Sometimes you don’t need to recreate the wheel. These 4 classics from Barre are regulars for a reason. They work to strengthen your thighs, glutes and calves and through a series of large range of motion movements progressing all the way to small pulses and isometric holds you will also generate heat in the body to turn this into a total-body exercise.
This is a simple exercise to start firming up the quads and calves and warm up the body. For balance, you can use a barre if you have it, chair or sturdy countertop.
Begin just lifting your heels up, engaging your calves and then lowering the heels down again. Start with a tall, neutral spine and tune into your breath.
I’ve included a pilates ball high between the inner thighs for extra work, but it is not required. Feet can be placed together or hip-distance apart.
Begin chair pose by lifting your heels and lowering your seat down as if sitting in a chair. Try to maintain your posture by keeping a tall spine and open chest and shoulders. Move your seat back and try to track knees over ankles to protect the knees.
Begin with 10-20 reps lowering all the way down to where your legs are in a 90 degree angle and raise up to the calf raise we did earlier.
Next, lower down completely into chair and begin small pulses, still balancing on the balls of your feet. If you have any feet issues, it’s perfectly fine to begin with heels down. As you pulse, remember to breathe and maintain neutral posture. Shakes are good.
Lastly, finish with an isometric hold and see if you can challenge yourself by lowering your seat a bit more to fully engage your quads.
I do these in every class I teach, even yoga. They’re incredible to stretch your inner thighs, open your hips and strengthen your lower body.
Begin with heels down and start lowering down and raising up to straight legs. As you lower down, try to reach the point where your thighs are parallel with the floor.
After your first set of large range of motion plies, option to raise your heels for more of a challenge, lower your seat and pulse. Keep your heels down if it feels better for your feet.
Lastly raise your hands off the barre or chair if you can balance safely and hold the pose briefly. Feel your entire body join in to balance you and strengthen you.
These were a gamechanger for my lower body. I was blessed with curvy, strong thighs, and these really helped me tone and tighten my lower body while keeping me strong and flexible.
Start with hips in line and lift your leg back squeezing your glutes. If you lower your chest forward, you’ll be able to provide space in your lower back to protect against any tension.
Lower your extended leg down to tap your toe on the floor and back up for 10-25 reps in a controlled, intentional way.
Keeping your leg long behind you, engage your glutes, and pulse.
Option to keep a slight micro-bend in the standing leg.
For more of a challenge, release your hands from the barre or chair and use your entire body to balance you.