with the leg work, begin with several repetitions through the full range of movement, followed by increasingly shorter ranges of movement and a hold at the top.
Exercise 3: Finish with core
In a full barre class, these exercises will combine with wall or bar squats, core work, push-ups, planks, and simple cardiovascular exercise to work the entire body and support endurance, healthy posture, and athletic performance. To add barre exercises to your home workouts, you can include a full workout, or simply finish your run or bike ride with a few movements targeted at addressing key areas of the core, upper, and lower body. Through the use of the chair or barre, you are able to specifically focus on improvements in form and posture that might be overlooked during your regular workouts, as well as working into more challenging ranges of movement that will result in greater results in targeted areas.
About the writer: Joli Guenther is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and clinical social worker practicing in and around Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more about Joli.