6 Simple Barre Stretches You Can Do Anywhere | Barre Variations

6 Simple Barre Stretches You Can Do Anywhere

by | Apr 26, 2021 | 0 comments

6 Simple Barre Stretches You Can Do Anywhere

Barre stretches can help you loosen those muscles and improve your flexibility, but did you know there is a wide variety of barres you can do anywhere? Here’s our guide to 6 simple barre stretches for anywhere.

Barre workouts are synonymous with shaking and burning. However, something not to forget is the ability to use the barre to increase flexibility. Just like in a ballet class, the barre is used to help stretch the muscles in an upright position. If you don’t have a ballet barre don’t worry, you can use a chair or even counter top instead. Standing to stretch can help increase flexibility more so than sitting on the floor, because spinal flexibility is taken out of the equation. Stretching on the ground requires both, where as standing you can isolate the legs and the spine resulting in overall increased flexibility. So if you’re feeling burnt out try these 6 simple barre stretches that you can do anywhere to increase flexibility:

 

1. 2nd position Plié with a Lateral Side Bend 

lateral side stretch in 2nd position

This exercise helps stretch and open up the hips as well as  the sides of the body.

How to:

Start standing with the feet a little wider than hip width apart with the legs externally rotated (this is a ballet 2nd position). Take a resistance band (or rolled up towel) and hold it over your head (or in front of your chest). Then bend both knees, directing the knees over the toes, while bending to the right side. Straighten both legs, and repeat to the other side. Do this 8-10 times per side. 

 

 

Tips: 

Keep the knees pointing over the toes. 

Draw the abdominals in.

Keep the band taught. 

Tailbone points to the floor.

2. 2nd position with Spinal Rotation

spinal rotation with band photo

This exercise increases spinal mobility in rotation, allowing the spine to become more flexible.

How to:

Start standing with the feet a little wider than hip width apart with the legs externally rotated (in a ballet 2nd position). Take a resistance band (or rolled up towel) and hold it in front of your chest. Keep the right arm pointing straight ahead (only if using the band), and begin to rotate to the left. Pull the band as much as you can while looking over the left shoulder. Return to center and repeat to the other side. Continue to do this 8-10 times per side. 

 

Tips:

Keep both frontal hips bones pointing straight ahead.

Tailbone points to the floor.

Keep the knees pointing over the toes. 

Draw the abdominals in.

 

3. Flexion and Extension Barre Stretches

spinal flexion at the barre photospinal extension at the barre photo

The flexion and extension also improves spinal flexibility. It also allows for  increased flexibility in the later hamstring stretches. 

How to:

Stand facing a ballet barre, or chair with the legs parallel and inner hip width apart. Begin by looking up towards the ceiling arching the upper back for spinal extension. Then bring the chin towards the chest,  bend the knees to round the spine for spinal flexion. Hang back only if holding a fixed sturdy barre, if not just lightly hold the barre or chair and round the spine. Then stand back up. Repeat these actions 8-10 times. 

Tips:

Avoid over craning the neck in the extension.

Avoid over arching the lower back in the extension.

Keep the shoulders away from the ears.

 

4. Quad Stretch with the Band (IMAGE: 20170507_MichelleDuvall_Barre0842)

quad stretch with band photo

This stretch is for the quadriceps which get worked a lot in barre classes, and in life!

How to:

Take a resistance band or towel and wrap it around the right ankle. Hold the barre or chair with the left hand. Begin to draw the knees towards each other, and pull the band or towel lifting the right heel towards the bottom. Create more of an active stretch in the quadriceps by pushing the right foot into the towel or band. 

 

 

Tips:

Press the frontal hip ones forward.

Tailbone points to the floor.

Draw the abdominals in.

 

5. Simple Hamstring Barre Stretch

hamstring stretch at the barre photo

This final stretch combines spinal flexibility and hamstring flexibility. 

How to:

Stand parallel to the barre with the legs in a slight external rotation and the heels touching (this is a ballet 1st position). Take the leg furthest from the ballet barre and lift it up onto the barre so the back of the ankle is resting on the barre. Lift the same arm as leg up and begin to fold forward into the hamstring stretch. Hold for about 30 seconds. Repeat on the other leg. 

 

 

Tips:

Keep the spine lengthened.

If the leg cannot reach the barre, stand on a yoga block.

Keep the standing leg straight.

Breathe!

 

6. Straddle Stretch on the floor 

straddle on the floor photo

This final stretch combines spinal flexibility and hamstring flexibility. 

How to:

Sit on the floor, either on top of a rolled up mat, block, or bolster if needed, and separate the legs as wide as you can. Take the hands to the floor, or onto the legs for support, and start to walk them forward until you feel the desired stretch.

 

Tips:

Keep the spine lengthened.

If the spine is too rounded, or the hip flexors straining sit on  top of a rolled up mat, block, or bolster.

Anchor the sit bones into the floor.

Breathe!

 

Make space!

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