No longer just a dance-studio staple, the barre is the perfect fitness tool for sculpting a strong core and improving flexibility all over. This workout uses tiny but effective movements to tone both large muscles and smaller, supportive ones. There’s no rest between moves, so you’ll keep your heart rate up and see results faster. See the step-by-step instructions for all the moves!
Your trainer: Michelle Demus Auerbach, creator of the barre program at BFX Studios in New York City, developed these moves exclusively for SELF.
You’ll need: A 1- to 2-pound dumbbell, 2 gliders or small towels and a barre or sturdy, hip-high surface (like the back of a couch or chair) to hold on to.
What to Do: 3 sets of the moves, 2 to 3 times a week, on alternate days.
6 Simple Ballet Exercises to Get a Dancer’s Body
1. Curtsy Lunge
Step 1: Stand on gliders with right leg extended and toes pointed, arms out to sides (as shown).
Step 2: Slide right foot back and left into a deep lunge, left knee over toes (as shown). Return to start. Do 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
Works inner and outer thighs
2. Parallel Quad Burner
Step 2: With spine long and core engaged, bend knees and lower for 2 counts, until hips are just above knees (as shown). Return to start in 2 counts. Do 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
Works core, quads, calves
3. Bridge With Leg Extension
Step 2: Keeping core engaged and shoulder blades off floor, slowly straighten legs (as shown). Return to start. Do 10 reps.
Works core, hamstrings
4. Mountain Climber Cross
Step 2: Bring right knee to left elbow, maintaining a strong plank (as shown). Return to start. Continue for 45 seconds, alternating legs, as fast as you can.
Works arms, core, obliques
5. Lunge to Dégagé
Step 2: With spine long and core engaged, shift weight to right leg. Extend left leg, leading with heel, as you bring weight to midline of body (as shown). Return to start. Do 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
Works arms, core, legs
6. Plié Squat to Relevé
Step 2: Slide left foot in, rising onto balls of feet and crossing left leg over right. Reach up and toward barre with left arm into a side bend (as shown). Return to start. Do 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
Works core, obliques, glutes, quads, calves