6 Step At-Home Barre Workout
When she's not busy teaching fitness classes, New York City mom Kristin McGee is usually wrangling her three boys (like 18- month-old William, at left) while trying to squeeze in a workout for herself. “That’s why I love barre classes,” she says. “I get a good burn, but I’m not left feeling too tired, stiff, or tight.” And that’s not even the best part. The moves—which focus on specific muscles—basically shrink-wrap your entire midsection. “Plus, it takes so much concentration to do them that it clears your mind of other worries,” McGee adds.
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More good news: You don’t need a ballet barre to complete this barre workout at home. For the moves that call for one, you can hold on to the back of a chair or a high table for support. McGee also designed the circuit so you can wear your little one in a carrier on your back or your chest, or let him play nearby as you exercise. So no need to wait for naptime—go find a sports bra.
This ballet-inspired circuit takes about 15 minutes and is safe for all fitness levels. Do it twice through for best results. You got this!
Plié and Relevé
Stand in first position (heels together, toes turned out) and bend knees (plié) as far as you can without lifting heels. Squeeze inner thighs and butt to return to standing, then rise up onto toes (relevé) with heels together. Lower heels back down. Do 20 reps.
Targets: Thighs, butt, and hip flexors
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Stand in first position, then lower into a plié (heels together, knees bent out to sides). While hovering there, arch your back to stick your butt out, pause, then curl hip bones back toward stomach. Do 20 reps.
Targets: Pelvic floor and lower abs
Stand with heels and toes together, then rise up onto balls of feet, bend knees, and lower into a half squat. In this position, use thigh muscles to slowly lower and raise butt 2 inches. Do 20 to 30 reps.
Target: Thighs and butt
Stand with hands resting on the back of a chair or a table and lift left leg back and off floor, then turn left knee out toward the ceiling (the way a dog lifts its leg to pee on a fire hydrant). Push outside of left heel toward the ceiling, and bring it back. Do 20 reps, then switch legs and do 20 more.
Targets: Butt and hamstrings
Sit on floor with knees bent and feet flat, hip-width apart. Curl tailbone under and aim pubic bone to ceiling until lower back presses into floor. With arms raised at sides, lean 2 inches forward while squeezing butt. Lower torso back down 2 inches. Do 10 to 12 reps.
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On all fours, raise one leg and point toes toward ceiling. Push toes upward, then lower back down in a quick pulsing motion. Remember to keep back flat. Do 20 reps on each leg.
Targets: Lower back, hamstrings, and butt
This article originally appeared in Parents Magazine as 'Bring the Barre Home! & 6 Tiny-Yet-Mighty Barre Moves'