Here's how to bring ballet barre exercises into your workout routine at home.
half roll ballet exercise
Credit: Raymond Hom

Get the lithe legs, lean core, and toned tush—plus the poise—of a dancer with this DIY workout. This "barre burner" challenges your balance and strengthens your core, hips, and legs. Rest your fingertips on a chair or table, and don't pinch your back or lean too heavily on your "barre": You'll miss the benefits.

penche ballet exercise
Credit: Raymond Hom


What It Does: Works the entire lower body; builds balance and stability.

How to Do It: With feet and thighs turned out ballerina-style, hinge forward to a flat back and lightly grasp the seat of a chair. Look at the floor to keep the neck long. Lift the right leg straight out behind you, hips open, until it reaches hip height. Then lift as high as you can and lower back to hip height. Repeat 10 to 20 times.

wide plie ballet exercise
Credit: Raymond Hom

Wide Plie

What It Does: Tones quads, inner thighs, and calves.

How to Do It: Stand with legs straight and feet wide apart, toes turned out. Do 10 to 20 deep plies, bending the knees deeply until they're directly over your toes. On the last plie, lift and lower heels together 10 to 20 times.

back attitude ballet pose
Credit: Raymond Hom

Back Attitude

What It Does: Tones core, hips, and glutes.

How to Do It: With legs turned out, bend both knees slightly and shoot right leg out behind you several inches off the floor, keeping knees bent and torso forward. Lift the leg just high enough that the glutes engage, then return to start. Do 20 lifts; at the top of the last rep, hold and pulse up and down 20 times. Switch legs.

pretzel extension ballet exercise
Credit: Raymond Hom

Pretzel Extention

What It Does: Tones core, hips, and glutes.

How to Do It: Sit on floor with left knee bent (outer leg on the floor) and right knee bent behind it (inner thigh on the floor). Resting fingertips on either side of the left knee, lift the right leg—either keeping it bent or extending it straight behind you (as shown). At the top of the last rep, hold and do 10 to 15 mini pulses up and down. Switch legs.

kneeling gate ballet exercise
Credit: Raymond Hom

Kneeling Gate

What It Does: Works upper back, core, hips, and outer thighs.

How to Do It: From a kneeling position, bring left palm to the floor directly under shoulder. Place right hand behind your ear and extend right leg so it's parallel with the floor. Keep toes pointed, knee facing forward (not up). Make 10 small circles in one direction, then 10 in the other. Repeat with the other leg.

plie in first position ballet
Credit: Raymond Hom

Plie in First Position

What It Does: Tones legs.

How to Do It: To start, rise onto balls of the feet, heels touching, hips turned out, knees slightly bent. Lower into a deeper plie, then return to start. Do 10 to 20 plies, holding the last one for 20 seconds.

heel lift ballet exercise
Credit: Raymond Hom

Heel Lift

What It Does: Tones hips, glutes of the lifted leg, and quads of the standing leg; strengthens core.

How to Do It: Facing the back of a chair, hinge at hips with a flat back. Extend arms straight out, resting palms on back of chair. Bend right leg and lift to hip height, pushing heel toward the ceiling. Keeping hips square, pump leg up and down 10 to 20 times. Repeat on other leg.

This story originally appeared on Whole Living.


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