Tracey Mallett recently gave us an exclusive tour of some of her favorite exercises on the barre. She’s the renowned founder of bootybarre®, a method taught in studios and gyms around the world – and coming soon to 24 Hour Fitness.
Mallett’s approach to barre is actually a fusion workout that blends barre, Pilates, yoga and dance with a strong focus on technique. “It’s the perfect combination of power and movement for building strength, cardio and flexibility – and it’s this fusion that makes bootybarre a completely exhilarating workout,” she explained.
You’ll need a yoga ball and Mallett’s tips to get great results. (You can find Mallett’s barre-less version of the workout in the July/August issue of 24Life.)
- Focus on moving with control and engaging your core before you move.
2. Strive to learn the best alignment to get the most out of each exercise.
3. Draw your shoulders down towards your hips to engage your shoulder stabilizers; at the same time, draw your abs towards your spine — this will intensify the abdominal contraction.
4. Have fun and feel the burn, but always focus on the muscles you are trying to activate so others do not take over. This will prevent overuse injuries.
Z POSITION WITH BALL
- Begin by sitting on the floor with your legs in a Z position facing the barre, back leg extended behind your hip and hands shoulder-width apart on the barre.
- Place a ball under your rear ankle and lift your knee up towards the sky. Press your ankle into the ball as you lift your knee higher than the ankle, then lower it to ankle height.
TRICEPS LEG EXTENSION
- Palms resting on the barre, step back to stand on the balls of your feet.
- With abdominals engaged and back flat, bend your elbows for a deeper pitch forward to the barre. Extend and lift your right leg behind you, toes pointed, then lower it.
- Resist the barre as you draw your shoulder blades down your back
REPS: 4-6 with each leg extended
MUSCLES: Triceps, hamstrings, glutes
- Start in a Z position with your right leg in front and the back knee extended behind the body. Lift your right hand over your head and keep your left hand on the floor by your left knee.
- Bend to the left as you reach your right arm over your body and hold. Next, reach diagonally forward as you round through the spine, stretching out your lower back. Return to start position.
MUSCLES: Obliques and lower back
- Begin seated on the floor under the barre, with your shoulders directly under your shoulders and your spine in a deep c-curve. Grip the barre with your hands shoulder-width apart. Knees are bent in front of the body with toes pointed and touching the floor.
- Keep your spine curved and lift the right hip off the floor and point your toes to the right then to the left.
MUSCLES: Abs and obliques
SIDE CRUNCH HIP OPENER
- Stand next to the barre and rest your right forearm onto the barre as your draw your shoulder baldes down focusing on contract the obliques. Extend your left arm overhead and make sure your public bone is over the heel.
- Bend your left elbow and your left knee to meet, at your side as you lift the supporting forearm off the barre.
- Keep your hips and shoulders square as you move your elbow down and your knee up. Your focus is for your lowest rib and hip to join activating the obliques.
BALL HIP EXTENSION
- Start with hands resting shoulder-width apart on the barre and your supporting knee is bent. Place the ball behind the back of your right knee, and squeeze it.
- Lift your right leg up and down directly behind you as you squeeze the ball.
- Then, lift and lower your right knee directly to the side of your body.
- Keep the upper body completely stable.
REPS: 8-16 each side
MUSCLES: Glutes, hamstrings and abs
- Rest your right forearm lightly on the barre. With your hips and feet rotated out and your toes pointing to the corners of the room, stand on your right leg and bend your left leg slightly to rest your left ankle on your right calf. Rest your right hand on your hip for core support, and raise your left hand overhead in ballet’s fifth position.
- Pitching forward from your hips and lifting your left leg behind you as a counterbalance, move into ballet attitude position. Bend your supporting leg in a plié as you pitch forward, so that your knee is aligned with your first two toes.
- Straighten your supporting leg and return your upper body to the start position.
- For an extra challenge, stay in the plié position and lift your attitude leg in small upward pulses.
MUSCLES: Glutes, quads, hamstrings and core