Three New Bar Method Moves You Can Do Anywhere
July 6, 2020
We’re here to support you where, how, and when you want to Bar, so we’re excited to bring you three new Bar Method exercises you can do from anywhere! Like all of The Bar Method’s movements, we worked with our physical therapists on staff to develop these new moves to give you effective results while keeping your joints safe inside and outside of the studio.
If you’ve been taking virtual classes with your Bar Method studio, you may have already been introduced to these new exercises. If not, allow us to introduce you to these highly effective exercises that can be done in your living room, outdoors, in the studio, or wherever it is that you barre!
Pendulum Flat-Back Curl
Flat-back is a signature Bar Method move designed target your core muscles and elevate your heart rate before starting curl work. Not only is it effective for targeting the rectus abdominus (the six-pack abdominal muscle), but it helps to align your spine relieving back pain. However, flat back requires use of the barre leaving many students without an option to do this exercise at home during virtual classes. The Bar Method introduced pendulum flat-back curl, an ab exercise that offers similar core and back benefits to traditional flat-back.
Pendulum flat-back curl can be done using only a mini mat or a folded towel making it an easy move to do outside of the studio. Plus, it’s easy to modify if you have hip or back discomfort. To execute, lay on your back, press your legs together, pull your abs down, and tilt your pelvis upward. You can either straighten your legs or keep a slight bend in them to keep your back and hamstrings comfortable. If that still feels uncomfortable, you can bend your legs at 90 degrees. Unlike other curl work, you will not place your hands behind your head. Instead, extend your arms on both sides to form a T-shape position.
Keeping your pelvis tilted upward and your lower back and rib cage pressed firmly to the ground, slowly point both legs four to eight inches to the left. Use your obliques to pull your legs back to center before repeating as your instructor guides you through the movement. If you are doing this move during class, your instructor may ask you to repeat the same movement to the left again or to switch directions and replicate the movement to the right, alternating between sides.
Not only does this core-focused move slim your waistline and strengthen your obliques, but pendulum flat-back also tones inner and outer thighs, creates flexibility in your lower back, and even engages arm muscles. It’s a total body exercise that can be done anywhere.
Oblique Leg Lifts
Oblique leg lifts are the newest addition to curl work; as the name suggests, oblique leg lifts were designed to target your obliques, but the move will also strengthen your spine and hip abductors while simultaneously toning your inner and outer thighs.
To do oblique leg lifts correctly, you will want to learn how to set up properly first and foremost. To begin, lie on your right side with your hips and legs stacked on top of each other. Bend your right arm and rest your head on your hand or you can extend your arm and rest your head on your arm. Use your other hand for stability and plant it on the floor in front of you. The correct placement for your left hand is to have your fingertips pointed toward your head and your elbow pointed toward your feet.
Now, point your feet, straighten your legs and activate your glutes. Exhale and use your obliques to lift both legs in the air. However, if lifting both legs at the same time is too difficult, keep your bottom leg on the floor and lift only the top leg. Hold while your instructor counts and then lower your legs back to the floor. If you are lifting both legs, they should be kept together during the entire movement and lifted in slow and controlled movements.
Diagonal Shoulder Walks
Diagonal shoulder walks will have your shoulders fired up quickly and though those final counts will be challenging, the benefits of this shoulder exercise are worth every second. Diagonal shoulder walks improve shoulder mobility, and strengthen your mid-back, rotator cuff, and medial deltoids. Additionally, the focus on these areas of your body will create better posture which has its own set of benefits, too.
To execute this shoulder exercise, pick up a set of light or heavier weights, position your feet hip-width apart and soften your knees. If you are taking a class at home and do not have weights, use a pair of soup cans or wine bottles. Engage your glutes and bend forward slightly to activate your core. Rest the tops of your weights on your thighs with your palms facing inward before rotating them slightly outward. Keeping your arms straight, raise both arms to shoulder height. Your arms should form a V-shape. Lower the weights back to your thighs before repeating the movement as your instructor coaches.
After lifting your weights this way for a few counts, your instructor will have you rotate your thumbs down—almost as if you were emptying a bottle in each hand. You will alternate between this rotation to the beat of the music between thumbs up and thumbs down.