Top 5 Barre Exercises!

Whether you want to become the next prima ballerina, work on your posture alignment or to try a new fun workout with your friends – there is a Barre class for everyone. With the world of Barre at an all time high, I was keen to find London’s best classes along with the Top 5 Barre exercises to discover the benefits and see what all the fuss is about, so without further ado, here are our Top 5 Barre Exercises!

Set up: If you’re working out from home and don’t have the luxury of a Barre – ensure you use a steady chair placed on a flat surface.
Equipment: Pilates ball, ankle weights (for that extra burn!)

Each of the following exercises is designed to sculpt the body through small yet effective isometric movements. These super-controlled motions are hard on muscles but kind on joints -this is when the lengthening occurs, elongating the muscles -have a go!

1. The Wall Bridge: Lay on your back with your feet up against the wall, knees at a 90-degree angle. Arms placed alongside your body pressing your hands into the floor. Ankles, feet and knees aligned and should be hip distance apart.

  • Exhale: Pelvic tilt, pull your belly button towards your spine, engaging your abdominals and lengthening the spine against the floor. Your pubic bone should be a little higher than your hipbones.
  • Inhale: Press down into the floor with your feet whilst maintaining alignment and slowly peel off one vertebrae at a time from the tailbone to the shoulders, until you reach a strong bridge.
  • Hold the hips up by engaging through the hamstrings and squeezing the buttocks.
  • Exhale: With control, roll back down into the floor articulating the vertebrae until you reach a neutral spine.
  • Repeat 4 times.

Target muscles: Hamstrings & glutes
Challenge: Lift toes off wall
Benefits: Strengthens lower back

2. Inner thigh squeeze: Begin the exercise with feet in first position -demi point, holding lightly onto the barre.

  • Place pilates ball in-between your thighs to activate glutes and inner thighs.
  • Maintain a natural bend in the knees, ensuring they are in line with your toes.
  • With control, pulse and contract your inner thighs changing the shape of the ball (30 seconds pulse, 10 seconds rest).

Target muscle: Inner thighs
Challenge: Finish sequence with hip circles in pile
Benefits: Strengthens inner thighs

3. Oblique crunches: Start with the left hand on the barre, left leg supporting and the right pointed to the side (both parallel). In your right hand hold the pilates ball and find your ballet 5th position leaning towards the barre.

  • Exhale: Use your obliques to reach the ball and foot towards each other, shortening at the waist four times.
  • Exhale on each crunch: On the fourth crunch, hold, lengthen and pulse four times.
  • Repeat on other side.

Target muscle: Obliques
Challenge: Throughout the sequence imagine you have a piece of string pulling you from the top of your head, lengthening and creating space
Benefits: Targets ‘muffin top’

4. Barre back attitude: Facing towards the barre, lightly hold your head on your forearms. Place the pilates ball in the crease of your knee, creating a right angle -whilst your supporting leg has a slight bend in it.

  • Whilst keeping your body still, lift your leg (squeezing into the ball) mobilising from the hip, to create a controlled swinging action. Repeat three times.
  • On the fourth movement lifting from the knee, pulse three times.
  • Repeat on other side.

Target muscle: Obliques
Challenge: Throughout the sequence imagine you have a piece of string pulling you from the top of your head, lengthening and creating space
Benefits: No pressure on joints

5. Ballet barre abdominals: Place the pilates ball underneath upper back, with you hands supporting under your head forming a straight line. Drop knees out to the side in turn out, toes join with heels lifted.

  • Find the ‘scooping’ action in the abdominals to lift your upper body and slowly roll back down to a neutral position. Repeat this four times.
  • In turn out, lifting from the back of your thighs to eye level, left then right leg.
  • Pulse four times. Repeat.

Target muscle: Abdominals
Challenge: Have an imaginary piece of string pulling you from your chest to pull your upper body
Benefits: Help improve your balance by strengthening your abdominal muscles

Naomi Canham

Having trained as a dancer from a young age, Naomi has always maintained a conscious lifestyle in mind, body and soul which has lead her to the holistic approach that she embraces today. She is always looking out for the latest info and trends in health and fitness. She's a keen foodie, believes in 'food as medicine', and loves to try out new vegan recipes.

1 Comment
  1. I love a good barre class you definitely feel it working the next day!

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