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The Intense Barre Workout That Doubles As Cardio

Let’s be honest: Some people think barre class isn’t a real workout. Yeah, you know those friends who tell you they’ve taken a class (cough, once) and they didn’t even get sweaty. HA! Next time they try to share their “opinions” with you, take them to a barre class at Flex Studios, or better yet, dare them to do this workout designed by instructor Jackie Dragone.

Unlike any other barre workout you’ve done before this cardio routine will boost your heart rate to HIIT-levels within the first few minutes. (Merge it with this Upper-Body Barre Circuit to Sculpt Your Arms and Abs, and you’ll have yourself an intense full-body experience.) Let’s just say, when you finish, you’ll never hear a peep out of your friend again. Showers after are not optional. 

How it works: You’ll run through each exercise in the plank series, cardio series, thigh series, and glute series. Pay close attention to any one-sided moves that need to be repeated on the opposite side (either immediately following or a little later in the workout). Watch Jackie in the video above for more.

Total Time: up to 30 minutes

1. Plank Series: Pike Tap

A.

Come into a plank with shoulders over wrists and feet slightly apart. Lift hips into a pike as you tap right hand to left ankle (knee or shin, depending on your range of motion and flexibility). Return to plank and repeat on opposite side—tapping left hand to right ankle. That’s one rep.

Sets:

1

Reps:

8

2. Plank Series: Knee-to-Elbow Plank

A.

From a palm plank position, bring right knee to outside of right elbow. Return to plank and repeat on opposite side, brining left knee to outside of left elbow. That’s one rep.

Sets:

1

Reps:

8

3. Plank Series: Double Knee Tap

A.

Begin in a forearm plank with elbows directly under shoulder. Keep pelvis and spine as still as possible as you bend both knees to tap the floor, then straight them back into plank position. (Be careful not to sink into your lower back!). That’s one rep.

Sets:

1

Reps:

12

4. Cardio Series: Standing Knee Crunch

A.

Standing on left leg, knee bent and slightly turned out, tap right toes out to the side and reach arms up to the left (forming a diagonal with your body). From here, simultaneously draw right knee across chest and pull elbows down to flank knee. That’s one rep.

*Complete all reps on this side, then move to the opposite side, standing on right leg, pulling left knee into center.

Sets:

2 (one on the left, one on the right)

Reps:

15

5. Cardio Series: Cross Drop Punch

A.

From standing, pivot to left as you quickly come down into side lunge. At the same time, punch right arm across your body to the left.  Quickly hop and pivot to the right as you come down into a lunge, punching left arm cross body to the right. That’s one rep. Continue alternating side quickly.

Sets:

1

Reps:

8

6. Cardio Series: Flex Barre Burpee

A.

From standing, bend knees into a slight squat, reach hands to the floor, and walk them out into plank position. Pause briefly in plank before walking hands back toward feet, bending at the knees and returning to standing. That’s one rep, (For an extra challenge, add a push-up after you hit the plank.)

Sets:

1

Reps:

12

7. Cardio Series: Mountain Climber

A.

From high plank position, bring right knee into chest, then left knee into chest. That’s one rep. Quickly alternate legs. 

Sets:

1

Reps:

8

8. Thigh Series: Wide-Second Pulse

A.

Begin standing with your feet wider than hip-distance apart, toes turned out to a 45-degree angle. Bend knees, so they are directly above ankles, and pulse hips up and down using only a small range of motion. That’s one rep.

Sets:

1

Reps:

16

9. Thigh Series: Wide-Second Cross

A.

Begin in same wide stance with toes turned slightly out and knees bent over ankles. Draw right leg in to come directly in front of left leg, as you squeeze inner thighs together, standing and lifting heels off the floor as you do so. Immediately return to starting wide second position.

*You’ll complete all reps on this side and move on to the next move before repeating this exercise on the opposite side.

Sets:

2 (one on the left, one on the right)

Reps:

12

10. Thigh Series: Pivot Lunge

A.

Begin in same wide stance with toes turned slightly out and knees bent over ankles; thighs should be parallel to the floor and knees bent at a 90-degree angle. From here, pivot to the left to come into a fitness lunge with left leg in front of right. That’s one rep. Return to starting wide second position before repeating pivot lunge on same side.

*Complete all Pivot Lunge reps on this side before repeating both Wide-Second Cross and Pivot Lunge on opposite side. 

Sets:

2 (one on the left, one on the right)

Reps:

12

11. Glute Series: Lunge-Kick Combo

A.

From standing, perform a reverse lunge with right leg behind left, left knee directly over left ankle and right knee under the right hip. Press firmly into left heel as you come to standing, kicking right leg out in front of you. That’s one rep. Return to reverse lunge and repeat.

Sets:

2 (one on the left, one on the right)

Reps:

12

12. Glute Series: Single-Leg Burpee

A.

Begin standing on right leg, left knee bent and lifted toward chest. From here, place left knee on floor behind you, then reach right leg back straight behind you as you allow hands to lightly support you on the floor. Pull right leg back underneath your body and place right foot back on floor in front of you. Press into heel, squeeze right glute and stand up on the right leg, bringing left knee back into chest. 

*You’ll repeat this move on the opposite side only after you have completed all the exercises in this glute series. 

Sets:

2 (one on the left, one on the right)

Reps:

12

13. Glute Series: Kneeling Side Kick

A.

From all fours, with shoulders over wrists and knees under hips, extend right left straight back behind you. Then drop left forearm to floor with hand facing in as you open right hip and kick right leg out to the side. That’s one rep. Lift back up to both palms and return to starting position on all fours before repeating. 

*You’ll repeat this move on the opposite side only after you have completed all the exercises in this glute series. 

Sets:

2 (one on the left, one on the right)

Reps:

12

14. Glute Series: All-Fours Leg Lift

A.

Starting again from all fours, lift bent right knee up behind you with foot reaching to ceiling. Return knee to starting position before lifting same bent leg directly out to the side. That’s one rep. 

*Now that you've completed all glute series exercises on this side, start from the beginning of the series, and perform every glute move on the opposite side. 

Sets:

2 (one on the left, one on the right)

Reps:

12

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