Exercising with a ballet barre allows you to perform various sculpting exercises, as well as standing stretches, while enhancing your balance and posture. At home, you can add variety and intensity to your lower body barre workout by adding small ankle weights. For your upper body, you can loop a tube or band over your barre to perform resistance exercises. Make sure to warm up with 10 minutes of cardio activity before you stretch with the barre.
Stretching Ballerina Style
To stretch your hamstrings and the back of your knees, place one leg on the barre, so that the barre is resting just behind your ankle, at the base of your calf. Face the barre and hold on with an overhand grip. Stand up tall, with your shoulders pressed down, your abs tucked in, and your standing leg perfectly straight. The height of the barre may be challenging enough for your level of flexibility. To deepen the stretch, slowly slide the ankle down the barre away from your torso. Hold for several seconds and slide your leg back to the beginning position. Switch legs and perform the stretch with the opposite leg.
Plié Squats with Relevé Raises
This exercise targets your thighs, glutes and your calf muscles, as well as strengthens the ligaments in your ankles. Stand facing the barre, gripping it with both hands. Open your legs to a wide stance with your knees turned out over your toes. Slowly bend your knees and lower your torso until your thighs are lined up with your knees, or parallel to the floor. Maintain the position and lift high up onto your toes or relevé. Hold this position for a few seconds. Stay on your toes and slowly lower your hips up and down about 6 inches, while squeezing your buttocks muscles. Repeat the movement 20 times then lower your heels and release to the starting position.
Ab Tucks with Leg Extensions
This exercise targets the abdominal wall, hips and legs. Face the barre with your feet placed hip-width apart. Grip the barre with both hands placed shoulder-width apart. Walk your legs back away from the barre until your arms are fully extended and your torso is in a 90-degree angle to your legs. Inhale as you curl your lower back up and you tuck your right knee into your chest, pulling your abs into your spine. Exhale and extend your right leg straight back, pressing your heel back and up until your leg is perfectly straight and parallel with the floor. Curl and extend for 20 repetitions with your right leg, then repeat the exercise with your left leg. You can increase the intensity of this exercise with low ankle weights.
Resistance Band Triceps Extensions
This exercise targets your triceps and the back of your shoulders. Loop a resistance tube or band over the barre so that each side is equal in length. Position yourself on your knees facing the barre, with each hand holding one end of the band. Slightly lean forward from your hips. Bend your elbows and hold them close to your waist. Exhale and slowly extend your arms down and back until you feel your triceps are fully contracted and there is maximum resistance on the band. Inhale and slowly return your arms to the starting position. Perform 20 to 30 repetitions.