Barre Unbarred

Barre Inspired Exercises
Try a few barre-inspired exercises at home to improve posture and balance.

I am obsessed with barre method classes—so much so that I made my friends go to a barre class during my bachelorette party weekend! I’ve tried Bar Method, Pure Barre, and FlyBarre. Each class is different, but I truly enjoy the attention to alignment and dance-like formula of the class.

Here’s a barre-inspired workout specifically for color guard members.

Barre Inspired ExercisesArm Swing

Start in a wide second position, inhale, and curve your left arm up and over your head to your right side as you lift your left heel and tap your left toes. Exhale the arm down. It can swing. Repeat on the right side. Do 10 reps. This is your warmup.

Shoulder Squeeze

Next grab a set of light weights, 1 or 2 pounds. With a weight in each hand, take your arms into a modified second position with palms face down and a bit more of a bend in the elbow. Inhale and move your arms back, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Be sure not to open your rib cage—keep it closed and your abdominals tight. Tighten your abdominals even more as you exhale and move your arms forward to center and tap your weights. A full rep is back and forward to tap. Do 45 reps.

Even though the weights are light, you will definitely feel this workout in the tops of your shoulders. More reps and lighter weights are for toning whereas fewer reps and heavier weights are for building muscle.

Arm Swing with Weights

Repeat the warmup with your weights. Do 20 reps. You should feel this stretch along the side body. This movement involves cardio, so you should be able to get your heart rate up.

Barre Inspired ExercisesLeg Lifts and Crunches

Lie down on your back with a small playground or exercise ball under you. Raise your right leg and point your toes. Lower it back down. Repeat on the left side. A full rep is each side. Do 40 reps.

Still sitting slightly on the ball, sit up with your legs straight out in front of you. For an even greater challenge, take your hands behind your head with your elbows out to the side. Make sure to keep your ribs closed. If this position is too difficult, cross your arms in front of your chest and take hold of your shoulders. Keeping your navel pulled in, crunch forward up and back down. Do these for a full minute to 90 seconds, which will definitely feel like a significant amount of time.

Illustrations by Andriy Yankovskyy.

About author

Haley Greenwald-Gonella

Haley Greenwald-Gonella is a certified registered yoga teacher (200 RYT) with Yoga Alliance. She began dancing at the age of 3 and played flute and bassoon while growing up. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with degrees in dance and English. She has her master’s degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) from the University of Southern California. In addition, Haley is a director focusing on technology and innovation in the beauty sector.