7 Moves To Try Before Your First Barre Class

06/04/2015 09:14 am ET | Updated Jun 04, 2015
Damon Dahlen

There are now 700 corporate-owned barre studios nationwide, according to Well + Good, and that number is only growing. There's Pure Barre, Flybarre, Barre3, The Dailey Method, Physique57... the list goes on. The workouts are ballet-inspired, and the small movements involved are known for creating long, lean muscles.

“Barre classes, in general, effectively shape the body in an exciting group format set to music -- that’s a recipe for success,” Sadie Lincoln, founder of Barre3, told Well + Good.

Though popular, it can be intimidating to walk into a class when you're not sure what to expect. So we chatted with the folks over at Physique57 and worked with instructor Katie Mitchell to give you a few moves to try before your first class -- or for a little home workout. And if you don't happen to have a barre at home (and come on, who does?!), grab a chair and move along.

1. Curl With Shoulder Shimmy

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1. Sit against the edge of a cushion or rolled-up towel with your legs straight out in front of you. Point through your toes and extend your arms straight out in front of you with your palms facing in.

2. Pull your navel in and move your shoulders forward and back, alternating sides until you're “shimmying”.

3. As you shimmy, reach through your hands one at a time to lengthen your arms.

2. Standing Scissor

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1. Stand with a chair on your right side. Lean sideways to place your right forearm on the chair, keeping your hips in line with your elbow.

2. Step away from the chair so that your torso lengthens on an incline, keep your right foot directly below your hips and soften your knee.

3. Raise your left leg up to hip level and straighten it directly out to your side so that your body forms a T shape.

4. Point your toes and make sure your inner thigh is facing the floor.

5. Extend your left arm straight up toward the ceiling, and keeping your toes pointed, bring the leg forward in front of your chest, keeping your inner thigh facing the floor. As you bring the leg forward, slide your left arm down to hip level.

6. The arm stays straight throughout the movement. As you bring the leg back to the starting position, your arm goes back up as well.

3. Tricep And Side-To-Side Hip Dips

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1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor in front of you, about hip width apart.

2. Place your hands five to six inches behind you with your fingertips facing forward.

3. Bring your heels together and knees apart, lift your hips off the floor and shift your body weight from side to side while simultaneously bending your elbows.

4. Curl With Can-Can Kicks

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1. Sit against the edge of a cushion or rolled-up towel with your knees bent at 90-degree angles, feet flat on the floor.

2. Bring your hands to your outer thighs and hold on gently, rolling your torso down until your shoulder blades hover just off the cushion. If you want, you can place a ball in between your thighs.

3. Extend your right leg straight while simultaneously curling your rib cage up a few inches toward the center. Reach your arms toward your toes.

4. Now roll back down a few inches as you bend the right leg, and then curl back up again as you extend the left leg. Remember not to roll down too far. Your shoulder blades should remain above your cushion the entire time.

5. Pretzel With Knee And Foot Taps

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1. Sitting on the floor, bring your right leg in front of you with your right knee bent at a 90-degree angle.

2. Bring the left leg behind you, and bend your knee at a 90-degree angle as well.

3. Turning your chest slightly left, lean forward and place your forearm beside your right knee.

4. Draw your navel in toward your spine and lift your left leg up off the floor. Point the toes of your left foot and keep them higher than your knee.

5. Keeping your left leg suspended in the air, rotate your left knee to tap the floor, then rotate your left foot to tap the floor.

6. Thigh Dancing With Hip Shake

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1. Sit on your heels in a kneeling position with your knees a few inches apart from each other.

2. Lift your seat a few inches off your heels, keeping your torso upright with your hands on your hips.

3. Keeping your seat off your heels, shake your hips first right, then left.

4. This is a small controlled movement rather than a loose shake -- you want your oblique to lift your hips up towards your shoulders.

7. Small V With Tuck

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1. Stand with one hand on the chair about forearm's distance away.

2. Make a small V with your feet by bringing your heels together. Your big toes should be 2-3 inches apart.

3. Keeping your heels together, hover them a couple inches off the floor. Make sure your spine is straight and press all ten toes evenly into the floor.

4. Bend your knees and lower your body until you feel your thigh muscles engage, about 5–6 inches down.

5. Keeping your upper body straight, roll your hips forward and then release them back. Hip tucks are small, controlled movements: Your legs remain steady, your heels are off the floor and your knees are bent.

And if you have time, don't forget to throw yourself a little dance party at the end.

(Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post)

Also on HuffPost:

  • Prone Leg Extension
    - Lie on your stomach. Place a stability ball between your ankles and a cushion under your pelvis to support your lower back
    - Engage your abs by pulling your belly button towards your spine
    - Squeeze the ball between your ankles and keep your legs extended (avoid bending your knees)
    - Reach your legs long and lift them up towards the sky
    - Pulse and squeeze the ball three times
    - Lower your legs
    - Repeat 10 times
  • Bridging with Leg Lift
    - Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor
    - Squeeze your abs, engage your hamstrings and glutes to lift your pelvis off the floor and up to the sky (don’t let your abs pop out or your ribs pop up)
    - Extend one leg (keep thighs parallel)
    - Pulse your pelvis up to the sky five times
    - Bend your knee
    -Repeat on the other side (keep hips lifted and even from hip to hip)
    - Lower your pelvis
    - Repeat five times
  • Hamstring Pulse with Resistance
    - Tie a resistance band around something stable, like a table or bench
    - Put your ankle through the strap so the resistance is on the back of your ankle
    - Stand up tall and engage your abs
    - Engage your hamstring to pull your leg further behind you (keep leg straight and don’t let knee bend)
    - Replace foot to parallel
    - Repeat 10 to 20 times each side, do three reps
  • Kneeling Hamstring Lift #2
    - Start on your hands and knees (hands under shoulders, knees under hips, neutral spine); put small stability ball behind your knee and squeeze it between your calf and hamstring
    - Engage your abs (spine doesn’t move); lift heel to sky, keeping leg parallel (knee faces floor)
    - Replace your knee to start position but do not let knee touch floor; repeat 30 times, then do other side
  • Reverse Lunge Part 1
    - Start standing with feet parallel
    - Reach one one leg behind you
  • Reverse Lunge Part 2
    - Bend knees (front knee never passes the toes) to lower your pelvis towards the floor
    - Squeeze hamstrings and glutes to press up straight and bring legs back to parallel
    - Repeat 30 times, then do the other side
  • Side Kick Part 1
    - Start lying on your side with the bottom leg turned out (knee faces towards the floor) and toes supporting you on the ground
    - The top leg is parallel (knee faces forwards). Lift your waist line off the ground and keep your abs engaged
  • Side Kick Part 2
    - Flex your top foot and reach leg behind you as far as you can without letting your pelvis move (stays neutral)
  • Side Kick Part 3
    - Reach leg through centre to the front (keep pelvis still and neutral)
  • Side Kick Part 4
    - Point toes this time and reach leg behind you again
    - Repeat 15 times, then do other side
  • Squat with Pilates Ball
    - Start with your feet under your sitting bones and keep them parallel
    - Place a stability ball between your knees and gently squeeze it
    - Push your butt behind you as you bend your knees and keep the spine neutral. The knees should never pass the toes
    - Engage your hamstrings, glutes and abs to straighten your legs
    - Repeat 30 times rest and repeat
  • Ball Bridge Part 1
    - Use an exercise ball under your heels for this one
    - Start on your back and keep your spine straight
  • Ball Bridge Part 2
    - Lift your pelvis up to the sky, keeping your ribs connected to your hips (make sure you are not popping your ribs)
  • Ball Bridge Part 3
    - Reach your legs out long (the ball will roll with your feet)
    - Bring your feet back towards your pelvis
    - Repeat leg reaches five times, then lower pelvis to the floor
    - Repeat the entire sequence five to 10 times
  • Hip Press Part 1
    - Start seated with your hand on the floor behind you, fingers facing your pelvis, legs long in front of you
  • Hip Press Part 2
    - Curl your tailbone up the the sky (by using your pelvic floor) all the way until your front body is a long extended line (pelvis is lifted as much as you can)
    - Keep knees supported and soft
  • Hip Press Part 3
    - Either hold here for 10 to 60 seconds or lift one leg towards the sky. Hold for an inhale then exhale as you bring your hip down. Switch legs
    - Repeat as many times as you can, but be careful not to put too much pressure on your knees
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