3 Easy Barre Exercises You Can Do At Home & Still Feel The Burn

Contributing writer By Michelle Duvall, PMA-CPT, RYT-200
Contributing writer
Michelle Duvall, PMA-CPT, RYT-200, is a fitness instructor and founder and creator of Barre Variations, a barre method that combines a blend of ballet, Pilates, and yoga.
Woman Stretching on a Ballet Barre

Barre is a super-accessible, low-impact workout that you can do from the comfort of your home. The ballet-inspired exercise focuses on micro movements, which will ensure you get the most out of the time you set aside.

Other than using the back of a chair or the kitchen countertop as your "barre" for balance, no additional equipment is needed. Just remember it's OK if your muscles start to shake, it just means you're isolating the muscles.

By getting workouts in at home, we can build consistency toward better overall wellness, which will keep our health on the upswing! Here are three of my favorite booty-burning exercises (no experience necessary!) that can be done anytime:

1. 5th Position Plié / Relevé

5th Position Plié/Relevé

Image by Michelle Duvall

This exercise helps increase ankle stabilization, working both the inner and outer thighs, as well as the quadriceps and glutes!

How to: Start by holding on to a countertop or chair with the feet in 5th position. That means bring the right heel to the left big toe, crossing the legs at the midline, and rotate both legs out externally (seen in the image above). This can be modified by bringing the right heel to the left arch instead. Then lift up onto the toes, to relevé, and once in this position begin to bend the knees and straighten, for the plié action, and repeat. Repeat this action 20 to 30 times, and add another round of small pulses at the end for 20 to 30 times before switching sides.

Tips: Keep the knees pointing over the toes. Resist bending and straightening the legs. Draw the abdominals in. Tailbone points to the floor.

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2. Attitude Lifts

Barre Attitude Lifts

Image by Michelle Duvall

This exercise works the glutes and hamstrings, while challenging the muscles of the supporting leg. It also challenges the back extensor muscles, as well as the core.

How to: Stand holding on to your "barre" with the legs in a slight external rotation and the heels touching (this is a ballet 1st position). Keeping the right leg rotated out, extend the leg behind the body. Lift the right leg off the floor and bend the knee slightly (this is "attitude" in ballet). With the right leg in "attitude" begin to make a small movement up and down 1 inch. Repeat this action 20 to 30 times before switching sides.

Tips: Draw the abdominals in. Maintain both legs externally rotated. Keep the leg low if needed. Keep the supporting leg stacked hip over ankle.

3. Fold Over Battement Side

Fold Over Battement Side

Image by Michelle Duvall

This exercise works the core in a different plane, making it a challenge to keep a strong core connection. It also works the lateral leg muscles and the stabilization of the standing leg.

How to: Start holding the barre with both hands, or rest both forearms on the countertop or chair, and walk back until the feet are underneath the hips creating a 90-degree angle with your body keeping both legs parallel. Extend the right leg out to the side with a pointed foot. Then, lift the leg up toward hip level and lower back down. Repeat this action 20 to 30 times before switching sides.

Tips: Draw the abdominals in. Lengthen the spine, and avoid overarching the lower back. Keep the leg low if needed. Keep the supporting leg stacked hip over ankle.

With limited options as far as our usual fitness routines, go-to's like this are great to keep in mind before you get in the shower, while food is in the oven, or even during your next Netflix marathon. You can knock these three moves out anytime, anywhere, in 10 minutes or less—so give them a try if quarantining has got you restless!

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