You don't need to don a tutu to try a ballet-inspired barre workout. These drills are super-popular now and for good reason: They increase flexibility and tone muscles without adding bulk.
Pasadena-based fitness expert, video host and teacher Tracey Mallett (www.traceymallett.com) is the founder of Booty Barre, an approach that melds elements of dance, yoga and Pilates to strengthen and stretch the body. No prior experience required in those disciplines, though. What's important is keeping good form. Make sure that the spine, neck and head are aligned and that the movements are slow and deliberate. Here's a drill that Mallett calls "the booty lifter."
Why you should try it: It's great for toning the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps. Form is important — keep the back, neck and head in natural alignment and the hips parallel. Use small, controlled movements while lifting the leg.
What to do: Stand facing a chair, feet together. Bend your elbows and rest your arms and head on the back of the chair, bending 90 degrees at the waist. Contract the abdominals, push the shoulders down, away from the ears. Raise one leg behind you and bend it 90 degrees, with your supporting leg slightly bent, thigh parallel to the ground and your toe pointed. Pulse the leg upward slowly, then speed it up to double time.
How much to do it: Fifteen slow pulses and 15 quick ones. Repeat on the other leg.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun