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Barre workouts for alternative effective fitness

We’re all trying to discover new trends and methods of keeping our bodies guessing while amplifying our fitness regimes.

The fact is that most of the time doing cardio and strength training during our gym workouts can get a bit boring. Maybe you’re tired of running on the treadmill or skiing on the elliptical every day, or perhaps doing chest and back every second day is losing its shine.

Whatever your reason, you’ll be happy to hear that there’s a new way of getting fit, and it’s not a dance class. Well, not exactly. It’s called barre: inspired by ballet and for everyone.

Ballet dancer in studio | DNAfit Blog

But how exactly do you do barre?

Basic foot positions

First position

  • Stand with heels together and feet parallel
  • Lift the ball of the foot and turn out from the top of the legs to the feet
  • Place the balls of the feet back down and distribute weight throughout the entire foot
  • Arms are rounded – hands in front of the belly with elbows lifted

Second position

  • Arms are lower than shoulders with a slight curve and elbows lifted
  • Feet are spaced apart with a turn out similar to first position

Third position

This combines first and second position. One foot is crossed in front of the other with its heel touching the arch of the foot behind. The feet and legs once again replicate the turn out of first position

Fourth position

  • A combination of second and fifth position. One leg is crossed in front of the other, the heel of the front foot crosses to nearly in line with the toe of the back foot with a substantial space (bout 1 foot length) in between each foot.

Fifth position

  • Arms lift above the head and are rounded at the elbow. The hands are opposite the forehead with elbows back. One foot is placed in front of the other with the heel of the front foot in line with the toe of the back foot. Full turn out is engaged from the hip.

Just before you become a whiz at doing barre exercises make sure you'd got the basics covered with our Fitness Hacks for Beginners guide. 

Download Fitness Hacks For Beginners to optimise your training


Reaching Rond de Jambe (“Ballet squat”)

Stand tall in first position with your right hand resting on the bar. Brace your abs in tight and lift your left leg in front of your body as high as you can, keeping your back straight and tall. Raise your left arm to create half of a frame around your face in third position. Your left toes should be pointed.
Slowly open your leg out to the side, lowering your arm into second position by reaching it out to the side of your shoulder, elbow slightly bent, palm facing front. Circle your leg (rond de jambe means "circle of the leg") behind you, reaching your arm overhead back into third position, leaning forward from your hips to bring your torso parallel to the floor. Slowly lift back up, keeping your spine straight, and lower your leg and arm back into first position. That's one rep. Repeat 10 times total with the left leg, 10 times with the right. Muscles Worked – Glutes, Hamstring, Core, deltoid.

Rear fly and arabesque lift

Grab a dumbbell in your left hand and stand tall with your feet parallel (and touching), right hand resting on the bar. Extend your right leg behind you, pointing your right toes on the floor. Bend your left knee and hinge forward from your hips, keeping your back flat and abs tight, reaching your left arm towards the floor. Open your left arm out to the side into second position while lifting your right leg up behind your hip. Lower your arm and leg. That's one rep. Repeat 20 times with the left leg, 20 times with the right. Deltoids, Secondary Muscle Traps, Glutes and Hamstrings.

Ballet performance | DNAfit Blog

Relevé Plié

Stand with your feet in first position (heels together, toes turned out about 45 degrees), legs straight, and hands gently resting on the bar. With your spine tall and abs tight, rise up onto the balls of your feet. Plié by bending your knees out over your toes (only lower about half-way down). Straighten your legs (squeezing your inner thighs together as you extend), and then lower your heels. Repeat 20 times total. Core, quads, glutes and calves.

Parallel Plié Pulse

Stand with your feet parallel and together, hands on the bar. Press up onto the balls of your feet and bend your knees into a deep plié by lowering your hips as far down as you can, squeezing your inner thighs together (knees should stay touching). Lift up halfway (knees should stay bent), and then return to deep plié position. That's one rep. Repeat 20 times total. Core, quads, glutes and calves.     

Ball-Squeeze Parallel Squat with Calf Raise

Stand with feet hip-width apart and toes pointed forward. Place a small sponge ball between thighs. Engage core and, keeping spine neutral, hinge at hips and lower into a squat, gently squeezing the ball throughout the movement. With control, rise back to starting position and then extend legs, lifting up onto toes for a calf raise. Do 12 to 15 reps. Core, quads, glutes and calves.

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