Want to Build Muscle? 5 Barre Workouts You Need to Try

If you think that barre workouts involve nothing more than tiny ballerinas standing in tights, you couldn’t be further from the truth. “Barre classes are based on scientifically proven techniques with deceptively challenging moves created to strengthen and tone your muscles in a short time,” explains Pure Barre co-owner and teacher Ken McCarthy.

“It’s important for men to consider taking out the bulky weights and adding more body resistance into their routine when they’re planning out their workouts,” he adds. Why? These moves will help hit the small muscle groups that men don’t typically work when they’re doing things like bench presses and pull-ups. They’ll also help with flexibility and coordination.

With that in mind, we asked McCarthy to highlight a series of five barre-inspired positions that will sculpt every inch of your body, from thighs to chest.

Top of Thigh


Source: Ken McCarthy

Stand with your back flat against a stable wall, walk your feet forward, keeping your back flat to the wall, hips directly below your shoulders, feet no wider than your hips, and arms extended forward. For 30 seconds, do tiny pulses down, as your back stays flat against the wall. Extend your right leg straight, flex your foot, and hold the position for 30 seconds. Repeat with your left leg for 30 seconds. Repeat this series two times.


Source: Ken McCarthy

Place your right hand on a light support, with your left hand on your hip, and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Then, extend your left leg to hip height, making sure your leg is straight, and tighten your core, keeping your flat back. Lower your leg six inches slowly, and then lift it six inches for 30 seconds. Holding the leg at the highest point, circle right for 15 seconds. Then, hold the leg at the highest point and circle left for 15 seconds. Put your right arm forward, hold your leg at highest point, and do an isometric hold for 30 seconds. Repeat this series two times on the left and right.

Seat Work


Source: Ken McCarthy

Focus on the back of your seat. Grab a stable surface, like a chair, with your hands and walk yourself back, folding your upper body in half and keeping your arms straight and your back flat. Extend your right leg behind you to hip height. Keeping your leg straight and foot flexed, pull your abs in and relax your shoulders. Do tiny lifts of the leg for 30 seconds. Then to a tiny bend and extend in the knee for 30 seconds. Pulse your standing leg as your lifted leg holds still, and then hold for 30 seconds. Repeat this series two times on the left and on the right.



Source: Ken McCarthy

Come to a forearm plank position. Lift your right leg, flex your foot, and hold for 30 seconds. Switch to the left for 30 seconds. Put both feet to the floor and barrel roll (straight arm to forearm plank alternating) for 30 seconds. Repeat this series four times.



Source: Ken McCarthy

Get in a full-body pushup position with your hands in a diamond. Lower down for two seconds, and then up for two seconds, eight times. Hold your body at the top, with your hands wider than your shoulders, and do eight push ups for 15 seconds. Hold at the bottom and press heels back for 15 seconds. Repeat this series four times.

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