Barre exercises you can take anywhere

Words: Melanie Dimmitt

George Michael was on to something when he suggested we go outside. “This is where our barre workouts are dynamic and flexible – figuratively and literally!” laughs Brisbane-based Barre Body instructor Lillian Rowe, who’s rather fond of working up a sweat in the great outdoors. “Barre’s perfect to do in your garden at home or a nearby park – and particularly beneficial for someone who is a little busier and cannot always make it into the studio. You’re still getting all the benefits of a workout without the commute or time constraints.” It might not be as picturesque, but the same goes for your lounge room, kitchen bench – even the office, if you’re up for it. Lil takes us through the best barre exercises to get you moving wherever and whenever you fancy.


Our humble abodes offer limitless opportunities “to bust out your barre booty”. Lil’s top picks are curtsy lunges in the kitchen while making brekkie, tricep dips at the couch whilst watching telly and calf raises on the stairs while waiting for your beloveds to get out the door. “Props are always optional and you can improvise with bottles of water or cans of veggies if you don’t have hand weights. A chair can also make the perfect makeshift barre.”


Exercising while you travel comes with numerous benefits – from combating jet lag to reducing stress – so it makes sense to take full advantage of your hotel room (and not just the room service). “Thigh dancing is a perfect go-to here – especially if the room has carpet as it is a little more forgiving on the knees,” says Lil. “Mix this with a bit of a downward dog flow and some knee taps from your four-point kneel hover and you’ll get that signature Barre Body thigh burn in no time.”


study out of the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry found that exercising outside, as opposed to inside, increased energy and revitalisation, and decreased confusion, anger, depression and tension – like you needed another excuse to work on that tan. “I always love to look up and enjoy the sky so I would suggest taking a towel or mat with you and doing a few little ab curls and bicycle twists, then relax and lay down… give everyone’s favourite Savasana pose a go. Hello nap time!”


It can be done – even if you’re chained to your desk. “Loosen up through the neck and chest by taking a few slow and gentle head rolls from side to side,” says Lil. “Another amazing way to relieve some of that stress through the upper body is to bring the hands into prayer on your desk and then let your chair slide you away so you can soften your heart downward – opening up through the shoulders.” Feeling brave? “A few little push-ups at your desk are always easy and accessible, or do some leg lifts while waiting for a cuppa or the printer.”


What if we’ve got no props, limited space and nothing to lean on? “A lunge and second position plie combo with the arms pressing toward the sky would be my go-to here, nice and strong on the thighs and add a little pulse and heel raise for a bit of extra burn. Try and stay down in the juicy working part of the movement the whole time to really feel the benefits.” Or you could try Lil’s personal free-styling favourite – the chair pose. “It can flow really beautifully with a vinyasa-style sequence but also add extra strength through a squatting and lunging sequence… can you tell I love the booty burn?”