Ballerinas do it Better: Ballet Barre-Inspired Workout Routine
What makes the latest trend of dance and ballet barre so much fun and so effective? While many of us love to dance, others would like to, but may feel it is too difficult to follow the routine. When combining dance with ballet barre work, the movements are slower, precise, and very controlled. And the results? Your muscles will definitely feel toned the next day and you will become stronger, as you stay dedicated to the program.
Most ballet barre programs combine easy-to-follow dance combinations, ballet, Pilates, and yoga into one class, for a full-body workout. What makes the workout so effective is the participant starts with a sound set up, then onto a slower 8 count with fuller range of motion, building up to working intrinsic muscles with 2-3 sets of pulsing, ending with a hold to build strength. Stretching at the end of the workout works to lengthen the muscles, as well as decreasing the risk for injury.
The results of sticking with ballet barre programs are very beneficial. Ballet barre workouts help to increase strength, flexibility, coordination, and stamina. Muscles should feel a little “taxed”, after you workout, but not so sore, that it prevents you from exercising the next day. The key to a healthy lifestyle is finding a fitness routine that works for you and being able to workout daily. Add a barre program 2-3 times per week, along with other resistance and cardio programs, to maintain a nice variety for your fitness routines, as well as different challenges for your muscles.
Try the sample segment below, from my new Dance, Chisel and Chill workout!
“First Position” (strengthens abs, legs, arms)
Set up your body in first position. Standing tall, legs together, heels together, toes turned out, abs and rib cage in. Shoulders are stabilized, arms making a rounded basket, strong throw the wrist. Go directly to Second Position:
Wide “Second Position” (works quads, strengthens arms)
From First Position inhale and open legs by stepping out wide to the right, keeping feet turned out slowly bend into a wide squat, keep your knees inline with your big toe, heels outside the hips, and arms lengthened out to the sides. Return to First Position by stepping your left foot in, bringing your heels together and then repeat the wide squat by opening out to the right again, then close to First Position with heels together, standing tall, and exhale. Now open to the left wide Second Position and then close to First. Open to the left again and then close to the first. Repeat combination four complete times. Twice to the right and twice to the left as one set.
Quad Work in Relevé (works quads, calves)
Open out to a wide Second Position, arms in front, rounded and strong. Lift your left heel up, while on the ball of your foot, lower your left leg down a few inches and then up a few inches, as a slow pulse down and up, for 2 sets of 8. Inhale, before initiating movement, exhale to execute movement. Repeat with the right heel up and left heel down, 2 sets of 8.
Wide Second Position Pulsing (works quads, deltoids, triceps)
With arms out, pulse quads down for 8 counts and then repeat 2 more sets of 8. Each time you pulse alternate arm positions, palms up, then palms down. This will sculpt the deltoids and arms.
Triceps w/ Demi Plié (works triceps, abs, adductors, glutes)
Take a 2lb. weight in palms, raise arms over head, stand with legs and heels together and toes turned out. Bend elbows behind head, slightly bend knees, inhale. Exhale and stand up tall, connect inner thighs, straighten palms above head. Pull your navel into your spine when exhaling, contracting abdominals, contract glutes. Repeat bending at elbows and knees, with this tricep “French curl” and slight knee bend demi plié inhale, then straighten legs, extend arms up and contract, exhale – do this movement slowly for 2 sets of 8, then just a little faster 2 sets of 8. Very controlled movements.
Leg Circles (works inner and outer thighs, quads, hips, lower abs)
Standing with heels together, hands on hips, lengthen your right leg out, point toes, contract abs in, push shoulders back and down for perfect balance. Inhale and circle leg right outside hip, exhale, bring leg in and back up. Repeat this outside circle 8 times. Then inhale and circle the leg inside the hips, exhale on the return, repeat 8 times. Repeat with left leg 8 times.
Bend and Extend (strengthens and sculpts quads and hips)
Standing tall, abs in, arms on hips. Inhale, bend right knee, hip high, and then extend leg out, straighten knee, point toes, exhale. Inhale bend knee up, exhale, extend leg out – repeat 8x and hold leg out. On the 8th hold for 3 breaths. Repeat segment on left leg. *Add another set of 8, to kick it up a notch!
Back Extensions (for sculpting glutes and strengthening low back extensors)
Standing in First Position, right arm extended in front, extend right leg back to the ball of your foot. Inhale and lift leg up a few inches, exhale. Inhale lower, exhale lift, repeat 8 times, slowly. Then lift a few inches and do a pulse up, with leg lifting and glutes contracting – 2 sets of 8. Repeat on the left side. *It is important to contract glutes and pull your navel in towards your spine and to not hyper-extend into the low back, when performing this movement.
Cool down stretch…
Stand and balance with right arm extended. Right knee should be slightly bent. Lift left foot up to glute. Holding on to your left foot, with heel towards your glutes, gently pull left thigh back, while pressing your left hip forward. You should feel a stretch in the front of the leg, quadriceps. Inhale and exhale for 3 slow counts. Repeat on the other side.
Hip, Illiotibial Band Stretch (back, shoulders, neck)
Stand tall, cross right leg in front of left. Inhale and slowly lower your body down, allowing your arms to hand in front, keep knees as straight as you can. Relax your neck and shoulders completely, exhale. Hold for 2 more counts, inhale and exhale. Roll up slowly bone by bone. Repeat with the left leg crossed over.