Three things we all need more of in our lives are tone, definition, and a sense of calm. Here’s the solution: Barre! Unlike what you might think, barre exercises don’t always require a barre. Certain ballet-inspired moves are ideal for following at home without equipment in order to the body, as well as calm the mind. With gyms and classes all off the cards for the duration of lockdown, we’re all looking for ways to exercise mind and body from home – and a barre workout should be top of your list to try.
Inspiring barre instructor and founder of London studios NRG Barrebody, Nathalie Errandonea-Mewes, shared the simple moves she recommends her clients do from home daily. Follow her five simple mat-based exercises from your own home, and to develop your barre practice follow Errandonea-Mewes’ virtual classes online.
Move one: table top to single leg stretch. First, sit on a mat, come onto your elbows, with your legs up in front of you in ‘table top’ position. Legs should be parallel, and make sure you keep your elbows underneath your shoulders with your core engaged. Next, extend one leg away, stretching it out pointing your toes, while keeping it off the floor. Bring the leg back into ‘table top’, making sure your knees are directly above your hips. Repeat 30 times with the same leg, and another 30 times with the other leg.
Move two: table top to leg extension. On your mat, come onto your elbows, with your legs up in ‘table top’. Legs should be parallel, and make sure you keep your elbows directly underneath your shoulders with your core engaged. Extend both legs together, stretching them out with pointed toes, while making sure not to arch your lower back. Adjust the height of your legs depending on your core strength. Repeat 30 times to feel the burn.
Move three: side battements. Lie down on your mat on one side. Coming onto your elbow, keep your legs together in turn out position (an external rotation from the hips) while engaging your core and your inner thighs. Raise your top leg to the side, stretching it out and pointing your toes, while gracefully raising your arm up at the same time. Bring your leg down together again. Throughout, make sure not to collapse onto your elbow and keep your shoulder away from your ear. Repeat 30 times with the same leg and another 30 times with the other leg.
Move four: kick back on all fours. Come onto ‘all fours’, with your wrists underneath your shoulders and hips above your knees. Your core should be engaged and tummy pulled in. Extend one leg behind you in arabesque position with the toes pointed. Bend your leg and come back knee to knee, then extend the leg again. Align your arabesque with your back, there’s no need to raise the leg too high. Throughout, make sure to keep your tummy pulled in to protect your lower back. Repeat 30 times, then hold the leg up behind you for another 30 small pulses. Repeat all with the other leg.
Move five: downward dog to arabesque. Come into a ‘downward dog’ position. Pushing with your arms away from the floor, enjoy the stretch in your calves and hamstrings. Bend your elbows slightly, moving your body weight forward. Engage your core. Raise one leg up in the air behind you in ‘arabesque’ opening your hip in a turnout position (external rotation from the hip), while pointing your toes. Lower your leg back down to return to your ‘downward dog’, bringing your body weight above your heels again. Repeat 30 times with the same leg, and another 30 times with the other leg.