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The Upper-Body Barre Circuit That Will Sculpt Your Arms and Abs

When you think about barre workouts, you might immediately think lower body—I mean, hello, ballerina booty—but while it's true that barre class can help shape your hammies, calves, thighs, and butt, it also works in some pretty killer moves to burn out your upper body, too.

Jackie Dragone, an instructor at Flex Studios in NYC, is sharing her arms and abs circuit that she builds into her cardio barre class at the studio, which also offers Pilates reformer and TRX classes, too.

Combining arms and abs exercises is a great way to focus on defining those muscles without taxing them too much, too soon, as Dragone's routine hits all the right places in the right amount of reps. (Keep the burn going with these 6 Easy Moves for a Buff Upper Body.)

How it works: You'll run through a series of arm moves and then a series of abs exercises before repeating the entire circuit 4 times through. The key is to jump from move to move quickly, without resting. You'll take a deserved-but-quick rest between circuits before closing out the entire workout with a static plank.

Total Time: up to 30 minutes

1. Arms Series: Offset Push-Up

A.

Start in a plank position, shoulders over wrists and feet hip-distance apart. Walk right arm open so shoulders are now facing to the front right diagonal. Perform a push-up, then walk right hand back to plank position. Repeat on other side, opening left arm to front left diagonal. That's one rep.

Sets:

1

Reps:

8 per side

2. Arms Series: Side Plank Drop-Down

A.

From plank position, drop down to right forearm reaching left arm to ceiling opening hips to the left. From this side plank position, place left hand back down to floor and press back up onto right hand, coming back to starting plank position.

Sets:

1

Reps:

8 per side

3. Arms Series: Triceps Dip

A.

Seated with knees bent and feet on the floor, place hands behind you with fingertips facing your butt. Lift hips off of the floor and shift weight back into hands. Cross right ankle over left knee, keeping hips square. Bend elbows directly behind you, keeping them parallel. Squeeze into triceps to straighten arms. That's one rep. Lower back down to seated, cross left ankle over right knee and repeat.

Sets:

1

Reps:

15 per side

4. Abs Series: Crunch to Tabletop Crunch

A.

Lying down with hands behind head and knees bent, perform small crunches up, folding ribs to hips. Pulse for 10 reps.

B.

Immediately after last pulse, lift knees to tabletop position (lifted and bent at 90-degree angle directly over hips). Crunch, pulsing again for 10 reps.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10 each

5. Abs Series: Bicycle Crunch

A.

Lying down with hands behind head, chest lifted and shoulder blades off the floor, bring right elbow toward left knee, keeping chest open and extending right leg out long. Repeat on opposite side with left elbow coming to right knee. That's one rep. Continue alternating sides.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10

6. Abs Series: Leg Reach

A.

Lying down, straighten both legs to the ceiling. Maintain a crunch position with chest lifted and shoulder blades off the floor, and reach hands to toes. That's one rep.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10

7. Abs Series: Diagonal Mountain Climber

A.

From a plank position, bring right knee across chest to left elbow, and quickly alternate sides crossing left knee to right elbow. That's one rep.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10

8. Static Plank Hold

A.

Repeat the entire circuit 4 times through before ending by holding a static plank for 30-60 seconds.

Sets:

1

Reps:

1

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