Get toned for summer with these 5 ballet barre moves
Photography: Well and Good NYC | Pinterest
Just in case you’ve missed it thus far, ballet barre workout Barrecorre has been one of the biggest things in fitness over the last couple of years,
It was launched late in 2011, and since then we’ve gone mad for its barre and dance-based classes (download them online if you’re not near one of its studios in London or Alderley Edge near Manchester).
It’s full-on fitness at its feminine best – a total body strengthening and toning system that promises what we all want: the long, toned limbs of a dancer and the cardio benefits of a high intensity class.Read more: This 10-minute daily workout will have you toned and lean for summer
After our first class, we quizzed dancer and Barrecore trainer Charlotte Tooth for her top five moves that will really do the job at honing and strengthen our summer bods.
1. For a perky bottom – Bridges
Start by lying on your back with your legs bent, feet hip-width apart, and firmly flat on the floor. Press into the feet to lift the hips just one inch off the floor, squeezing the bum cheeks together and engaging the backs of the legs. Repeat this lift and lower twenty times, then do the same exercise but with your right leg in the air. This will challenge the hamstring and glutes on the left leg.
For an extra challenge, flex the toes of the left foot off the floor and reach the right leg slightly forward, so the toes point diagonally forward in front of you, ensuring the back stays neutral and the abs tight.
Tip! Try not to let your hips completely touch the floor when you bring them down; keep the muscles in contraction for the best results by keeping the hips lifted slightly.
2. For lean thighs – The vertical V
Stand vertical with your feet in a small V (heels together, toes 2 inches apart). Bend your knees but keep your head, hips and heels stacked straight, one on top of the other. Place your hands to your hips for support as you bend two inches into your plié and lift feet up two inches without straightening your legs. Think of slicing your knees forward over your toes and keeping your back up tall, engaging the lower abs for stability and squeezing your heels together for bonus inner thigh work.
The lower you go, the more challenging it is for the thighs. Try 20 reps just moving two inches up and down and 10 reps full range, sitting the hips all the way down to the heels.Read more: More moves to tone your inner thighs
3. For a whole-body workout – The forearm plank with leg variations
Place the forearms into a number 11 on the floor pressing the legs back behind you into a long straight plank position. Your head and shoulders should be on the same line, and your eyeline down the fingertips to keep the neck long. Think of drawing the abs up away from the floor and squeezing the legs together for bonus inside thigh work and stability in the lower body. Try lifting one leg for 10 seconds and repeating on the other side.
Tip! Make sure your back remains in neutral thinking of a long lumbar spine avoiding any arching of the lower back.
4. For the elusive ‘skinny arm’ – Bingo wing tricep toners
Set yourself up in a straight arm plank and find a long horizontal line in your body. Bring the thumbs and the first finger together to make a diamond shape with your hands flat on the floor. Start to bend the elbows and let them point out to the sides so your elbows make the shape of a diamond. Go slowly down for three counts and up for three counts without locking the elbows.
Keep your abs engaged to ensure your torso stays strong and keep your elbows pointing out to challenge that back of the arm bingo wing area. Try 20 reps, then hold at the bottom for 10 seconds to feel the burn!
Tip! If doing this with straight legs is too much, come down onto the knees and bend the heels to the glutes rocking forward onto the fleshy part of the knee.
Photography: Foam Magazine | Pinterest
5. For a taut and toned tum – High ab curl
Sit on the floor with your legs bent into your chest and feet flat. Take your hands to the back of your thighs, bending at the elbows start to roll back through the spine, lowering your shoulders towards the ground, keeping the shoulders above the line of the knees. Your feet should stay firmly on the floor and your lumbar spine rounded; think of drawing your pubic bone towards your rib cage.
Then, pull your abs into your spine – you should feel your abs start to tremble. In this position, you can twist to either side, keeping the hips still as you twist and just move the rib cage. For more of a challenge, hold stillness in the contraction, reach your arms higher up until your biceps are by your ears. Your abs should be shaking like a leaf!
Tip! For a deeper workout, add a pillow between your thighs and give it a squeeze during the exercise.