Experts say flat abs are made in the kitchen. Well, let these barre exercises take over as sous chef. The beauty of cooking up a toned core via barre workouts is that you work your midsection with each move. Even in standing positions, you have to engage your abs to maintain a neutral spine, says Becca Pace, trainer for Daily Burn’s Barre Harmony program.
“When moving slowly and concentrating on your breath, simple ab-targeted exercises will build core strength in the deepest parts of the abdominals,” she says. With the six exercises below (all part of the Barre Harmony program), “you work the entire girdle — front, sides and back — for overall strength and stability.” Translation: Prepare to whip those abs into shape!
TRY IT NOW: Daily Burn’s Barre Harmony Program
6 Barre Exercises to Tighten and Tone Your Core
This blend of ab exercises target your obliques, transverse abdominis and rectus abdominis so you reach every muscle of your midsection. Pace suggests performing the moves in the order below for eight to 10 reps and two to three rounds. Consider your middle whiddled, thanks to Barre Harmony.
1. Pilates Roll-Up
How to: Start lying on your back, legs straight, toes flexed and arms straight up by your ears. Press your low back into the ground (a). Exhale and slowly roll yourself up, pressing your low back into the ground as you lift your upper back. Then lift your lower back and reach your arms forward toward your toes (b). Slowly lower your back and arms toward the ground as you inhale (c). Repeat.
RELATED: The Total Body Barre Workout You Can Do at Home
2. Genie Abs
How to: Sit down and place your feet flat, hip-width apart. Place your arms in a genie position, fingers on top of elbows (a). Get into a C-curvature position, belly button pulled in toward your spine (b). Then, keeping your elbows in line with shoulders, lift your torso up and lift your left leg (knee bent) as you twist your torso toward your left leg. Elbow should touch your knee (c). Inhale to return to the starting C curve position (d). Then, exhale as you come up, lifting your right leg and twisting to the right (e). Continue alternating.
3. Hollow Plank
How to: Get in a high plank position, wrists in line with shoulders and body in a straight diagonal line (a). Take a breath and as you exhale, bend your knees slightly, lift your belly and tuck your chin so your head goes between your shoulders (b). As you exhale, straight back out into a plank (c). Continue inhaling to round and exhaling to straighten.
RELATED: 3 Plyometic Planks You Need to Try ASAP
4. Side Plank Reach
How to: Start on your left side, right hand placed just slightly farther out from your shoulder. Bend your knees and place your left leg under your right. Rest your right hand on your right knee (a). Press into your right heel and lift up into a side plank (b). Keeping your hips elevated, thread your right hand underneath your torso (c). Return to the side plank, then sit your hips back down, bringing your right arm back to your knee (d). Repeat, then switch sides.
5. Down Dog Knee Drive
How to: Start in a high plank position, then push your hips toward the ceiling to get in a downward-facing dog position (a). Step your feet together, then lift your left leg toward the ceiling (b). As you exhale, bring your left knee in toward your chest, rounding your spine (c). Then inhale and lift your toes toward the ceiling, pressing your chest between your hands (d). As you exhale again, bring your left knee in and over to your right elbow, looking over your right shoulder (e). Inhale and press your foot back and up toward the ceiling (f). Continue alternating front and oblique tucks, then switch sides.
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6. Plie Oblique Crunch
How to: Start standing with feet wider than hip distance apart, toes pointed slightly outward. Hold light weights in each hand and straighten your arms out to the sides so wrists are in line with shoulders, palms facing forward (a). Bend your knees and lower your butt toward the ground to reach a squat. Then, bend at the waist toward the left, bringing your right hand up to the ceiling. Hand should remain in line with shoulder. Your left hand comes behind your left thigh (b). Straighten your torso back up to neutral (c). Next, bend at the waist toward the right side, left arm rising up toward the ceiling (d). Return to the starting position and continue alternating.
Get more exercises for tightening and toning all over by signing up to try Daily Burn Barre Harmony, now available to all Daily Burn users.
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