Try This at Home: A Ballet Barre Workout

Get the lithe legs, lean core, and toned tush -- plus the poise -- of a dancer with this DIY "barre burner" workout.

Note to beginner ballerinas: Rest your fingertips on a chair or table; don't pinch your back or lean too heavily on your "barre" or you'll miss out on the benefits.



Penche
What It Does: Works the entire lower body; builds balance and stability

How to Do It: With feet and thighs turned out ballerina-style, hinge forward to a flat back and lightly grasp the seat of a chair. Look at the floor to keep the neck long. Lift the right leg straight out behind you, hips open, until it reaches hip height. Then lift as high as you can and lower back to hip height. Repeat 10 to 20 times.

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Wide Plie
What It Does: Tones quads, inner thighs, and calves

How to Do It: Stand with legs straight and feet wide apart, toes turned out. Do 10 to 20 deep plies, bending the knees deeply until they're directly over your toes. On the last plie, lift and lower heels together 10 to 20 times.



Back Attitude
What It Does: Tones core, hips, and glutes

How to Do It: With legs turned out, bend both knees slightly and shoot right leg out behind you several inches off the floor, keeping knees bent and torso forward. Lift the leg just high enough that the glutes engage, then return to start. Do 20 lifts; at the top of the last rep, hold and pulse up and down 20 times. Switch legs.



Pretzel Extention
What It Does: Tones core, hips, and glutes

How to Do It: Sit on floor with left knee bent (outer leg on the floor) and right knee bent behind it (inner thigh on the floor). Resting fingertips on either side of the left knee, lift the right leg -- either keeping it bent or extending it straight behind you (as shown). At the top of the last rep, hold and do 10 to 15 mini pulses up and down. Switch legs.



Kneeling Gate
What It Does: Works upper back, core, hips, and outer thighs

How to Do It: From a kneeling position, bring left palm to the floor directly under shoulder. Place right hand behind your ear and extend right leg so it's parallel with the floor. Keep toes pointed, knee facing forward (not up). Make 10 small circles in one direction, then 10 in the other. Repeat with the other leg.

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Plie in First Position
What It Does: Tones legs

How to Do It: To start, rise onto balls of the feet, heels touching, hips turned out, knees slightly bent. Lower into a deeper plie, then return to start. Do 10 to 20 plies, holding the last one for 20 seconds.



Heel Lift
What It Does: Tones hips, glutes of the lifted leg, and quads of the standing leg; strengthens core

How to Do It: Facing the back of a chair, hinge at hips with a flat back. Extend arms straight out, resting palms on back of chair. Bend right leg and lift to hip height, pushing heel toward the ceiling. Keeping hips square, pump leg up and down 10 to 20 times. Repeat on other leg.

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