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We Couldn’t Live Without These 5 Bar Method Exercises
Is there something that you couldn’t imagine your life without? We can easily name a few: coffee, dogs, and The Bar Method, of course! We love EVERY Bar Method exercise (yes, even Zinger), but if we had to pick our absolute favorites, it would be the movements we listed below. Keep reading to find out which moves made the list!
You are probably asking yourself, “How the heck did pushups make the list?”. While these might not be our clients’ favorite exercise, they provide a total body workout that will spike your heart rate and build stamina. Do these on the balls of your feet and you’ll up your challenge while also stretching your hamstrings. Form is key during pushups, so here are a few tips to keep in mind for your next class: Place your hands under your shoulders or slightly wider & angle your fingertips slightly in. To avoid straining your lower back, lift your hip bones up in line with the front of your ribcage, grip your glutes, tuck slightly and press your shoulder blades apart. As you start to move, think of bending your elbows diagonally back towards your waist. Depending on your teacher’s mood, you can see anywhere from 20-70 pushups in class!
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but diamond thigh is our BFF. This exercise streamlines the sides of your body while building power and strength in your quads. Not to mention, getting through a full set of diamond thigh without stopping will make you feel like Wonder Woman! Another reason we love diamond thigh, is because it can be done anywhere! Get some practice in now while you keep reading! To start, draw your heels together and turn your toes out into a wide V. Raise your heels as high as you comfortably can. Soften your knees and walk the balls of your feet towards each other until they have about two-three inches between them. Look down and turn your feet more out to the right and left to match the turnout of your knees. Bend your knees and come down a third of the way from standing. Grip your glutes, bend forward at your waist and drop your shoulders. Bend your knees down an inch and up an inch. Do about 20 reps. Hold at your challenge point and exhale sharply for about 20 breaths. Press down quickly for the last 30 reps. Feeling like Wonder Woman yet?
You don’t need to be a ballerina to appreciate the power behind this weight bearing seat exercise. It targets the gluteus medius, posture muscles and the side of the waist all while strengthening the standing quads, glutes and calf. Seeing this beautiful movement for the first time might be a little intimidating, but if you keep these tips in mind, you will look & feel great in arabesque! Next time you see this in class, relax and start by softening your knees. While many of us focus on the leg that is lifted, upper body placement is key in arabesque too. Make sure your hands are slightly wider than your shoulders and aim to keep your elbows diagonally down towards the floor. Channel that ballerina elegance, and remember to lift your head and upper torso by using the muscles under your shoulder blades. To make this most comfortable for your body, raise your working side hip 2 inches higher than your other, but don’t forget to keep your shoulders square. You can thank arabesque when you look in the mirror and notice your peach is getting a little more perky!\
Have you ever been in Bar Method class thinking your seat-work is almost complete, and then your instructor surprises you with floor zinger? Well, this is why we love it! Floor zinger is a truly a zinger. It’s fast, effective, challenging, and will give you the round rump you are seeking. Just like diamond thigh, floor zinger can be done anywhere, so next time you’re craving that zing, follow the setup here: come onto your hands and knees. Place your hands under your shoulders or slightly wider. Soften or straighten your arms. Lift up your right leg, straighten it, and turn your knee out to the right. Slide your leg out to the side several inches until you feel the side of your seat engage. Shift your body weight in the same direction. Pull your ribcage up. Bend your working knee an inch and stretch your leg to straight. Bend, stretch. Continue for about 20 reps. Stretch more quickly and take this up a notch by extending your left arm forward. Finish with 20-30 reps of bend/stretching your working leg. Your abdominals, glutes, hamstrings, quads, and arms will thank you. And yes, floor zinger works ALL of those areas of your body!
It wouldn’t be a Bar Method class without some core work, so next on the list is clam! Clam is extremely effective & creates a fast sizzle in the abdominals. It should also increase your heart rate! Clam is one of our favorite core exercises because of its full range of motion as you curl forwards and backwards. Your abdominals have to work just as much to control the out motion as they do on the curling forward movement, keeping your body engaged the entire time. Have a few minutes to spare? Let’s try clam together! Start by resting on the floor on your back (enjoy this moment, because you won’t be long). Cross your right knee over your left and your right arm over your other. Open your elbows to shoulder width apart and aim your elbows diagonally upwards. Lift your knees until they are above your hips or closer if needed. Dangle your feet down towards the floor. In 2 counts, curl at your waist towards your knees and move your knees in one inch towards your torso at the same time. In 2 counts, lower back to the floor and shift your knees 1 inch away from your torso. Continue for about 5 -10 reps. If you need more support for your neck, place your left hand behind your head. Hold at the top and curl in quickly towards your knees while you move your knees in a 1-inch range of motion towards your elbows for the last 20-30 reps. Feeling the burn? Yeah, we thought so.