5 barre moves for a slimmer waist

Looking for ways to tighten your tummy and trim your waistline? Former ballet dancer Nathalie Errandonea-Mewes shares her favourite barre moves for a slimmer waist.

Read on to discover how to shape up your abs and strengthen your core in double-quick time. You’ll ideally need a yoga block for these exercises, but you can also try a firm small cushion or a thick hardback book instead.

Five barre moves for a slimmer waist

1. Warm up and roll down

  1. Sit on an exercise mat with legs extended straight in front of you and toes pointed. Keep your back straight and long, shoulders low and abdominals engaged. Hold the block out horizontally in front of your chest with your arms straight.
  2. Tuck your pelvis in slightly and roll down a few inches to bring your lower back into a C-curve. Carefully continue to roll down until you are lying down on the mat and bend your legs at the same time.
  3. Raise your arms and block above and behind your head (but without touching the floor). Keep pulling your belly button towards the spine, and start slowly rolling back up, peeling your spine off the floor one vertebra at a time, to return to your original position with legs straight holding your block out in front.
  4. Repeat ten times at your own pace.

2. Lower abs strengthener

  1. Start by sitting down with your legs bent in front of you and your feet firmly on the floor, lower back in a C-curve, abdominals engaged and shoulders low. Again, hold the block horizontally in front of your chest with your arms straight.
  2. Take a breath in, and as you exhale, start lifting your legs up in the air to a full stretch (aiming for a 45° lift if you can) and lift your arms a little higher to keep arms and legs parallel.
  3. Come back slowly and with control to your starting position.
  4. If you need a slightly easier version, just concentrate on the leg lifts and place your hands on the floor just near your hips to help hold your body weight and give extra support for your lower back.
  5. Repeat ten times at a controlled pace.

3. The twist

  1. Sit with your legs bent in front of you and feet on the floor, with your spine straight and long, abdominals engaged and shoulders relaxed. Hold the block horizontally in front of your chest with your arms straight.
  2. Tuck your pelvis and bring your lower back into a C-curve, then start rolling down while twisting to the right, engaging your obliques.
  3. Stay in the twist by holding for ten seconds.
  4. Come back slowly into your starting position, legs bent and back straight.
  5. Repeat ten times to the right and ten to the left.

4. Shoulder bridge with leg lift

  1. Centre yourself on the mat and lie down on your back. Bend your legs and place your yoga block under your left foot.
  2. Tuck in your pelvis slightly and very slowly start lifting your hips, peeling off your lower and then middle back off the floor, coming into your shoulder bridge position.
  3. Lift your hips so they are nicely aligned with your knees and your armpits.
  4. Engage your abdominals, and keep your shoulders pinned down to the mat, then extend your right leg up, keeping both knees aligned, and point your toes to keep your entire right leg engaged. Try to keep your hips levelled throughout.
  5. Next, raise your right leg further to a 90° angle towards the ceiling, keeping your abdominals strong and your hips lifted.
  6. Lower the leg back down halfway so that both knees are aligned again.
  7. Repeat lifting your leg ten times to the right and then change legs and repeat ten times to the left.

5. Superwoman

  1. Start by lying down on your front, forehead on the mat, holding the block horizontally in front of you with your arms straight.
  2. Connect your hip bones into the floor, tucking your pelvis slightly and squeezing your glutes. It’s very important to engage your abdominals to protect the lower back.
  3. Inhale and lift your chest, arms and legs together at once. Keep looking towards the floor.
  4. Hold the position for five seconds and lower back down to your starting position.
  5. Repeat 15 times slowly, or at a faster pace for a more advanced level.

The stretch

  1. Don’t forget to do this and take the opportunity to stretch your hamstrings, adductors and obliques that have been working hard during this routine.
  2. Open your legs to the side, place the block vertically near your calves or ankles (according to your flexibility), and flex your feet, making sure your sitting bones stay connected to the floor.
  3. Stretch over to the right with your right hand resting on the block and your left arm above your head reaching as far as possible to the side. Think about stretching and aiming for the toes not the knees.
  4. Repeat on the other side.
  5. Next, place the block in front of you and place your forearms on the block. Try to maintain this position for about 30 seconds.
  6. If you need to, you can keep your knees slightly bent. Remember everyone has a different flexibility, and you must always listen to your own body.

Find out more about Nathalie at n-rg.co.uk
Photography: Nadine Brandt Photography

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