You don't need to get up en pointe to take a ballet approach to getting fit. Ballet-inspired barre workouts are super-popular now — 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, which borrows from dance, yoga and Pilates. Here Mallett demonstrates plie side kicks.
Why you should try it: This total body exercise uses a chair for balance and targets the glutes, legs and oblique muscles. The obliques flank the abdominals and are considered part of the core. Done slowly, the exercise is great for toning — speed it up and you'll reap cardio benefits too.
What to do: Start with feet turned out, knees bent and over the feet, spine straight. Place hands in a prayer position at chest-level with abdominal muscles drawn in toward the spine. Transfer weight onto the leg closest to the chair, straighten the knee and rest the lower arm on the back of the chair. As you do that, extend the other leg out, with the hip and knee facing forward, engaging the oblique muscles. Try to lift the leg to hip height. Lower the leg to the floor as you transfer back to a plie.
How much: Do 15 repetitions on each side at a slow and controlled pace. For a cardio workout, speed up the tempo — but remember always to maintain good form.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun