According to Renee Scott, you’re neglecting your muscles. No, not the quads and biceps—they get a lot of attention. She says it’s the smaller, but no less important, muscle groups that often get forgotten.
“Most exercises at the gym work our global muscle groups which are the larger muscles used for strength work and power movements (think biceps, quads, triceps etc.). We often forget about our “core” muscle groups that support our spine and joints to help with posture, balance, power and speed (think transverse abdominals, pelvic floor, multifidus etc.),” she says.
As the founder of Barre Attack (an insanely tough barre workout), Renee Scott knows a thing or two about targeting micro muscles. To work the core effectively, she says we need to focus on three things:
- Core mobility with isometric, flexion, extension, side flexion and rotation;
- Core stability targeting the deep muscles of your spine, abdomen, and hips to create a cylinder of support around the lower torso;
- Core strength that involves pushing your core muscles beyond normal demands to increase endurance and strength.
To do so, she’s shared five super-effective Barre Attack exercises that can be done at home, at the office or at the gym—all you need is a resistance band. She recommends doing 3-4 rounds (or as many as you can endure) to build core mobility, stability and strength…and well-crafted abs.
1Second position plié with waiter arms
Start: Legs out wide and turned out, elbows in next to the body with palms up towards the ceiling.
Move: Bend the knees and open the forearms to the side, keep the knees following the toes and the elbows pinned in next to the waist. Feel the chest opening and the upper back engaging as you work the rotator cuff, the inner thighs, quads and pelvic floor in the plié.
2Golf swing rotation
Start: Hook a resistance band under one foot, loop up the band in your hands. Staying in a second position, pitch the upper body forward to 45 degrees, keeping a long spine.
Move: Holding the elastic with both hands, rotate the upper body away from the where the elastic is under the foot. Keeping the lower half of the body stable, try and reach to the floor like you are swinging a golf club and putting a ball along the floor.
3One-armed tricep extension
Start: Keeping your second position, grab the elastic in one hand only (opposite arm from the foot where the elastic is attached).
Move: Staying pitched forward with your upper body, draw the elbow out to the side and up towards the ceiling, then extend the arm out and return it back to release the resistance.
4Planks with elastic
Start: Come down onto the hands and knees holding the elastic, one side in each hand. Align the elastic so it is just below the shoulder blades and there is some resistance. Stretch the legs out and come up into a plank position.
Move: Hold the plank, feeling a slight lift up into the resistance of the elastic. Activate your internal corset by imagining you are tightening a belt around your waist and keep breathing naturally.
Start: Hop down into a four point kneeling position with elastics in hands and over one foot.
Move: Keeping both hands on the floor to start, lengthen and lift the back leg to hip height, engaging the abs and glutes. Try to repeat 10 times, breathing throughout. If you can, combine the movement with a lift of the front arm as you lift the back leg. Too much? Just do the legs only. You will feel the glutes, hamstrings and core engage as you move through this exercise.
Reps: 10 each side