What’s the first thing women say when they walk into a Barre class? How do I get that “dancer” body? It’s not hard to get, you just have to have the correct form and do the right moves. Keep reading to find out how to correctly do two of the most important exercises to get a “barre body” as well as 3 different positions that most people find harder to do than others!
Long Lean Arms: Use a set of 1LB, 2LB or 3LB weights to complete the following
I CALL THIS ELEVENS: Start by standing with your heels directly under your hips approximately 2 fists apart. Keep your tail bone tucked under your abs and seat tight. Start by lifting your arms to a 90-Degree angle in front of your face (think about making an 11 with your arms). Your elbows should be at shoulder height. Start to pulse up 1 inch and down 1 inch X 32 (or until muscle fatigue) then up 3 inches and down 1 inch X 16. Then, squeeze your elbows together (lead with your elbows and be sure your wrists stay directly above your elbow) in, out in and out X 32 then squeeze in for 3 and out 1 X 16
Stand with your feet directly under your hips, seat tucked and abs tight. Pop up to relevé with a slight demi plié in your knees. Keep the belly tucked and tight; hinge forward at your hips. The final part of getting the lower body ready for this exercise is to tuck your booty (tailbone) and round out your lower back. Again, with a set of 1, 2 or 3LB weights in either hand, extend your arms LONG and STRAIGHT behind you, lifting the weights above the height of your hips and HOLD this position for a count of 16. Start to pulse (lift) 1 inch up and 1 inch down X32. Then up for a count of 3 inches and down 1 inch X 16. Repeat the same process with squeezes.
Remember: Keeping your arms straight throughout the exercise engages the inside of your triceps. Call this arm jiggle prevention. (Your arms won’t continue to move after your hands have stopped.)
Mastering the grand Grande Plie
Many Barre classes utilize the Grand Plié. Sadly, it can be difficult to achieve with correct form as most of us have tight hips and hip flexors. To achieve proper form, start by opening your legs up way past your hips and turning your toes out to 10 and 2 (a 45 degree angle). Tuck your seat (ALWAYS) and suck in your abs. Slowly start to bend through the knees, which should be tracking directly over your big toe. Only lower down as far as your hips and seat will allow, while keeping your tail bone tucked under. Keep your tail bone tucked; this is the hardest but most important part of the position. From here, you can sway right to left, opening your hips up a little and allowing you to plié further into the position. REMEMBER: tailbone tucked and belly tight – there are no positions with your belly loose.
The art of flat back chair
Use a ballet barre, a chair or a counter top. Walk up to the barre, close enough that when looking down you can no longer see your toes. From there, hang on and lean backwards until your arms are completely straight. Next, sit like you are going to sit into a chair (thus the original title: flat back chair). From this position, get your hamstrings parallel with the ground and your back perpendicular (flat). Make certain to do the following:
1) Tuck your tailbone and engage your abs
2) Roll your shoulders down and back.
3) Push your chest out slightly which will flatten off the top of your back (shoulder to shoulder)
Put a Ring on it – The Diamond Position
Start standing side barre (one side of the body close enough to the barre that you can touch it without “reaching”). Your feet will be in first position with turnout (toes at 10 and 2). Come up to relevé, forcing your arches forward. Your heels should be together and engaged as this flexes every muscle in your legs. Do a slight demi plie and hold. This will make a diamond shape with your legs. Now remember, just like literally all of the others, you MUST keep your seat/tailbone tucked and your abs engaged, back should be flat with your chest “proud” and your chin up.
Megan Campbell, Fabletics Master