29 September 2017 / Information

Barre workouts you can do at home

We all know how motivating the group-fitness environment is, but for many of, we struggle to get along to classes regularly!

If you want to work on your barre strength and fitness from home, or hone that technique, here are a few moves you can easily do in the living room. Just use the back of a chair or a bench for balance, or take the workout to the centre of your lounge.

1. Wide plie

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Standing with feet wider than shoulder width, externally rotate your legs. At the bottom of the plie, there should be a straight line from your knees to your toes. As you bend, keep your knees tracking over your second and third toes. Sink nice and deep to challenge the legs, but careful to not drop hips any lower than your knees.

Keep your tailbone angling down toward the ground (keeping shoulder in line with your tailbone). Avoid sticking your butt back as you bend, instead, keep your pubic bone knitted to your belly button and stay upright with your body.

  • Start with about 24 slow plies, working on mobility. 
  • Add pulses to the movement by staying low, and contracting the muscles. Aim for at least 32 small pulses.

2. Narrow-v plie

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The narrow V plié is a great way to work your quads, inner thighs and your glutes. 

When setting up, draw your feet close together. You are going to be doing this movement in a relevé position (relevé means to rise up onto the balls of your feet). With your feet, you create a narrow 'v' shape. Lock your heels together — they do not come apart as we move.

Keeping heels still and locked, slide your hips down and up. As you lower to the bottom of the plie, keep the work in the quads. As you straighten legs, squeeze through your inner thighs until the legs are straight and lengthened. Be mindful to use pelvic floor and core as you straighten back to the top.

Aim to keep the back of the neck in line with your tailbone — maintain a straight spine as you move down and up. 

  • Start with about 24 slow plies, concentrating on keeping a focused 'mind to muscle' connection. 
  • Add pulses to the movement by staying low, and contracting the muscles. Aim for at least 32 small pulses.

 

3. T-shape leg lift

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This movement works your core and legs. The aim is to move the leg up and down, without moving through the lower back and pelvis. 

Take a fold forward, placing hands or elbows on the bench or back of the chair.

Hips should be situated directly above the hips, and work to maintain a flat back. Engage your core tight, and move one leg up and down. Focus on keeping the leg straight, and moving slowly up and slowly down. 

  • Aim for 24 slow leg lifts on each side, followed by 16 faster (and smaller pulses). When pulsing, draw the belly button toward to pubic bone to get a deeper connection in the core. 

4. Hip lifts

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Hip lifts are a great way to target your glutes and hamstrings (if you have a soft ball, you can place it between your knees to increase the inner thigh work too).

Press feet evenly through the floor, relax your chest and shoulders and raise your hips up and down.

Be sure to keep your big toes pressed through the floor, and watch that your knees track over your toes. Be mindful that your inner thighs are working here too.

  • Slowly lift up and down, peeling through each vertebra. Aim for 16 slow lifts/lowers.
  • Add 32 smaller and faster pulses (staying in the top quarter of the movement).

For an extra challenge as you pulses, you can also extend one leg straight and take all weight into one heel.

5. Lunging

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Lunging is one of the best ways to engage your glutes and squads simultaneously. It's an age-old movement, but here are a few ways to make it more effective (and more safe on the knees).

At the bottom of our lunge, we’re looking to create a right angle. The front knee should always be in line with the heel, and the back hip in the with the knee. You should feel the glutes of the front leg, and the quads of your back leg working together in this movement. As you drop into the lunge, drop the back knee down toward the floor. Watch that you're not lunging forward and back, rather, down and up. The upper body again should remain steady. Focus on keeping your body tall and upright as you lunge down.

  • Aim for 16 slow lunges (each leg).
  • Stay low after your slow lunges and pulses for 24 counts.
  • Repeat x2. 

 6. Donkey Kick

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This move can either be done standing (as pictured) or on all fours on the floor.

Set up just like your t-shape position. Fix your leg at a right angle. Aim to draw your toes back to your shins (flex the toes) and imagine that you're pushing the floor away as you lift the leg up and down. Work hard to maintain a neutral spine as you move your leg up and down.

Nb: doing it on all fours is less of a challenge for the core, so if you're struggling to hold your back in a neutral position then take this option. 

  • Aim for 24 donkey kicks at a slow and steady pace.
  • Add 32 small pulses at the top (aim to pulse at the top quarter of the movement).

7. Plank

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Planks are a fantastic total-body movement and should never be under-estimated. Send your heels away, and the crown of your head forward. Lift your belly button up toward your spine, and watch your lower back doesn't start to sink! Engage your core and squeeze your legs and glutes.

  • Hold your plank for 30-60 seconds. Aim for three sets of these, with a 30-second rest between each set.