For centuries, a simple device called the ballet barre helped dancers develop gorgeous and graceful bodies. Whether you want to be a dancer, look like one, or play a Natalie Portman-type of character in the movies, a ballet barre routine might help you reach your goals. Even better, the combination of the ballet barre and a set of resistance bands offers you a diverse selection of strength-training exercises.
Push- Pull Sequence
Fold the tube in half, place the attachment device at its center and attach the tube to the barre.
Face the barre, hold the tubing handles and step back until your arms are taut.
Bend your knees and sit back into a squat. Simultaneously bend your elbows and squeeze your shoulder blades together, as if you were catching a pencil between them.
Straighten your arms and legs and return to the starting position. Perform 15 repetitions.
Turn around so that your back is to the barre. Grasp the tube handles, bend your elbows and align your thumbs with the center of your chest.
Step forward into a lunge position with your right foot. Bend both knees and lift your left heel. Simultaneously straighten your arms into a bench press.
Return to the starting position. Do eight reps on each side.
Strength and Balance Sequence
Stand with your back facing the bar. Externally rotate your right leg, so your knee and foot face out to the side.
Place a long, flat resistance band under your right foot. Hold each end with each hand.
Bend your left knee and place your left foot on the barre, keeping the knee in a slightly turned-out position.
Bend your right knee and perform a demi-plie. At the same time, bend your elbows and perform an upright row.
Straighten your arms and legs and bring it home. Perform eight repetitions.
Turn around and place your right foot on the barre with a bent knee. Wrap the resistance around your right foot, and hold each end with each hand.
Straighten your right leg against the band's resistance. Perform a biceps curl as you straighten you leg. Do eight repetitions, then do the entire sequence on your other leg.
Attach the tubing to the barre.
Stand sideways so your right hip faces the barre.
Extend your arms and raise them so they are just below chest height.
Bend your right knee and lift your right foot from the floor.
Engage your core and rotate your upper torso to the right. Slowly return to the starting position. Perform 10 repetitions
Stay facing the same direction, but step farther away from the barre
Hold the band handles with both hands, as if you were holding a golf club.
Swivel your hips to the left, and let your upper torso follow. Unravel your hips and return to the start. Do 10 reps, and repeat the sequence on the other side.
- Perform these exercises in the order that they were presented.
- Check your bands for cracks and tears.
- Use a sturdy barre. Portable barres might be too flimsy.
- Work with a partner if you have balance problems.
In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.