Happy Saturday! Our healthy momma McKell is running the St. George Marathon today! Good luck McKell! I am definitely going to be cheering for both her and my dad from a far all morning :).

I started taking this new barre class at my gym and oh. my. gosh. my butt has never been this sore from any workout I can remember. In my book, that means the class is definitely a keeper! Not only is it a really awesome workout, but it is really fun and different and I have looked forward to going to it every week since I started.

Today I am going to share a workout series with you that is inspired by that class. I created this as a quick at home workout to use as a strength training series after I do my cardio work for the day. Before I do that though, lets talk a little bit about what a barre class is.

What is barre? Barre is sort of a new fitness craze. It is being introduced in gyms all over the U.S. Barre classes are basically a mix of ballet and more traditional exercise classes. It really focuses on toning the legs, butt, and hips, but also mixes in core work and arm/shoulder work. Most of the movements are small-many of them are just “pulsing”. The movements are meant to tone and lengthen your muscle. The classes usually last anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Do I need a dance background to do barre? No! I am pretty certain that most people in my class do not have a background in dance, or at least have not danced for many, many years. I don’t know how many years it has been since I have taken any sort of dance class! Most of the moves have a modified version that will help until you build up to the next fitness level. 

What equipment do I need? Most barre classes at the gym will be on a ballet barre (hence the name), but you can do most moves just as effectively with a chair, which is what I use at home. You can be barefoot or wear socks/ballet slippers. My instructor tells us not to be barefoot unless our feet are used to that because it can be uncomfortable since we don’t normally work out barefoot. Other than that, some classes use a weighted Pilates ball or a light dumbbell (usually 3lbs or under) and a yoga mat.

So lets get started! As I said before, I have not taken a dance class in many years (and even longer for a ballet class!) so for you dancers out there, judge my ballet form kindly, I realize it is not perfect :).

Barre Inspired Leg and Butt Workout
This workout has 10 exercises. It will take 7 minutes to get through the entire thing once, so you can do it all the way through again if you want more!

1. Plie pulse-30 seconds
To do this exercise, turn your feet out to where it is comfortable and step out so your legs are in what is known as “second position” in ballet. Bend at the knees so your knees are going out towards your feet, keeping your back straight. For this exercise, try to go into a deep plie. Stay there! Now you want to pulse by moving up and down JUST A FEW INCHES for 30 seconds. If you want a challenge, do not hold onto the chair.

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2. Plie to demi-pointe to releve and together-1 minute
To do this exercise, go down into your demi-plie from exercise 1. From there, lift yourself up onto the balls of your feet so your heels are off the ground. Now stand up without letting your heels go down onto the ground, then lower your heels and bring your legs together. Repeat for 1 minute

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3. Hold plie on demi-point
Go down into your plie in second position and up onto the balls of your feet with your heels off the ground. Hold this position for 30 seconds. If you want a challenge, do not hold onto the chair.

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4. Leg lift-30 seconds each leg
You will need your chair to face you for this exercise. Rest your hands on your chair with your arms straight. Keeping your back flat like a table top, raise one leg behind you with your toes pointed. If you can, try to get that leg to hip level. If you are unable to go that high, just go as high as you can. Your leg that is on the floor should never bend. While keeping your leg straight, slowly lower it down towards the floor, stopping before it touches, then raise it back up to starting position. Repeat this for 30 seconds then switch legs.

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5. Leg lift pulsing-30 seconds each leg
Start in the same starting position from exercise 4 with your leg up at hip level. Pulse your leg up then back to hip level for 30 seconds using small movements-you should only be going up a few inches-just enough to feel it in your booty! After 30 seconds, switch legs.

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6. Sitting leg lift-15 seconds each leg
For this exercise, sit with one leg bend in front of you and one leg bent to the side. Pull from your hips to lift your leg up off of the ground, then lower in back down. Do not drop your leg down, control it! Also try not to let your upper body sink down-stay sitting tall. If you want a challenge, place a small weight (a weighted Pilates ball or a dumbbell 3lbs or smaller) behind your knee of your working leg and hold it there while you lift. Do this for 15 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

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7. Sitting leg kick back-15 seconds each leg
Start in the same position as exercise 6. From your hips, lift your leg then push it backwards and then bring it back to where it started. Your leg stays up off of the ground for this entire exercise! Again if you want a challenge, place a dumbbell or weighted ball (no more than 3lbs) behind your knee. Do this for 15 seconds, then switch legs.

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8. Side plank-30 seconds each side
You can perform your plank on your forearm or up on your hands. Make sure your body is lined up straight before you start your timer! If you need to modify this, bend your bottom leg on the floor (see second picture). Hold your plank still for 30 seconds then switch sides.

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9. Side plank twist-15 seconds each side
Stay in your plank from exercise 8! You can do this with or without your dumbbell or weighted ball-it will be more challenge with it. Start with your top arm straight up, then wrap your arm around your ribs, allowing your body to follow it, then bring it back up. Repeat for 15 seconds and switch sides.

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10. Push-ups-30 seconds
Go into a plank position with your hands on your chair and your arms straight. Keeping your back straight, bend your arms until your chest touches the chair, then push back up into starting position. Do this for 30 seconds.

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I hope you guys enjoy this quick barre inspired strength series!

Have a great weekend!