August 21, 2018

Do you want a ballerina’s body? Try a ballet barre exercise and you could be getting one sooner than you think. In today’s post, we will be helping you achieve your goals by showing you some of the best ballet barre exercises that won’t take up too much of your time, the best barre workout clothes and just how you can improve your technique.

Ballet barre combinations, barre workout clothes, barre workout do’s and don’ts can just cause confusion, even to the best of us. What should I be doing? How can I improve? What should I wear?! Plus, that all important question: Is a barre workout worth it? Stay with us, because we’re even going to gift you with a 30-minute barre exercise that you can do anywhere and if you’re a trained dancer, then we have a few barre combinations for you, too! Result!

What are ballet barre workouts?

Dance as a workout is nothing new, it’s something that has been around for a while. But, barre workouts are a fairly recent way to get those muscles working.

It’s time to run to your nearest barre for the fairly recent workout craze that is shaking the fitness world up, in the most graceful way that only ballerinas could. Barre, pronounced as “bär”,in our best French accent, is a fitness challenge with a dancer’s twist. The ballet barre workouts have a heavy focus on legs, glutes and the core muscles, so yes, you will get the great bum, and six-pack abs! Read on to find out what every girl and guy needs to know before jumping to the barre. Just to make it better, no tights or even dancing experience is needed! Something we can all get on board with!

A barre workout is principally a combination of Pilates, dance, yoga and functional muscle training. You can perfect a barre workout without any previous dance experience, it can be tailored to be “as ballet” or as little ballet as you like. A barre workout can be fun, active and intense, providing intense mind and body exercises.

Think brain training combined with body training. Want to feel a muscle you never knew you had? Barre workouts are sure to do that. Want to centre your mind, whilst feeling a deep-muscle burn without negative impact on your joints? Barre workouts will do that. You will sweat. You will burn calories. You will feel the burn, during and after, butm you’ll reap the rewards.

Barre workouts are known to drop the calories and tune the mind.  

It’s not hard to see why barre workouts have become so popular, plenty of celebrities have already added barre workouts to their fitness regime.

Ballet barre workout do’s and don’ts:

Ballet barre combinations and exercices

Trying out your first ballet barre workout can be daunting. Don’t be disheartened. You’ll get there. The barre combinations can feel like they’re just not going in, but these things take time. Practice, practice and practice again and you’ll start finding it get easier and more effective, meaning you can reap the rewards.

  • Do think small. Just like ballet, you have to think small, execute small and concentrate small. Moving a cm or two might be all it takes. Isometric movements allow you to target the specific muscle that you are toning, did somebody say sculpted legs and bum?!If you’re a normal favour to intense cardio, then this can be something that you could struggle with. It can be normal to believe you must make large movements and be compelled to try them out at the barre, but it’s really not necessary. It’s actually discouraged. Try to get into the mindset of ‘think small’ from the moment you step into the barre area. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how much benefit you’ll get just from adjusting a small amount. Think small for a big ballet barre workout.
  • Do practice and learn your ‘tuck’.The tuck is one of the core aspects of barre workouts. In the simplest of forms, it’s essentially a pelvic tilt. Shifting your pelvis forward and pulling your abs in, you’re shortening the space between the hip bones and the rib cage. The tuck is what protects your lower back from damage during exercising!
  • Do dress appropriately.Barre workout clothes are important. It can be the difference between encouraging and strengthening your performance, or it could hinder it. If you’re struggling to reach your maximum potential, then it might be time to take a look at your barre workout clothing choice. Shorts, baggy and loose clothing is a no go! Invest in a good pair of leggings and a well-fitting top. More on that further down!
  • Do stretch and warm up.Think that a warm up is a waste of time? Well, think again. A warm up prepares your body for exercise which can effectively prevent an injury. Nobody wants their work out to be cut short by a pulled muscle or twisted ankle!
  • Don’t dehydrate.Keep plenty of water at hand, the intense intricate workout can make you sweat! All that lost fluids should be replaced with fresh water.
  • Don’t skip food before working out.Eating before a workout is essential, choose something beneficial such as a trail mix or a fruit salad.
  • Don’t jerk around.Just like all exercises, heavy, jerking movements will only cause pain and injury.
  • Don’t be scared of ‘The Shaking!’.Shaking means you’re working. Reaching the shaking means that you’ve tuned the muscles to fatigue, once you’ve reached the shaking it’s time to move on to another muscle group.

Ballet barre workout clothes

So, you’re ready to take the plunge, but do you look the part? Dancewear is ultimately a beautiful look. It’s all about choosing what is right for you and your body. But, what should you really be wearing to perfect the barre workout clothes? What’s helping your performance and what is holding you back?

What is good to wear:A trusty low-medium impact sports bra with a tank top or a t-shirt. Choose something that allows you to move without restriction. Pair this with a great pair of leggings.

For a beautiful finished look, that will make you feel confident, why not try the Lia Black Leggings with the signature Lia Black Top?

What isn’t good to wear:Avoid wearing shorts, loose or baggy clothing. These will hold you back from performing at your best!

5 ballet barre exercises for a DIY 30-minute workout

Ballet barre exercises from Zarely Blog

So, you’re fixed up with all the information, you’ve filled your basket with a few more leggings (you can never have too many?!)and now you’re ready to go. Let’s get you moving and shaking to a tried and tested 5 ballet barre exercises for a 30-minute workout. (Yes, half an hour! That means no excuses!)

With every barre exercise, it’s essential to adapt to meet your own body’s needs. Work until you feel the shaking, but don’t work until you feel pain. If at any point you feel pain as opposed to working muscles, stop exercising immediately.

Exercise one: The Knee Bend

This easy to do exercise will pinpoint and work muscles in your lower body, specifically the glutes and abs. It’s also a great drill to work on good posture and balance.

  • Place your palms lightly on a chair, or barre, with the feet parallel and hip-distance apart.
  • With one foot placed behind, bend into a small lunge slowly and hold for 5 seconds.
  • Rise again keeping hips square and level. The knee should be over the ankle the entire time.
  • Repeat for 12 reps on both legs.

Exercise Two: High Fifth

Time to target those glutes and core muscles. This exercise should be repeated for 12 reps.

  • To begin, place your legs apart, in a wide plié position, facing the barre with your hands placing lightly.
  • Keep your toes turned out taking care not to let your knees bend over your toes.
  • Straighten your legs and rise onto your toes, into a demi-pointe position. Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Return to a deep plié.
  • Continue for 12 reps.

Exercise Three: Rond de Jambe

The simple but effective exercise will have you working those glutes and inner thighs. Prepare to tune into some muscles that you might not have worked before!

  • Place your heels together with your toes turned out to 90 degrees, both knees bent slightly.
  • Lift one foot off the floor, and place around 15cm in front of you with a pointed foot.
  • Slowly, move your leg from the front of your body to the back, keeping at the same level in a circular motion.
  • Reverse and bring your foot from back to front in the same way, completing a C shape.
  • Focus on moving your leg as opposed to your feet or knees.
  • Complete 15 reps.
  • Switch sides and repeat on the other leg.

Exercise Four: Plie Bend and Stretch

The ballet barre drill is graceful, yet efficient. Working the inner and outer thigh muscles, it’s sure to work you effectively.

  • Take a large step away from the barre and place your hands lightly.
  • Bend your knees and imagine yourself to be sliding down a wall, slowly. Hold for 5 deep breaths.
  • Rise back up to plié and elevate onto demi pointe. Hold for 5 deep breaths.
  • Lower back down to flat-footed plié.
  • Repeat for 15 reps.

Exercise Five: Raised Tuck

There’s that word! The tuck. It’s time to incorporate it into our 30-minute ballet barre workout.

  • Face the barre with your feet facing forward, shoulder width apart. Place your hands lightly on the barre.
  • Tuck and hold for 5 seconds.
  • Raise onto demi-pointe.
  • In demi pointe, tuck and hold for 5 seconds.
  • Lower back down.
  • Repeat 20 reps.

ballet barre workout benefits

How to perfect the tuck

The tuck is a fundamental and core element of barre workouts. If you’re not familiar with what the tuck is or how to achieve the perfect tuck, then we’ve got you covered.

The idea of the tuck is to remove the over-arching of the lower back. Fundamentally, it works on our body posture. Tucking helps to build the core strength and engages the abdominal muscles.

To achieve the perfect tuck ensure:

  • Shoulder blades are down and back
  • Chest is up and lifted
  • Hips are rolled slightly under the glutes
  • Abs are tensed and engaged

Over-arching or over-tucking can put pressure on the lower back and spine. Over-arching doesn’t engage your core or glute muscles, whereas over-tucking creates a slouched position, putting pressure on the lower spine.

3 Ballet barre combinations for the trained dancer

Are you looking for the ultimate ballet barre combinations to warm up for dance class? Then, read on to get inspiration for what to do to warm up those muscles and get you prepared for class.

Battement Degages – Intermediate

Starting in 5th position, facing away from the barre, complete 3 degages devant, 1 degage a la seconde, 3 degages derriere, 1 degage a la seconde. Keep your toes pointed and your legs lengthened. Hold, then reverse the exercise. Once you’ve completed on both sides, turn and face the barre and repeat the drill through.

Tendu Warm up – Intermediate

Place your feet into the perfect 1st position. Stretch your leg into tendu devant, hold  for 3 seconds then flex the foot and hold for 3 seconds. Now, raise to pointe, hold for 3 seconds then close back to 1st position. Stretch again to tendu devant, close in demi-plie 5th position, stretch the legs into tendu devant once more then close back to 1st. Repeat on both legs.

Battemont Frappes – Intermediate to Advanced

Complete frappe devant twice, then three frappe a la seconde, then two frappe derriere then finally 3 more frappe a la seconde. Next, rise to releve, double frappe on croie, retire and balance for 5 seconds. Repeat on both legs.

Is a barre workout worth it?

barre workout moves online

So, that all important, often asked question. Is a ballet barre workout truly worth it? Should I bother with practicing barre combinations?

In short, yes if it’s done properly! The best barre workout concentrates solely on one muscle group at one time. Thinking small and acting small. Finely tuning a designated spot. Intricately starting from a challenging position to maneuvering through a lot of precise, small movements to the point of shaking. Once you reach the shaking, it’s time to move on. If you never reach that, you’ve never reached the maximum point. You’ve never truly fined the muscle to the standard of the best barre workouts.

A barre workout class isn’t cardio, neither is it dancing. The best barre workouts pull out the elements of ballet positions without incorporating serious dance moves, or serious cardio. A barre workout that is worth it will maximise your flexibility, endurance and strength. The ballet barre workouts that are worth it is focusing on strengthening muscles with isometric movements.

Ballet barre workouts can burn many calories during workout and the rest period. It can improve your strength, concentration, posture, balance and even tune your mind and body together. You’ll be connecting the dots between your mind and body to give a finely tuned working system.

ballet exercises for feet, legs and flexibility

Barre exercises are a great way to build up core strength and sculpt the lower body, but they shouldn’t be the only style workout that you do. Neither should they be used as a ‘rest day’ as they are far from one. Barre classes have a unique way of touching and fining those hard to get to muscles so be prepared for an ache or two in places you never knew you had!

Ballet exercises and barre workouts can help you to build muscle, improve cardio endurance and boost your flexibility and endurance. With constant repetition of finer exercises, it will build considerable strength and muscle in specific areas, most notably in the legs, thighs, bum and core.

Ballerinas can be weaker in their arms compared to their legs, due to the nature of the sport. To turn things up a notch, try doing a ballet barre workout with dumbbells or weights.

Get your Zarely leggings on and grab the nearest barre - let’s get those bums, tums and abs that we all so desperately crave by doing a ballet barre workout!


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