Mini Ball Barre Series
This Barre inspired workout utilises one of my favourite Pilates sculpting weapons – The Mini Ball. The series focuses on the lower body, specifically the booty (of course!), hamstrings and calves. However you have to engage your core throughout to maintain proper alignment and activation, so will get some extra` conditioning of the lower abdominals and spinal stabilisers if you focus on form!
If you don't have a ballet barre, or cheeky outdoor gym bar, no worries! Just use the back of a chair, the side of a table or a window ledge. The workout will do the same trick, regardless of the environment surrounding you!
Move through this series with a repetition count of 12 for each exercise. Go the entire way through on one leg before swapping to the second side.
You can always repeat the sequence 2-3X for an additional burn!
Targets: Hip extensors, Gluteus Maximus, Hamstrings.
Take Note: Make sure the pelvis stays "square" i.e. both hip bones facing towards the ground so you do not rotate the pelvis as you extend the thigh bone.
Targets: Gluteus Maximus + Minimus
Take Note: Try to pulse is a controlled, sustained manner, keeping a focus of time under tension. You want to keep lifting the thigh bone up higher, not dropping it down, and zone in on the point at the very top of your thigh AKA your booty crease!
Heel To Butt Squeezes
Targets: Hamstring, Gluteus Minimus
Take Note: Keeping the thigh parallel to the ground and lifted, the action is simply of squeezing the ball by drawing the heel closer to the booty. You want to focus on contracting the back chain of the leg for maximum activation.
Targets: Pelvic stabilisers, hamstring + calf of supporting leg.
Take Note: Maintaining an active engagement of the lifted leg, you simply want to bend and stretch the support leg. Watch out for the alignment of movement – keeping hip, knee and ankle all in the same tracking.
Targets: Gluteus Medius, Obliques,
Take Note: Make sure the working leg stays in parallel, so there is no external rotation. A focus on gently inwardly rotating the leg can help assist this. Additionally, ensure the stabilising leg holds a strong parallel position and the core is switched on to protect the spine.
Take Note: Maintaining the height of the lifted leg, focus on the contracting of the obliques allowing the body to bend further to roll the ball up towards the ankle. This contraction with facilitate the action of the side body!
Lateral Booty Squeeze
Targets: Gluteus Medius, Hamstrings
Take Note: Keeping an engagement on the hamstring to maintain the hold of the ball, you want to focus on squeezing the very outer side of the hip and booty to lift the thigh bone laterally. In the flexed knee position, you want to maintain the parallel alignment of the thigh and avoid external rotation.
Targets: Gluteus Medius
Take Note: Dial in your focus to the very side of your hip and see if you can pulse up from the area without engaging any extraneous muscle groups! The action may not demonstrate a large range of movement, but you will get the right engagement!
Targets: Hamstrings, Gluteus Maximus
Take Note: Maintaining the lifted position of the thigh bone, you now want to glide the thigh bone backwards to find a hip extension and wrapped attitude position. Keep the lower abdominals engaged to protect the spine and you should feel a good squeeze on the booty to find the position.
Find a comfortable position for your upper back to rest against the barre/wall/table. The Thigh bones want to be parallel to the ground, with the feet directly under the knees.
Single Heel Lifts + Double Heel Lifts + Walking Heels
Targets: Calves, Quadriceps, Pelvic Stability
Take Note: Keep the abdominals engaged to help facilitate pelvic stability to avoid extraneous wobbling from side to side. Focus on working through the feet to lift the heels and maintain the original height of the body, so you do not bob up and down, but rather keep active through the thighs.
Pelvis Tuck + Release
Targets: Lower Abdominals
Take Note: Maintaining the lifted heel position, contract through the lower abdominals to find a lumbar spine curve (J curve position). A focus on drawing the pubic bone towards the navel will help facilitate the action. To release, lengthen the abdominals and feel the tailbone reaching towards the barre behind you.
Take Note: As you finish the series with these pulses, focus on maintaining alignment of the pelvis, knees and ankles, whilst holding engagement of the abdominals. Without dropping the heels, squeeze lower down into the squat, pulsing roughly 2 inches up and down for maximum burn!