The diamond is the traditional birthstone of April, and as the saying goes, “diamonds are a girl’s best friend!” But we’d like to change the slogan to “Diamond thigh is your body’s best friend.” It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
Diamond thigh is so much more than just a thigh exercise.
It’s THE thigh exercise that has the potential to change your entire body! It sculpts your quads, inner thigh muscles, glutes, outside glutes, and abdominals. It essentially works your entire body in less than 2 minutes! This position also stabilizes your knees, burns away fat, and improves your posture and alignment. This barre exercise is quite a beauty!
However, “nothing worth having ever comes easy.” So, why is the form in diamond thigh so difficult to get right? Let us break it down:
First, our glutes are big lazy muscles. Most people (aside from sprinters, professional dancers, gymnasts, or athletes) haven’t been taught how to effectively engage their glutes. Or more importantly, keep them engaged. Most of us are familiar with running, jogging, swimming, lunges, squats and nautilus machines at the gym. The problem with these exercises is they all bend the body forward at the hips, letting the glutes lose their contraction with every repetition. They are not tapping into the glutes true nature and full potential. In diamond thigh, you learn how to keep your glutes engaged and every time you perform a rhythmic tuck, those muscles get even stronger.
Second, most of us have weak posture muscles. We spend our days hunched over computer screens or slouching in the car while driving. We rarely pay attention to our posture unless someone is there to remind us to lift our head and pull our shoulders back and down. In diamond thigh, we teach you to enlist your stabilizers, namely your abdominals and erector spinae (a bundle of muscles running vertically up your vertebrae) to keep your spine upright. The more you do Bar Method, the more practice you’ll get recruiting your stabilizers to improve your posture, not only in class but also in those daily activities or “non-activities.”
Lastly, many of us suffer from tight hip flexors. Having tight hips makes the turn out in diamond thigh especially challenging. Don’t give up hope if you have sensitive hips!. Start small to begin to feel the catch in your gluteus medius and the stretch in your inner quads. Little by little open up your turnout by taking class consistently and notice your diamond thigh begin to sparkle!
Use these four tips to achieve better form in diamond thigh:
1. Place your feet in a wide turnout
Students often miss this cue, as it’s the first thing mentioned by the instructor in the set-up. This is important because good form starts from the ground up. Your feet are your foundation. Double-check your knees are turned out the same degree as your feet then lift your heels up to get started.
2. Relax your low back and drop your tailbone
By doing this you will instantly activate the stabilizers we mentioned above and begin to notice the work in your thighs become more intense and effective. The minute you do the opposite of that (flexing your back and sticking your tailbone out), you divert the attention away from your quads and glutes while moving it up to your low back. Not to mention, this improper form shifts you out of alignment and puts added stress on your hips and knees.
3. Bend slightly forward at your waist to engage your abs
Keep your abs cinched in as if you’re wearing a tight corset. Breath deeply to recruit and tone your deepest layer of abdominals, the transversus abdominus. This muscle is most responsible for pulling your waist tighter to your spine and stabilizing your spine when needed. In this exercise, that stability is needed for you to work in your best form.
4. Look straight ahead to stay focused
Get in your zone. Find something in front of you to look at and do your best to focus your attention on that object throughout the exercise. This keeps you mentally focused, in the moment, and undistracted by others around you. Bonus: Take this tip and apply it outside of The Bar Method and notice all of the wonderful, new opportunities around you that you might’ve missed with your head down.