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megan@barrebodystudio.com

Form Friday: Chair

Chair pose is the pose you LOVE to hate in class. It burns, you shake, and it tones your thighs like none other. Keep these tips in mind when performing chair pose!

Start stepping in nice and close to the barre, with your hips almost touching the barre. Hips should be stacked over your ankles to start. Send your weight back through your heels and pull away from the barre, sitting down, as if into a chair. Press down through your heels to feel your hamstrings really engage. Your arms should be straight, your shoulders should be back and down and your chest open. This creates a great stretch across your chest and shoulders. Focus on opening the chest and driving the shoulders down. Lengthen through the crown of your head and pull your head into a neutral position. Your shoulders should be stacked right over your hips, (no bums sticking out!!) your tailbone should be slightly tucked, which means that your core is engaged throughout chair. Make sure your knees are stacked right over you ankles and your knees stay in line with your toes.

Once you’ve mastered this position with your heels down, you can shift your weight to the balls of your feet and lift your heels. This is a variation of chair targeting the quads more. Lift your heels as high as you can to challenge your quads and calves. Knowing all of these wonderful benefits won’t make chair any easier, but hopefully it helps motivate you to hold the pose longer, to push yourself deeper and deeper each time.

Let’s review…
Form-Friday-Chair-2-693x1024  

XO
Barre Body Studio - Calgary


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megan@barrebodystudio.com

Form Friday: Pretzel

The Pretzel is one of BBS’s favorite positions! It is the ultimate move to lift your seat and carve out a lean waistline (bye bye muffin tops). Use these tips to get the most out of your pretzel!

Start seated with one leg at a 90 degree angle in front of you and your other leg behind you. Your back knee should be behind the hip forming a “Z” like position with your legs. Place your hands on the floor in front of you; one hand should lay flat in front of the ankle while the opposite hand frames the outside of the knee. Shift your weight to the center, and keep your shoulders and hips square. You want your chest to stay in the same line as your front thigh. Once you feel stable, lift your back leg up a few inches off the floor as while keeping your core and glutes engaged. You are working to sit as tall as possible with your shoulders relaxed and the chest lifted. It is essential that your working leg stay behind your hip (at 3/9 o’clock). As you get started, you may need to lean slightly forward and away from your lower body in order to be able to lift your working leg. If necessary, you can always modify by lowering down onto the same forearm as your front leg.

The reason for this position’s success is its ability to incorporate surrounding muscle groups. As soon as you lift your back leg in pretzel position, you are using every muscle, from the obliques to your glutes and hamstrings, making those muscles wrap around your entire back and seat to assist in supporting each other.

Let’s review…  
Pretzel-Form-Friday-1024x768   

XO
Barre Body Studio - Calgary


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megan@barrebodystudio.com

Form Friday: Plank

Plank is an isometric exercise that revs up your heart rate and tones your entire body. In plank, you are actively using your core, chest, back, shoulders, glutes and thighs to stabilize the position. Plank proves that even in stillness, you can get the heart rate lifted and strengthen your entire body!

Here’s how it’s done. Start from a kneeling position; place your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart, with your shoulders stacked over your wrists. Step your feet back and straighten your legs so that your body forms a straight line from your head to your heels. Engage your core by tilting your pelvis and pulling your belly button toward your spine. Keep your abdominal muscles engaged and your glutes tight. These are the two major muscle groups you’ll be working in this exercise. The challenge is to actively use your core to keep your hips in line with your shoulders. Draw your shoulder blades down your back and keep your neck and spine neutral. Imagine that you’re a plank of wood. This requires a lot of concentration to maintain proper form, so now is the time to start bringing your body and mind together.

Let’s review…  
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megan@barrebodystudio.com

Form Friday: Bridge

When you think of a bridge, you likely picture iconic structures from around the world with a strong base and a supported center. Take that idea of a solid form and use it to create your own bridge—with your body.

Start lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the mat. Your knees should be stacked over your ankles and in line with your feet. Lengthen the arms and press the palms of the hands into the mat. Both shoulder blades should be pressing into the mat with the chest open. This creates a great stretch across your chest and shoulders. Engage your core, pulling the belly button to the spine with the tailbone slightly tucked. Press down through your heels to feel your hamstrings engage and squeeze your glutes as you lift your hips off the ground. Your body should form a line from the knees all the way down to the shoulders. Bridge targets your core, low back, glutes and hamstrings. Some variations of bridge also target your quadriceps and inner thighs.

Once you have mastered this position, you can go into many different versions of bridge. Knowing this basic setup will help you build a strong foundation and allow you to get deeper into your practice.  

Let’s review…
FormFridayBridge

The BBS YYC Team


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megan@barrebodystudio.com

Form Friday: Fold Over

Fold Over on the barre can be uncomfortable, as we all know! It takes strength and proper body positioning to ease through a full set of this exercise! Read on to set it up right and you’ll be on your way to a strong core and tush in no time! Start facing the barre and separate the hands a little wider than the shoulders. Walk back until the arms are fully extended, the torso is parallel to the floor and hips are directly on top of the ankles. This position can also be set up with the forearms on the barre, and the forehead resting on the arms which will offer more support to the neck and low back (we all need a little more support from time to time). Feet are parallel and hip distance apart. It is important to start in a neutral spine with the core engaged, breathing into the low back. Taking the time to set this up will keep your spine fully protected and prevent back injuries! Draw the shoulder blades down, with the collarbones wide and the upper back soft. Starting in the right glut, soften through your left knee and extend the right leg back behind you. Toes can be pointed or flexed and the leg is straight, stretching the back of the knee. Squeeze the gluts to lift & lower the leg behind you. Hips stay level and are square to the floor. Starting with the leg low behind you will help to keep the gluts engaged and the movements controlled. As you get stronger you can work to lift the leg higher yet the working leg should never lift higher than the hips. Take these tips to the barre with you the next time you are in class to tighten and tone that tush!

Let’s review…
FormFridayFoldOver-1024x661  

The BBS YYC Team


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megan@barrebodystudio.com

Form Friday: Foot Placement

Maintaining proper alignment of the feet in barre class is very important. The feet must be balanced and sturdy to support the legs, spine, arms and head. If your base is tilted or collapsed, a reflection of this will appear up through the rest of the body. Problems in the lower body have a way of working their way up, causing issues and even injury in the knees, hips, back, etc. Barre classes are safe and effective because we strive to move with an awareness of what our body is doing (that Mind Body Connection we talk about every class).

The position of the foot is determined by the rotation of the top of the thighbone in the hip socket. Your knees and ankles should always track in the same direction as your feet. Your weight should be evenly distributed between all five toes to avoid rolling inward or outward with the feet and ankles. Over pronation, when your ankles collapse in, distributes your weight unevenly. It is one of the most common foot misalignments. Over supination, when your ankles collapse out, reduces the body’s natural shock absorbing capability. We are striving to maintain the foot and ankle in a straight line with the weight evenly distributed.

Let’s review…  
FootPlacement    

The BBS YYC Team


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megan@barrebodystudio.com

Form Friday: Neutral Spine

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We talk about it every class but finding and working in your Neutral Spine can be difficult. Here’s the low down on neutral spine and how to find it! Neutral spine is the natural position of the spine when all 3 curves of the spine — cervical (neck), thoracic (middle) and lumbar (lower) — are present and in good alignment. This is the strongest position for the spine when we are standing or sitting, and the one that we are made to move from. Knowing how to identify neutral spine is crucial for Barre Body Fit and will help you to get the most out of your classes. Simply, a neutral spine alignment is when the pelvis is balanced between the two exaggerated anterior and posterior positions. To become familiar with this position in your own body try lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Make sure that your legs are parallel with your heels, toes, knees, and hips all in one line. Let your arms rest at your sides. Relax your body, including your shoulders, neck, and jaw. Allow your back to rest on the floor, without effort. Your spine should have two areas that do not touch the mat underneath you: your neck and your lower back (the cervical spine and lumbar spine). These natural curves in your back function to absorb shock when you’re standing, running, jumping, or simply walking around town. When you sit, it’s important to maintain the natural curves in your spine to prevent lower back and neck strain.

Now place one hand one your rib cage ensuring your rib cage is closed. Breathe Deeply into your back and the sides of your rib cage, and all the way down to the pelvis. Exhale and use your abs to press your lower spine into the floor in a pelvic tuck. Inhale to release. Exhale and pull your lower spine up, away from the floor creating a pelvic tilt. Inhale to release. This exercise helps to feel the exaggerated positions of your spine that we want to avoid, so that we can find a balanced position.  

The BBS YYC Team


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megan@barrebodystudio.com

Form Friday: Water Ski

FormFriday_WaterSki-576x1024Water Ski is the queen-bee of multitasking! This tough position will trim and shape your inner and outer thighs, and create definition in your glutes, but it doesn’t stop there! Your upper body is being challenged to create that diagonal shape. Your body is supported entirely by your shoulder, arm and core strength – all of which are being sculpted throughout the series. Use these tips to get the most out of your Water Ski!

Facing the barre with the hips touching the barre. Come into a rise with the heels squeezing together. With a strong grip, pull away from the barre with straight arms. Bend through the knees, squeeze the glutes and lift the hips up towards the barre. The body will create a 45-degree angle from the chest to knees. Lift your gaze and engage the core. Now lets move. As you lower through your plié keep the knees tracking over the toes and engage the inner thighs and quads. Lifting through plié, tuck the hips up to the barre by engaging the glutes and hamstrings.


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