Barre Workout for a Better Butt, Hips and Thighs

Want the body of a ballerina without the ballet shoes? Try this lower-body focused workout you can do at home

Slim and define your buns, hips and thighs in just two weeks with this workout from Xtend Barre, a ballet-inspired workout method that combines movements from Pilates and dance to chisel and define the entire body. By working the stabilizer muscles that connect large muscle groups, these moves slim the lower body to create a sculpted, but not bulky, physique explains Laurie Alfano, director of continuing education for Xtend Barre.

You don’t need a dance studio or ballet shoes to give this workout a try -- a sturdy chair with a high back or a countertop will work perfectly. For best results, Alfano recommends performing these moves as a circuit (back to back with little rest in between) on at least three non-consecutive days per week.

Leg Lengthener

Jessica Smith Xtend Barre Leg Lengthener

Courtesy of Xtend Barre

Starting Position: Open your legs to second position (legs wider than hips, feet turned out) and arms in second position (open wide to the sides at shoulder level, elbows soft, palms facing out from body).
The Movement: Plie by bending your knees out over your toes. Then quickly shift your weight onto your right foot as you extend the left leg, pointing your left foot on the floor and bringing your arms overhead [as shown]. Step back out to second position and then repeat with right leg.
Repetitions: Thirty-two in total, switching legs each time.
 

Thigh-Toning Series

Jessica Smith Xtend Barre Thigh-Toning Series

Courtesy of Xtend Barre

Starting Position: Stand with your feet together in first position with your heels touching and toes turned out about 45 degrees. Hold onto the back of a chair or countertop for balance With your left hand. Place your right arm in first position (your arm slightly rounded, palm facing in and fingertips positioned in front of the sternum).
Demi Plie: Begin with a set of demi (half) plies by bending both knees out over your toes while keeping your heels pressed into the floor. Extend your legs, squeezing the backs of your knees together and engaging your inner thighs. As you plie, press down through the heels and engage your abdominal muscles.
Releve Plie Pulse: Lower into a demi plie and lift your heels slightly off the floor, keeping your heels touching [as shown]. Bend deeper and lower as far as possible and then quickly lift back up to the demi plie start position.
Repetitions: Repeat each move 16 times.
 

Tush & Thigh Sculptor

Jessica Smith Xtend Barre Tush Thigh Sculptor

Courtesy of Xtend Barre

Starting Position: Stand in second position with your feet about 3 feet apart and toes turned out about 45 degrees. Use your right hand to hold the back of a chair or countertop for balance and hold your left arm in second position (slightly rounded and extended out to side of body, with your palm facing in).
The Movement: Lower into a plie, keeping your knees over your toes as they bend [as shown]. Lift your heels off the floor and lower deeply into a plie. Hold for one count. Staying on the balls of the feet, straighten your legs and rise up, squeezing your gluteal muscles, then lower your heels to floor. Be sure to keep your back straight and abs pulled in during the entire exercise.
Repetitions: 16 times in total.
 

Rear-End Raiser

Jessica Smith Xtend Barre Rear End Raiser

Courtesy of Xtend Barre

Starting Position: Stand with your feet together and extend your arms straight, resting them on the back of your chair or countertop for balance.
The Movement: Lift your heels off the floor, bend your knees and sit back into your hips as if you were going to sit in a chair. Keep your knees lined up over your heels [as shown]. Maintaining good posture (shoulders back, chest lifted and abs tight), hold the position for eight counts.
Repetitions: Keeping your back and arms straight, ower and lift your body a few inches in each direction 16 times. Finally, lower your heels and hold the lowest position once more for eight counts.
 

Inner Thigh Slimmer

Jessica Smith Xtend Barre Inner Thigh Slimmer

Courtesy of Xtend Barre

Starting Position: Stand in second position with your right arm in second position hold onto the back of a chair or countertop for balance.
The Movement: Bend your knees over your toes and lower yourself as far as possible, keeping your knees pointed out over your toes. Shift your weight onto your left foot, bending your right knee into a front attitude position (knee lifted and rotated outward). As the left leg straightens, bring your right arm overhead, with elbow slightly bent and palm facing in [as shown]. Quickly open your arm and leg into second position.
Repetitions: 16 times, then switch sides for another 16.
 

Total Body Toner

Jessica Smith Xtend Barre Total Body Toner

Courtesy of Xtend Barre

Starting Position: Stand with your feet together facing the back of your chair or countertop. Fold forward at the waist, placing your extended arms on the chair or counter. Hold them slightly wider than your shoulders for balance. Press your arms firmly against the chair or counter and bend your knees slightly.
The Movement: Lift your right heel off of the floor as your left leg extends out straight behind your hip, almost parallel to the floor, with foot pointed [as shown].       
Repetitions: Pulse your left leg, lifting and lowering it a few inches in each direction, 16 times. Flex your foot and pulse for 16 more reps, lower your right heel and left leg back to start and repeat on the other side. Keep abdominals drawn in during the entire exercise.

 

Hip & Thigh Shaper

Jessica Smith Xtend Barre Hip Thigh Shaper

Courtesy of Xtend Barre

Starting position: Stand with your feet together in first position, your left hand holding onto the back of a chair or countertop and your right arm extended in front of your shoulder, parallel to the floor with the palm facing down.
The Movement: Bend your left knee out over your toes while keeping your heel on the ground. Reach your  right arm up and out on a diagonal line from shoulder as your right leg extends back behind your hip, with the ball of the foot pressed into the floor [as shown]. Quickly straighten your left leg and bring your right leg into passe position (bend your right knee out to the side, pointing your right foot and pressing your toes against the inside of the left knee). Raise your arm overhead with the elbow slightly bent and palm facing down. Bend the left leg and lower the right leg back to the floor behind your body to repeat.
Repetitions: 16 repetitions on each leg.
 

Booty Blaster

Jessica Smith Xtend Barre Booty Blaster

Courtesy of Xtend Barre

Starting Position: Stand facing the back of chair or counter with your feet together in first position, arms extended with both hands resting lightly on top of chair back or counter.
The Movement: Brace your abs in tight and brush your left leg behind your hip. Avoid arching the lower back as leg lifts. Point your left foot [as shown]. Return to start.
Repetitions: 16 times in total and then switch legs.
 

Saddlebag Trimmer

Jessica Smith Xtend Barre Saddlebag Trimmer

Courtesy of Xtend Barre

Starting Position: Stand with your left side to the chair or counter, one arm length away, with your feet in first position. Bend your left elbow, resting your forearm lightly on the back of a chair or counter, with your right hand on your hip.
The Movement: Bend your knees slightly and lift your right leg out to the side, parallel to the floor, in line with your hip (or as high as possible). Lift your leg a few inches and sweep it in front of your body as far as possible without letting your torso move. Then lift slightly higher and sweep the leg to the back of your body. That’s one repetition.
Repetitions: Move leg smoothly from front to back, with the emphasis on lifting the leg to move it, for 16 repetitions on each side.
 

Calf, Thigh and Seat Strengthener

Jessica Smith Xtend Barre Calf Thigh Seat Strengthener

Courtesy of Xtend Barre

Starting Position: Stand with your feet together facing the back of your chair or countertop.
The Movement: Lift your heels, rising up onto the balls of your feet, squeezing your glutes and inner thigh muscles together. Hold for one count and then lightly lower your heels to the floor.
Repetitions: Repeat eight times at a slow and controlled pace, focusing on squeezing through the inner thighs each time you lift your heels. Then do 16 repetitions at a faster tempo (as quickly as you can while maintaining good posture and control).
 

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