Resistance bands can be a great addition to barre exercises, as they can help to provide creativity and layers in exercises as well challenge your muscles in new ways. Here are some of our favourite barre exercises that incorporate resistance bands:
1. Standing Leg Extensions
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and place the resistance band around your ankles. Hold onto a sturdy object such as the barre or a chair for balance if necessary. Lift one leg off the ground and extend it straight back, keeping the band taut. Lower the leg and repeat for at least 8 repetitions. A backward extension will target your glute max, whilst extending to the side will fire your glute med and min muscles. As for your standing leg, make sure it’s bent so you get additional glute burn here too! Add pulses or rond de jambes (leg circles) for some variation in movement.
A resistance band can be added to pliés in both 1st and 2nd position. Place the resistance band around your thighs, just above your knees (1st pos) or around your ankles (2nd pos). Lower into a plie, keeping your knees over your toes and your back straight. As you rise up, squeeze your glutes and push out against the resistance of the band. Adding a band here helps you feel the burn in your outer thighs and glutes!
3. Lateral Band Walks (aka crab walks)
Place the resistance band around your thighs, just above your knees. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, sink your seat back so your chest inclines and take a few steps to the right, keeping tension in the band. Take a few steps to the left and repeat. Focus on keeping your feet under your hips as you step, and maintaining the bend in your knees at a constant level. Push into your feet for extra glute and outer-thigh burn!
4. Glute Bridge
Lie on your back with your knees bent and the resistance band looped around your thighs, just above your knees. Plant your feet on the ground, push into your feet and engage your glutes to lift your hips off the ground. Lower and repeat. Hold in bridge and pulse your knees out against your band to really feel your outer thighs! If you adjust your feet wider than your hips and turn your toes out slightly, you will feel an additional inner-thigh burn as your external rotators engage.
5. Kickbacks (aka donkey kicks, all fours, quadruped…)
Place the resistance band just above your knees or around your ankles. Get on all fours and engage your glutes to lift your right leg up behind you, keeping the band taut. Lower your leg and repeat on the other side. A lengthened leg will engage your glute, whilst keeping your knee bent when you lift will add hamstring burn. You can also lift to the side, add pulses or add hamstring curls for variation.
Adding a resistance band to your push-ups is a great way to provide support so you can challenge yourself a little more. Get into a plank position with the resistance band looped around your arms, just above your elbows. You can also do these on your knees or at the barre. Engage your abs by lifting your navel to your spine and keep your body in a straight line; push-up. As your elbows bend, the band will stretch and hold some of your weight at your chest, allowing you to get a little deeper in your push-up!
7. Bicep Curls
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and loop the band under one or both feet. Hold the resistance band with both hands, palms facing up. Keep your elbows close to your sides and curl the band up toward your shoulders. Lower and repeat. Alternatively, you can do these in a lunge position, plié, or even loop the band over your barre instead!
8. Tricep extensions
Loop the band over the barre. Find a crescent lunge position and incline your chest. Holding both ends of the band in the opposite hand to your front leg, pin your elbow to your ribcage and extend your arm, pulling the band. Bend and repeat. You can hold the arm extension and pulse for some extra burn; don’t forget to do both sides!
9. Chest openers
These can make a great stretch or strengthening exercise for your back and shoulders. Hold onto your band with your hands in the centre, about shoulder-width apart. Pull both ends as you raise your arms over head, rotating through your shoulders until your arms come all the way behind your hips. Reverse back to the starting position. The closer your hands are on the band, the more challenging this exercise will be, so for a stretch we recommend a looser grip.
10. Lat pulls with abdominal engagement
Loop your band over the barre and sit facing your barre with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Holding your band with one end in each hand, pull down on the band whilst keeping your arms long. To add core engagement, hinge back slightly until you feel your abs switch on; sometimes adding a ball behind your back here can be helpful for additional support. You can also vary your arm movement here by taking wide rows, narrow rows and of course, pulsing!
Got a favourite exercise that we missed? Let us know! Comment here or tag us on Instagram @aleenta.club