Let’s face it, we’re not perfect. Nor are we trying to be. Sometimes we just want to eat chips in bed, and pretend we have the body of a ballerina.
Let us set the scene – we’re sitting around in our Equipment PJs way more than our jeans, our Netflix account is getting a better workout than our abs, and the only thing that can get us going in the exercise department is trawling through net-a-sporter looking at the latest Stella leggings. Look good, feel better, right?
So when we recently stumbled across the fact that three of our favourite babes; Karlie Kloss, Taylor Swift and Alessandra Ambrosio, were all die hard fans of Barre Body, we finished that last handful of chips and sat up bolt upright, “God damn, we can do this from the comfort of our own home!”
In a nutshell, Barre Body is complete body workout that’s a combo of Ballet, Pilates, yoga and Barre conditioning to get you looking amazing.
So with this in mind we set out, with the help of an expert to put together 12 totally doable moves that will have you getting your ballerina on – no point shoes required! And after all that, if you still need some motivation it’s pretty much the perfect excuse to go and buy some new active wear. Check out our favourites here.
Port De Bras Arms: You can use either a 1 – 1.5kg weight, or if you don’t have weights then you can still do the exercise using just your body weight. Hot tip – a bottle of wine works a treat in place of a dumbell!
Stand side on to the barre with your feet wider than hip width and gently turned out. Rest one hand lightly on the barre and hold your hand weight in the other. Take your weighted arm out to the side, lifting it to just below shoulder height, and keep a gentle curve in your arm. Now draw that arm in front of your body, to about bellybutton height, keeping your elbow lifted and your arm curved. Repeat for 3 sets of 8.
Tricep Lifts: Stand in a long lunge with your body on a diagonal. Be sure to keep your core engaged and avoid sinking into your lower back. Reach your weighted arm behind you with your palm facing into your body. Stretch your arm out as straight as possible, feeling your triceps engage. Now lift the arm, without bending it, as high as possible. Return your arm to just above hip height, and repeat. Complete 3 sets of 8, and if you’re up for a challenge, try pulsing your arm at the top.
Start on all fours with your hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Hold you hand weight in your right hand, palm facing forward (like you’re giving a thumbs up). Lift that arm directly out to the side, as high as you can without shifting your weight or leaning to one side. Lower your hand to hover just off the floor. Repeat 4 sets of 8, and again feel free to add some small pulses at the top. You should feel your upper back working hard (great for strengthening the muscles that give you beautiful ball
Parallel Thighs: Stand facing the barre, with your feet together, big toes and heels touching. Rest your fingertips lightly on the barre and rise up on to the balls of your feet, keeping your thighs squeezing together. Now bend your knees as far as you can without tipping your body forward or back. Maintain your neutral spine as you lower even further, then lift halfway back up. Try not to straighten your legs in between reps, but always keep them bent. Repeat 3 sets of 8. The deeper you sit, the stronger this will feel.
Tendu Devant: Stand with your back against the barre. Make a narrow V with your feet – heels together, toes turned slightly outward. Bend both knees to make a diamond between your thighs, and then lift one leg off the floor, as high as you can without tucking your pelvis. Lower your leg halfway to the floor (try not to touch the ground) and then lift it back up. Repeat 3 sets of 8.
Narrow V Plie: You can do this with one hand on the barre for support, or freestanding like I am. To challenge coordination, add your port de bras arms (with weights if you feel like it!)
Stand with your heels together, toes turned slightly outward. Bend both knees to create a diamond shape between your thighs, then float your heels a few centimetres off the floor. Squeeze your heels together like you’re holding a credit card between them. Maintain that squeeze as you bend a little deeper into your legs, then return a little higher. Try not to straighten your legs between reps, and always keep your knees over your toes. Repeat 3 sets of 8, adding pulses at the bottom of your plie to really feel the burn.
Arabesque: Stand facing the barre, elbows and forearms lightly resting on the barre. Bend one leg and extend the other leg behind you as you lean forward, creating a long diagonal line from crown of head to back foot. Lift your back leg as high as you can without moving your hips or arching your back (it won’t go very high!). Feel your glute engage to continue lifting and lowering that leg. You’ll also feel your bent leg glute starting to burn as you get to the end of the sequence. Perform 3 sets of 8, adding pulses at the top.
Standing Crane: You can either face the barre or go side on to the barre for this one. Start with your feet parallel. Bend your knees and lean forward slightly. Now bend one leg up off the floor so that your foot extends behind you. Press your heel further up and behind you, squeezing into that glute, without letting your hips move. Lower slightly, and repeat. 3 sets of
Glute Bridge: Lying on the floor, draw your heels in towards your bottom, feet flat on the floor and hip width apart. Roll your hips up off the floor, creating a straight line from your knee to your shoulders. Press into your feet to lift your hips an inch, and lower. You can add in fun variations such as pulses, hovering one foot off the floor, or lifting one leg to the ceiling as you complete your reps. 2 sets of 8.
Navasana (boat pose): Sit up nice and tall. Lift your legs up to tabletop and draw your knees and ankles together. You can hold on to the back of your legs for support, or reach forward for a challenge. Keeping your core engaged, lower yourself down so that your shoulders and legs are hovering off the mat, then use your abs to draw back up to the starting position. Repeat 8 slow reps.
Scissors: Lying on the floor, extend one leg up to the ceiling and the other leg as close to the floor as you can. Draw your ribs towards your hips, curling your head and shoulders off the floor. Keep your abdominals wrapping in and down as you scissor your legs to change. Repeat as fast or slow as you like for 30 seconds, then take a break and repeat.
Side Bridge: Prop yourself on your elbow, making sure the elbow is underneath your shoulder. With your feet stacked on top of one another and your core engaged, lift your hips off the floor. You can simply lift and lower your hips, or you can add a challenge by lifting one leg to the ceiling. Lift and lower for 30 seconds, or simply hold still.