Can you handle the 30 Day Challenge? Post your Before & After results in the Comments!
What the hell are those last three? Oh! Yeah, I suppose I should explain them. These are modified Ballet Barre exercises you can do at home! At my apartment, I have actual mounted bars on my balcony and the breezeway which are at the proper height so I can do them traditionally, but if you don’t have a railing or an actual ballet barre, you can improvise with furniture available to you. The back of a chair, couch, table, your washing machine or dryer… anything that is about waist-height will suffice. You’re not relying on the object for support so much as utilizing it to maintain balance.
Exercise 1: Barre 1st; Toe Sweeps R/L
Stand in 1st position. If you don’t know the 5 positions of Classical Ballet, then here! This exercise requires you to maintain posture with your feet firmly on the floor before sweeping alternating legs out to the side, pointing your toe as it reaches the extent of its reach. The first number is the amount of sweeps you will do in each set. The second number is the number of sets you will do for EACH side. IE, on Day 1 you will end up doing 40 on the Left, and 40 on the Right.
Keep your back straight as if you are a marionette, and someone is constantly tugging the string at the top of your head. This engages your core, even if you don’t -feel- it.
Exercise 2: Barre 2nd; Plié + Heel Lift
Stand in 2nd position. If you don’t know this position, read the above linked page again, you lazy bastard! Slowly bend your knees, keeping your heels firmly on the floor until you can no longer lower yourself any further, then lift your heels up simultaneously (relevé). Be sure to return your heels firmly to the floor before rising back up, careful to maintain a straight, neutral back. As before, the first number is the number of repetitions, the second is the number of sets.
Exercise 3: Barre 5th; Toe Taps R/L
I make a point to go from 1st into 3rd, 4th, then 5th because I’m not a ballerina and I don’t want to shock or twist my knees and end up with an injury to set me back in my progress. You CAN do this exercise from 3rd if your knees can’t handle 5th, so don’t panic if your calves or thighs are a little too thick to get there. This is the easiest of the Barre exercises, in my opinion. From 5th or 3rd, you are going to glide your pointed toe forward 90 degrees along the floor and tap it when you reach its limit, then return to 5th/3rd. Then you are going to glide your pointed toe sideways 180 degrees along the floor and tap it when you reach its limit, then return to 5th/3rd. Finally, you will glide your pointed toe backwards 270 degrees along the floor and tap it when you reach its limit and return to 5th/3rd. You have just completed 1 repetition on one side. Remember that the repetition/set numbers listed in the chart are for EACH side. Don’t be lazy. That’s what got us here in the first place, right?
Be sure to keep your knees aligned with your hips, and your toes aligned with your knees. This prevents undue strain on your joints, and also looks pretty (just in case anyone is watching, they’ll think you’ve taken up dance!). It also ensures that your core is engaged in lieu of your legs and back.
PS: Don’t cheat on your plank. If you have to cheat on your Push Ups, take a knee but do NOT let your lower back sag. If your Push Ups are too easy or boring, try one of these modifications.