An 8-Move Barre Workout for Your Butt and Thighs

Barre Assemblés — 10 reps each side

Barre Assembles

  • Start in a deep second position with toes pointed out, hands resting on the back of the chair.
  • Straighten your legs, and cross your right leg over your left, keeping your toes flexed. Your thighs should touch and your right heel should almost touch your left toes when your legs are both straight.
  • Return to your deep squat (second position).
  • Do 10 reps. Switch sides.

This move really hits your inner and outer thighs, thanks to the lateral movement and the turnout of your foot. You’re also challenging your balance by engaging your core as you switch the weight from both legs to one, and your quads as you bend into the squat.

Again, be sure to keep your knees over your toes in the plié. Dreusike says to think of centering the weight in between your two legs instead of coming down and leaning harder into one side.

Assemblé Pulses — 10 reps each side

Assemblé pulses

  • Stand tall with your hands resting gently on the barre or back of the chair, toes pointed out and heels touching.
  • Keeping your toes flexed, bring your right leg in front of your left, almost connecting your right heel to your left toes.
  • Then, circle your right leg back out and behind your left leg, crossing until your right toes almost line up with your left heel.
  • Continue crossing your right leg in front and then behind the left for 10 reps.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Dreusike says to let your heel lead your leg here. The movement should be small—you’re tapping into the smaller muscles in your inner thighs to pull the leg in and out.

Try to keep your standing leg stable and focus on making the movement small and controlled. Squeeze your glutes so your hips don’t move around, Dreusike says, and keep your abs engaged and upper body stable, using the chair to balance if you need it.

Thigh Super Burner — 10 reps each side

Thigh Super Burner

  • Stand tall with your hands resting gently on the barre or back of the chair, toes pointed out.
  • Bring your right toes behind your left knee in a passé (right leg bent, knee facing out). Keep your right toes pointed.
  • Extend your right leg behind you, then return to passé.
  • Do 10 reps. Switch sides and repeat.

You’re using your inner and outer thighs during this entire move, plus your core as you pull the leg into center.

When you extend your leg behind you, try not to cross it behind your standing shoulder—extend it straight out behind you instead. “We have a habit of jamming that working shoulder forward and crossing our leg behind it,” Dreusike says. When you keep it in line with the right side of your body, you work more of the muscles that wrap up and around the butt.

4-Part Arabesque Lunges — 10 reps each side

4 Part Arabesque Lunges

  • Stand tall with your hands resting on the back of the chair, left foot crossed in front of your right, standing on your toes with your thighs squeezing together.
  • Extend your right leg behind you into an arabesque.
  • Bring your right leg down to the start position, squeezing your thighs together. Bend your left knee and slide your right leg back into a low lunge.
  • Return to start position.
  • Do 10 reps. Repeat on the other side.

Your glutes will really feel this one, thanks to the arabesque and lunge motions. You’re also working your external rotators—the muscles that essentially cup your butt.

This is a big movement with a huge range of motion, especially if you can get really deep into the lunge and then bring your leg up high in the arabesque. But if your range of motion isn’t that big, start slow and increase your speed when you can.

Arabesque Pulses — 10 reps each side

Arabesque Pulses

  • Stand in relevé (on your toes) behind the chair with your hands resting lightly on the chair back, toes pointed out.
  • Extend your right leg out behind you into an arabesque, keeping it straight behind you and your toes pointed.
  • Pulse your leg up and down.
  • Do 10 reps. Repeat on the other side.

“You see these a lot in a regular barre class,” Dreusike says. “The way I do them is a little bigger in the range of motion. Move down an inch, and up an inch.” The glute muscles in your standing leg work a lot, too, to keep you stable.

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