5 Barre Exercises for Your Best Body

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Barre exercises are growing in popularity as more women and men alike seek to find a full-body workout that is low-impact and targets both minor and major muscle groups. Working the minor muscle groups is important for toning, as these are the muscles that will pull in the major muscles when used repeatedly. Barre exercises are intense, as you must uphold the rhythm of repetitive moves that grow increasingly more difficult. Watching a barre class, you might wonder why the participants are sweating so much when they are locked in one position with a single limb moving back and forth, but strengthening these minor muscles requires extreme focus and intensity. Barre shrinks areas like the hips and thighs that other exercises will only expand with muscle growth. Try the following exercises at home to begin shrinking your trouble zones.

5 Tendu

Start by standing behind a chair, holding on lightly for support, with your heels together, toes pointed out. Slowly sweep your leg out to the side, keeping the toes on the floor as your do so, until your leg is straight and only the toe remains on the floor. Return back to first position. Repeat 20 to 40 times on each side.

4 Grand Battement Front

Stand next to a chair, holding on with one hand for support. Keep your hips straight and slowly kick your left leg up to hip level, keeping it straight. Then lower it back to the ground. Nothing on your body besides your leg should be moving. Repeat this 20 to 40 times, then repeat on the other side. This exercise works the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core.

3 Grand Plié

Grande plies are great if you do not have a knee or hip injury. If you do, please skip this one or do not go all the way down. Start by standing behind a chair, holding on lightly for support, with your heels together, toes pointed out. Slowly lower your hips down towards the floor, bending your knees out to the side and lifting your heels at the bottom. To come up, press your heels into the ground and straighten your legs, squeezing your butt and inner thighs. Repeat the movement 20 to 40 times.

2 Arabesque

Arabesques are fairly common now in exercise not classified specifically as “barre” because they work wonders for the glutes and the backs of the thighs, toning and lifting the area. Start by standing behind a chair, holding on lightly for support, with your heels together, toes pointed out. Extend your left leg behind you, keeping a slight bend in the knee to target the glute. Lift as high as possible without leaning forward – your flexibility will be at play here. Hold for five counts at the top, and lower your leg back to the ground. Repeat 20 to 40 times on each side. This move targets your calves, glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps.

1 Releve

This move may seem easy at first – until you do it a few times. Stand behind a chair, holding on for balance, with your heels together and toes apart. Lift your heels off of the ground, tighten your core, and keep your back and legs straight. When your weight is on the balls of your feet, hold for a count and lower your heels back to the ground. Repeat the movement 20 to 40 times. This targets your calves, quadriceps, and hamstrings.

Barre exercises don’t have to be restricted to a studio. Try these moves at home while watching your favorite show or listening to your favorite music. Don’t let the seeming low-intensity of the exercises fool you – you’ll be awakening muscles that will rev up your metabolism while pulling in the trouble zones that traditional cardio won’t touch.
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