With summer being right around the corner, who doesn’t want toned legs, tight stomach and a firm derriere? Try these barre-inspired exercises to achieve all those things. And the best part!? All you’ll need is a wall!
Bend-Extend (Add-On: Pulse)
Starting Position: Stand with feet together and toes pointing forward. Point the tailbone downward to create a neutral spine and activate the core muscles. Place the hands on the hips.
Steps: Bend at the knees, then come back to standing, while squeezing the inner thighs together. Repeat 10 times, then stay with the knees bent. Next, pulse for 10 counts and then stand back up. Do 3-5 reps.
Benefits: Tones the quads and outer glutes, and activates the abdominal muscles.
Starting Position: Stand with heels together with the feet externally rotated into ballet first position. Bring arms out at shoulder level and point the tailbone downward.
Steps: Step back with the right foot diagonally, while bending both knees, and sweep the right arm down. Lift the right knee up as you bring your right arm back to shoulder level. Repeat 15 times on each side, gradually working up to 30 (or more!) on each side.
Benefits: Strengthens the core, and tones the legs and obliques.
Starting Position: Stand with heels together, with the feet externally rotated into ballet first position. Point the tailbone downward.
Steps: Lift the heels off the ground about 2-3 inches. Evenly distribute the weight on the balls of your feet. Bend the knees as you slide down, while maintaining your neutral spine. Lower the heels down to the ground, back into ballet first position. Repeat 10 times.
Now, reverse the combination (into Plié-Relevé) by bending the knees as you slide down, lift the heels up (while the knees are still bent), straighten the legs (while the heels are lifted), then lower the heels down to the ground. Repeat 10 times. Do 3-5 reps.
Benefits: Tones the entire legs, especially the quads and the calves.
Starting Position: Stand in ballet first position with neutral spine.
1. Shift the weight to the left leg as you point the right toes forward, while externally rotating the foot, then return to starting position. Repeat 10 times.
2. Lift the right foot off the ground as you point the toes with the external rotation of the foot, and then return to starting position. Repeat 10 times.
3. Lift the right foot off the ground again, but this time pulse 20 times and keep the leg lifted.
4. Bend both knees as you flex your right foot, and bring it in front of the left ankle. Then, extend the leg again. Repeat 10 times.
5. Bring the right foot down back into ballet first position, and then repeat the entire sequence on the left leg.
Benefits: Improves balance, tones the legs, and strengthens the core.
Standing Seat Work
Starting Position: Stand with your feet about hip-width apart with knees slightly bent.
Steps: Lift the right leg diagonally behind and squeeze the glutes and the upper thigh for one count; lower for one count. Repeat 10 times. Next, pulse for 10 counts and then lower the leg down.
Benefits: Tones and lifts the “seat” (aka the glutes)
Jheni Solis, Fabletics Master