Guest post by Barre Forte Gainesville Owner, Brinn Strange

Equally as important as creating a clean, clutter free and healthy home is dedicating time to clearing your mind and strengthening your body. A few simple, Barre-inspired exercises can help you stay in shape and leave your mind feeling more like a decluttered blank slate than a constantly buzzing to-do list. Read on for my favorite at-home exercises for when life gets in the way of getting to the gym:

Muscle Focus – Shoulders; Exercise – Front and Lateral Raise
Equipment – two water bottles or 1-2 pound weights
Total Time = 2 min.

Standing with good posture (heels under hips, knees softly bent, pelvis slightly tucked, core engaged, shoulders relaxing down from ears, gaze forward, ears over shoulders), hold equally weighted water bottles or dumbbells in each hand. Raise your arms to shoulder height and begin raising your arms in 1-inch lifts. Move at a steady pace for 30 seconds then switch to a faster, pulsing pace for 30 seconds.

Repeat this move to the side without dropping the weights in between. Once you’ve fatigued your shoulders, be sure to give them a quick stretch, too!

Bonus – do this with your heels lifted!

Muscle Focus – Calves; Exercise – Calf Raises
Equipment – Chair back or Kitchen counter
Total Time = 2-3 min.

Standing tall with toes pointing forward and heels straight back (parallel feet), place one hand lightly on your chair or countertop and releve (rise) up to the balls of your feet. Tuck your tailbone under slightly as you engage your core and roll your shoulders back and down from your ears. Gaze forward for a long neck (I like to imagine a string is connecting my head to the ceiling), and steadily drop your heels down and lift them up.

Focus on a strong squeeze at the top and push more into your big toe so that you don’t risk rolling your ankle. Do this for 30 seconds slowly, and then 30 seconds fast. Then, stop at the top and go up an inch from your highest point (again, 30 seconds slowly and 30 seconds fast).

As an advanced option, try to lift your arms overhead or hold with your eyes closed! Still not feeling a burn? Go for a second set from 1st position (heels touching in and toes turned out; this is not a ballet class, so find a natural turnout that feels comfortable for your hips). Finally, take a moment to stretch your calf muscles out by stepping one foot back, leaning forward, and pushing into your back leg by working your heel to the floor.

Muscle Focus – thighs (quadriceps); Exercise – Diamond leg to wide second
Equipment – back of a couch/chair/counter for balance
Total Time = 2-3 min.

Holding the back of a chair lightly (or not at all!), actively press your heels together with your toes turned out, your knees tracking your toes, and your hips square to the direction you are facing. Engage your core, roll your shoulders back and tuck your tail under. With your gaze forward, start to bend your knees down for 2 counts and then rise up for 2 counts by pressing into the balls of your feet.

To strengthen your thighs, find your lowest point (where you can keep your tail tucked under) and start lowering down an inch and lifting up an inch (30 seconds slow, 30 seconds fast pulsing). Then, press your knees out an inch working more outer thigh and booty. Again, 30 seconds slow to 30 seconds fast should create a nice burn. For even more, put these moves together—one bend, one press—in both a slow and fast tempo before stepping your feet out wide (ankles under knees when heels are lifted). Repeat the same pattern of down an inch to knees out an inch (or even a centimeter will do).

To modify this move, do it with your heels on the floor, to progress, lift your arms overhead keeping your core engaged. Once finished, be sure to hold onto your chair for balance and stretch your muscles by actively pulling your heel towards your buns, drawing your knee back, and pushing your hips forward. Maintain a soft bend in your support leg during stretches. And have fun!

Including stretches, this three-exercise sequence shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes, allowing you a chance to move, groove, and strengthen as you take a mental break from life’s stressors. Enjoy!

*Tip – Ask Alexa to play some of your favorite jams during your workout. Music set to a 128-132 bmp range works best.

Visit www.barrefortegainesville.com for more info on Barre Forte—Gainesville’s premier Barre boutique.


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