February 23, 2015
This classic barre workout is an amazing butt and back thigh (aka, hamstrings) lifter. You will need a strong and stable support to hold onto for balance. A mirror may also come in handy to check your body positioning and form.
Warmup for five minutes by walking, jogging, or doing some other form of cardiovascular exercise before beginning.
STANDING SEAT WORK
Holding onto a support with your heels together, legs in a slight turnout and shoulders stacked over your hips, take your outside leg back about 45 degrees from your hips, keeping your inside leg slightly soft. Lift your outside leg up while keeping your back from moving. Tap leg down to floor and up making sure the lift and work happens in your glutes and not your back. Do this 20 times. Turn around and change legs.
Make it easier: Keep toes down on the ground on that 45 degree angle and simply bend and straighten the leg through the knee while engaging the glutes.
Make it harder: Make movement quicker and possibly even lift standing heel up onto what we call in barre (and dance) as “releve’,” (not pictured).
Troubleshoot: Don’t move through your back. Keep glutes engaged.
Holding support, square off hips and keep inside leg soft. Extend leg and point outside leg back and behind you.
Hinge at the hips and move the body (shoulder to toe line) like a seesaw down and up on a slow, two count beat. Do this 10 times. Repeat other leg.
Make it easier: Do not move as deeply. For example, keep upper body more upright and don’t let extended, outside leg lift as high as strength and flexibility of standing leg will allow.
Make it harder: As strength and flexibility increase, move deeper in this position and speed the movement up to a two count beat.
Troubleshoot: Don’t turn out the hip of the extended leg and don’t lock out the standing knee. You will also notice that you’ll feel this on the standing leg’s glutes and hamstrings. #letitshake #letitchange
V POSITION SIT BACKS
Holding support, turn body on profile and bring legs into an athletic turnout. Press heels together as you lift them. Bend knees and hinge body forward at the hips, keeping back straight and head in line with spine.
Press hips up toward ceiling while keeping the legs softly bent. Repeat 20 times as you breathe in on the bend, and breath out on the lift. #justbreathe
Make it easier: Straighten legs less.
Make it harder: Straighten legs more and move more quickly.
Troubleshoot: Do not move through the lower back. Your movement comes from pressing up through the hip-hinge so you have to have flexibility in the glutes and hamstrings. This is where a mirror is very helpful. #formfirst
PROFILE LUNGE PULLS
Standing profile to your support, on an inhale, take outside leg back and move into a vertical lunge (aka, split lunge) with shoulders stacked over the hips and front knee above front ankle.
On an exhale, stand up while pressing through the inside heel and lifting the outside knee so that your body is standing more upright. Return to start. Repeat 20 times. Change sides.
Make it easier: Keep outside leg down and toes curled to move only in a lunge and don’t lift the outside leg up. This will help you dynamically stretch the hip flexors of the outside hip (which could be your inhibitor here) as well as help you get strength in your standing hip and hamstrings.
Make it harder: Move more quickly and kick the outside leg out into an extension (not shown).
Troubleshoot: Do not be tempted to move through the back as you lift and lower the outside leg. And if it’s hard for you to bend back knee down without thrusting the chest forward, step back leg in a tiny bit to see if this helps.
ADVANCED LUNGEOVER PRETZEL OPTION
For the most advanced, to polish out this seat workout, stand and face your support. Take front leg out and hinge over the back leg keeping your back straight. Lift back (standing) heel and deeply bend knee. Pull front (working) heel toward hips and turn the knee out while only allowing the front hip to turnout a little. Pulse the shape of the leg up 20 times. Change sides.
Troubleshoot: More weight of the standing foot should be on the big and second toes. Your back should not move through this exercise. Only the shape of the leg should pulse up.
Click here to download the printable PDF of this workout! SBF Barre Seat Work