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Long, Lean And Seriously Toned

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Get a classic dancer’s body with this amazing ballet-inspired workout

So, you outgrew your tutu aged six and thought you’d left pliés and pirouettes behind you? Bear with us. If you like the sound of a long and lean physique and graceful poise, it’s time to rediscover your inner ballerina.

Barre Concept takes inspiration from ballet classes to give you all the benefits of a dancer’s body, even if you swapped your high buns for high tops years ago. Based around the Ballet Barre (remember that waist-high hand rail?), this high-intensity workout is set to high-energy dance music, rather than the traditional classical tones.

Combining the precision of Pilates, the alignment of yoga and strength moves from sports conditioning, it can help you hit a wide range of fitness goals, whether you’re looking to blast fat, improve flexibility or tone up. This workout is particularly good at shaping up those classic problem areas: your thighs and bum! And it has plenty of high-profile fans including Madonna, Kelly Osbourne and Natalie Portman. So get ready to dust off those leg warmers - a lean and sculpted new you is just a plié (or two) away.

How to do it

We’ve cherry-picked eight amazing Barre Concept moves to help you craft the long, lean dancer’s body you’ve been hankering after. To make the most of the workout, split the moves into two sessions and perform each session twice a week. Complete at least one set of each move at the full range of your movement, followed by smaller, isometric contractions (tiny pulses at the end of the range of movement) and complete the set with a static hold. This ensures that your muscles are worked to fatigue (you should feel them burn!). Then, immediately after each set, stretch out the muscle group that you’ve just worked.

Make your own barre concept workout

Not sure how to put it together? Try doing these sample sessions on different days to help you see the best results, and aim to do both sessions twice a week

Session 1

·         Pliés with pelvic tilt

·         Oyster

·         Single arm press-up

·         Karate kick

·         Hamstring curl

Session 2

·         Pliés with pelvic tilt

·         Grand battement

·         Single arm press-up

·         Superman

·         Quadricep lift

The barre concept method

·         For each move:

·         2 sets of 8 slow repetitions

·         16 quick pulses

·         Static muscle hold for 8 counts

·         Short stretch for up to 20 seconds

Plié with pelvic tilt

Areas Trained: Thighs, Bottom, Calves

Plié with pelvic tilt

Plié with pelvic tilt

Technique

Stand with your legs hip-width apart. Rise up onto your tiptoes, squeezing your inner thighs together as you do so.

Still on your toes, bend your knees as far as you find comfy.

Tilt your pelvis forward then return it to a neutral position.

Straighten your knees and return to the start.

Superman

Areas Trained: Bottom, Rear Thighs

Areas Trained: Bottom, Rear Thighs

Areas Trained: Bottom, Rear Thighs

Technique

From standing, place your hands on a barre or the back of a chair and lower your body toa horizontal position with your ankles under your hips and your spine straight.

Exhale and slowly raise one leg up and out behind you to hip height, keeping your pelvis level and your hips facing forward.

Inhale as you slowly lower your leg down. This is one rep. Repeat all reps before changing legs.

Hamstring curl

Area Trained: Rear Thighs

Area Trained: Rear Thighs

Area Trained: Rear Thighs

Technique

Face the wall and place your Hands on a barre or the back of a chair. Straighten one leg out behind you and hold it just a few inches off the floor.

Exhale as you bend your knee, bringing your heel toward your bottom.

Inhale as you straighten your leg again. Repeat all reps before switching legs.

Quadricep lift

Area Trained: Thighs

Area Trained: Thighs

Area Trained: Thighs

Technique

Sit on the floor a few inches away from the wall with your legs outstretched in front of you. Place your hands on the floor for support.

Exhale and raise one leg up as high as possible without moving your pelvis.

Inhale as you lower your leg back down to the floor, and complete one full set on one leg before repeating the exercise with the other leg.

Grand battement

Areas Trained: Outer Thighs, Bottom

Technique

Stand side on to a wall and place one hand on a barre or chair. Place your heels together, but keeps your toes turned out.

Exhale as you lift your left leg to hip-height, lifting it to the front, then the side and back. Keep your toes pointed and your leg turned out from your hip.

Inhale as you lower your leg back down. Turn around to face the other direction and repeat with the other leg.

Karate kick

Areas Trained: Thighs, Bottom

Areas Trained: Thighs, Bottom

Areas Trained: Thighs, Bottom

Technique

Stand side on to a wall with one hand resting lightly on a barre or chair.

Inhale as you transfer your weight to your inside leg.

Exhale as you lift your outer leg to hip height, then bend your leg in a kicking motion and lower. This is one rep.

Oyster

Areas Trained: Outer Thighs, Bottom

Areas Trained: Outer Thighs, Bottom

Areas Trained: Outer Thighs, Bottom

Technique

Stand facing a wall with your arms resting on a barre or chair. Bend your knees, keeping your bottom tucked under.

Exhale as you lift one leg out to the side as far as it will go without moving your hips.

Inhale as you return to the start position.

Single arm press-up

Areas Trained: Shoulders, Rear Upper Arms

Single arm press-up

Single arm press-up

Technique

Place one hand on a barre or against the wall (the further away your feet are from the wall or barre, the more advanced the exercise will be).

Inhale as you bend your elbow slowly and lean your body to the wall. Your elbow will point to the floor.

 Exhale as you straighten your arm and push away from the wall. Repeat on the other arm.

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