Combining ballet, pilates, and yoga, Barre3 is the most graceful way to sweat it out.
Photos by Ina Jacobe
You may have long abandoned dreams of becoming a ballerina but that doesn’t mean you can’t get in shape like one. Much easier on your toes and more practical to your fitness needs is Barre3, a workout that combines pilates, dance, and aerobics to sculpt your body long and lean.
While many Barre3 exercises involve the use of railing known as the ballet barre, you merely need some stretching space and the edge of a sturdy surface to plié yourself to firmness and flexibility.
Certified Barre3 instructor Tami Ledesma demonstrates a few light yet effective exercises you can do at home. “Do errands, chase your kids around, or do a round of cleaning as a warm up. With a little more to give, you can do these exercises for the duration of a song and then go into a stretch,” says Teacher Tami. “You will feel refreshed.”
Whether you’re trying these while kitchen raiding or channel surfing, engaging your core muscles by pressing your navel against your spine reaps results.
For a selection of exercises and workouts, you can also log on to www.barre3.com or download the Barre3 mobile app.
LEG LIFTS ON ALL FOURS
This works out: Your buttocks
How: With your hands positioned under your shoulders and your knees under your hips, hover one leg off the floor and lift it up and down an inch.
“We do four sets of eight repetitions in class but you can choose a nice song and do the motion for the verse and chorus on one side, then repeat this for the other side,” says Tami. Make sure to keep your back straight, not arched, to support your spine.
This works out: Your triceps (the backs of your arms)
How: Prop your hands on a chair or the seat of your couch. Make sure your hands are in line with your elbows, forming a right angle. Also try to keep your shoulders in line with your hips. Now slowly bring your body down as if gliding down a wall, subsequently raising your body. Repeat the motion.
Intensify: To include your legs in the exercise, you can tiptoe on one foot and raise the other.
This works out: Your legs, especially your inner thighs.
How: As if riding a horse and steadying yourself on it, lower your body, squeezing the insides of your legs. Subsequently, raise your body, still firming your legs as you come up. Repeat the up and down motion. “Make sure your standing foot is firm for solid support,” says Teacher Tami.
Intensify: Tiptoe on both feet. You can also segue into a plié: after bending your knees, you can lift your outer leg and reach your outer arm over your head to create a long line between your toes and fingers. Land and then lift off once more.
This works out: Shoulders and buttocks
How: Angle your feet as if there is a wedge of pizza between them. Softly bending your knees, come to a slight tiptoe and draw one leg back while raising the arm on the same side up. Reach for a glass in your cupboard and stretch. Bring the glass down to the counter while returning the raised foot to its former tiptoe position. Repeat this motion. “The perfect exercise to do when you’re doing the dishes,” says Teacher Tami.
This works out: Your arms, specifically the triceps, and core
How: With hands gripping the edge of a strong surface and elbows close to your waist, lower your body, then subsequently raise it like a regular pushup. “You can do this anytime,” says Teacher Tami. “If you’re working on something at the dinner table, do 10 every 15 minutes.”
Intensify: Hover one leg off the floor for an extra load.
This works out: “You don’t have to be super flexible for the exercises we did so this stretch is good for after your workout, when your muscles are warmer,” says Teacher Tami.
How: Keep your front knee directly over your ankle. Drop your tailbone and reach your back leg across the floor. From this position, lift your torso and pull your chest upwards. You can grab opposite elbows at the back to stabilize yourself. The idea is to stretch the shoulders, chest, and neck. “When you’re doing a lot of work and hunched over, this opens up the front of your body.”