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Family Sports & Fitness

Setting the Barre at Home

Ballet-inspired workouts are debuting in gyms and specialized workout studios around the nation. The popular exercise trend develops lean muscle mass while improving balance, flexibility and range of motion. And it’s not just for women, either: Men, teens and kids can benefit from these graceful movements too.

Get the whole family into the barre at home with these exercises you can do together. You’ll each need a sturdy, high-back chair to serve as the barre, and a set of hand weights you’re comfortable with – between 2 and 5 pounds. Perform one recommended rep of each exercise, then move directly into the next. Build to repeating the entire group up to 3 times.

Perform the exercises barefoot if possible. Focus on keeping your abs engaged and tight, your spine elongated and your posture straight. Search the internet for additional exercises as you become comfortable with the routine. Playing beautiful classical music during your workout adds to the experience.

Relevé Plié: Targets thighs, abs, ankles, feet
Rest both hands gently on the back of the chair and stand with your feet in first position (heels together, toes turned out about 45 degrees). Keep your spine tall and your abs tight as you rise up onto the balls of your feet. Perform a plié by bending your knees out over your toes, lowering about half way down. Squeeze your inner thighs together as you straighten your legs and then lower your heels to your original position. Repeat 20 times.

Parallel Plié Pulse: Targets glutes, thighs, abs, ankles, feet
Rest your hands gently on the back of the chair and stand with your feet parallel and together. Rise up onto the balls of your feet and bend your knees into a deep plié, lowering your hips as far down as you can and squeezing your inner thighs together and keeping your knees touching. Keep your knees slightly bent as you lift up halfway then return to the deep plié position. Repeat 20 times.

Rear Fly & Arabesque Lift: Targets glutes, thighs, hips, abs, and upper back
Hold a weight in your left hand and stand tall with your feet parallel and touching. Rest your right hand on the back of the chair. Extend your right leg behind you, pointing your toes parallel to the floor. Gently bend your left knee and hinge forward from your hips with your back flat and abs tight. Reach your left arm towards the floor then open it out to the side as you lift your right leg up behind your hip. Lower your arm and leg and stand tall. Repeat 20 times with the left leg, then 20 times with the right.

Plié Port de Bras: Targets chest, arms, shoulders, thighs and abs
Hold a weight in each hand and stand with your feet wide in second position(start in first position with heels together, toes turned out about 45 degrees, then step your right foot out about 3 feet to the side into a wide stance). Bend your knees out over your toes, keeping your back straight and hips under your shoulders. Remain in the plié position as you gently move your arms up in front of your chest with your elbows slightly bent and your palms facing up. Keep your palms up as you open your arms out to about 45 degrees (second position) then bring both arms overhead (third position). Then move arms gently back to second position and back together in front of your chest. Lower your arms and straighten your legs to return to the starting position. Repeat the movement 20 times.

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