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The Lower-Body Barre Workout You Can Do at the Beach

  • Bethany Renee Photography

    A Different Kind of Beach Barre

    The great thing about this lower-body barre workout is that you can do it just about anywhere—even on vacation! Based on thigh and booty moves from BarreAmped classes and DVDs, this workout will get you beach ready just in time for the unofficial start to summer. The workout first focuses on fatiguing the thigh muscles—mainly the quads—then moves on to exercises that really work your seat, the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back.

    How to works: Warm up with a brisk walk or jog for about five minutes. You can do this workout barefoot or with flexible-soled shoes. Each exercise is based on minutes, not reps. If you're a beginner and need to modify, you can reduce the duration of each move. You should focus on maintaining proper form throughout the entire exercise, and work deeply so that you really start to feel your hardworking muscle trembling. And don't skip the stretches at the end! Stretching muscle groups you have just worked allows you to maintain good range of motion, flexibility, and mobility in your joints.

    What you need: A sturdy ledge or balcony, a stopwatch

  • Bethany Renee Photography

    Parallel Thigh Work

    Holding on to your support, keep legs parallel and hip-width apart. Raise heels up and bend knees straight ahead while keeping ears over shoulders, shoulders over hips, and hips over heels. Make sure you stay low enough to really feel the "fire" in your quads.

    Pulse down and up for 1 minute.

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    High V Position for Thighs

    From Parallel Thighs, draw heels together and "super glue" them while you turn out the thighs and bring heels high. Bring balls of feet a little closer together (about an inch). Keep ears over shoulders, shoulders over hips, and hips over heels while you bend knees down until you feel the quads fire. (This move doesn't need to be too low).

    Pulse down and up for 1 minute.

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    Leg Lifts

    Holding on to the support with left hand, bring legs into a slightly turned-out position from the feet. Keep right thigh turned out and straight, and raise it up as high as you can while keeping it straight.

    Pulse leg up for 30 seconds. Repeat for 30 seconds on opposite leg.

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    Seated Chair Thigh Work

    Facing your support, hold on strongly, keeping arms in front of shoulders and shoulders over hips. Your spine should remain neutral. Bring legs into a parallel position, hip-width apart. Raise heels up and bend knees so legs come parallel to ground.

    Lift and lower the booty a few inches for 1 minute.

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    Bonus Move: Round Back Seated Chair

    From Seated Chair, this bonus move is a "killer." Round your back from hips to shoulders. Remain low in the position.

    Pulse up and down for up to 1 minute.

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    Standing Seat Work in Parallel

    Facing support, hold lightly and bring legs in hip-width apart. Raise right heel up, soften right knee, and keep hips square. Take left leg back and behind the hip without arching the back. Keep left toes pointed and right leg facing forward. Really feel the left glutes engage.

    Pulse left leg back for 1 minute.

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    Standing Seat Work with Parallel Back Extension

    Raise left leg back and behind you allowing your back to extend (or arch) slightly to give the working leg more height. Once you find this position in your back, don't allow it to change. Your back should not be moving at all while you're performing this move.

    Allow only your left leg to pulse up and move within the pelvis for 1 minute.

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    Standing Seat Work with Back Knee Extension

    Position your body as you did for the previous move. Take left leg back and bend knee so that left toes are pointed behind. Press the bent leg, leading with toes back while maintaining the shape bent shape.

    Allow only that shape to move inside the pelvis and not at the knee.

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    Standing Seat Work Bent Knee Dips

    From the end of the previous exercise, hold everything still, then bend down and up a few inches using your standing leg. You will want to hold on to your support strongly here so you can get good range of motion. You will feel the right glutes working. Be sure to keep the left side tight. For an added challenge, pulse back with the left leg whenever you lift the right knee up.

    Repeat this move for 1 minute.

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    Standing Seat Work Pretzel Wrap

    Stand all the way back up while keeping a slight bend in the right knee. Maintaining the shape of the left leg, begin pressing the leg back into a tiny quarter-sized circle. Keep left knee behind left hip at all times. This wrapping circle should polish off the glute work and lift the hamstring.

    Repeat this circle movement for 1 minute.

    After completing this circuit, return to the first seat exercise (Standing Seat Work in Parallel), and change legs. If you feel that these last five exercises are too tough to move through one side at a time, try switching legs from side to side between exercises. Prepare to be amazed at how strong you will become when practicing good form. Once through your second set of seat moves on the opposite side, move on to the following stretches—and don't even think about skipping them.

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    Quad Stretch

    Holding on to your support, bend left knee, bringing left foot into left hand. Stand tall and draw pelvis slightly underneath you while you gently pull left knee down.

    Hold and breathe for 30 seconds. Repeat on opposite side.

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    Figure Four Stretch

    Holding on to your support, cross right ankle over left thigh. Flex right foot. Turn right knee out. Bend at the hips and left knee like you are sitting back into a chair. Keep back straight and chest lifted.

    Hold and breathe for 30 seconds. Repeat on opposite side.

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    Hamstring Stretch

    Holding on to your support, angle body to a 45-degree position, then take left leg up onto the railing or barre. Keep it straight and stand tall.

    Hold and breathe for 30 seconds. Repeat on opposite side.