ALTHOUGH most of us aren’t blessed with the elegance, poise and skill of a ballerina, we can still take inspiration from the work they do.
Xtend Barre — the ballet-focused workout you need to know about — takes guidance from this work, but adds an element of Pilates and cardio, too, so the average woman looking to get in shape can still benefit.
“Xtend Barre is Pilates and dance, amplified,” says Catie Miller, the founder of Xtend Barre London.
“It’s an adrenaline-filled workout that strengthens, lengthens and chisels the body.”
While it might not get you ready to audition for Swan Lake, it will give you flexibility, balance and core strength. We’ll take that.
HOW TO DO IT: Perform the allotted reps on each side for each move, taking brief rests only where necessary. Once a full set of each move has been completed, go back to the start to begin the next set.
Beginner: 2 x 8 reps
Intermediate: 3 x 8 reps
Advanced: 4 x 8 reps
Areas trained: GLUTES, QUADS, HAMSTRINGS, SIDES, SHOULDERS
* Stand with your feet turned out, and your left hand on the barre for support.
* Extend your right leg out behind you, hinge forwards slightly at your hips and extend your right arm up and forward as you bend your left leg.
* Come into an upright position, extend your left leg and go onto your tiptoes. Bring your right food to your left knees, your right knee turned out.
* Return to the start and repeat.
SAFETY TIP: Don’t let your upper back round as you hinge forwards
SIDE LEG LIFTS
Areas trained: GLUTES, HAMSTRINGS, SIDES
* Begin standing with your left hand on a barre to the side for support. Place your right hand on your hip and extend your right leg out to the side, your left leg soft.
* Tap it back to right toe on the floor, then lift it up to the side without tilting your hips.
* Tap it back to the floor and repeat.
SAFETY TIP: Keep your spine long and shoulders away from your ears
Areas trained: GLUTES, QUADS
* With feet wide, bend your knees into a plié as you take your arms wide into second position.
* Move your weight to your right foot as you extend your left leg to the side and ‘tendu’ (point) the left foot to the floor. Engage the right seat muscles and left quads as you extend. Now lift the leg off the floor, and lower.
* Repeat on the other side
HOT TIP: Advance the movement by lifting your leg
Areas trained: GLUTES, QUADS
* With feet apart, bend into a plié with your arms out to the sides in second position.
* Lift your right heel up to pivot as you turn into a side lunge, with both knees at right angles.
* Pivot back to the start and repeat.
SAFETY TIP: Keep your hips square while in the lunge.
ALL FOURS CORE CONTROL
Areas trained: CORE, GLUTES
* Start on all fours with your hands under shoulders and knees under hips.
* Keeping a right angle at your knee, lift your right leg until your lower leg is perpendicular to the floor.
* Lower to tap the floor then lift it out to the side without tilting your hips.
* Lower to tap and repeat on the other side.
SAFETY TIP: Brace your core to keep a strong position, with a natural arch in your lower back
Areas trained: STOMACH, SIDES
* Sit on the floor, leaning back on your forearms. Have your legs at right angles, off the floor.
* Bring your right foot to your left knee and extend your left leg away diagonally.
* Lower your legs until they are almost on the floor.
* Bring your legs back to the start and repeat.
SAFETY TIP: Keep your lower back pressed into the mat throughout
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