Trainer of the Month Club

This 10-Minute Barre Class Doubles as an Abs-Strengthener and Tension Reliever

Kells McPhillips

Each month, a new trainer takes us through four of the most grueling workouts they have in their back pocket. Follow along weekly for new ways to sweat it out with us. See All

You know the dramatic moment in the movies when someone clutches their wine glass so tight that it shatters? Welp, the truth is that most of us tend to grip every part of our bodies (Our necks! Our shoulders! Our abs!) just as tight. And while your tense muscles won’t shatter into a million pieces, they can be painful. That’s why this month’s Trainer of the Month Club leader Marnie Alton, founder of M/Body, has crafted a dance-inspired barre workout to help you shake out your body’s tightest muscles (and strengthen your core in the meantime).

“We spend a lot of energy holding things, holding onto tension in the neck, shoulders, or jaw. We want to release that [and] allow for vibrations to travel from your feet right up into your core,” says Alton. The M/Body founder manages to help you let go of your body’s tension in just the warm-up. So here’s how to do that move by move. Then, if you want more, watch the whole video.

Warm up for your barre abs workout right now

1. Shakeouts: Spring from one side of your mat to the other with bent knees, landing on your toes and twisting your hips to the opposite side of the mat. At the same time, bend your elbows and shake out your hands. Don’t you feel less stuck already?

2. Shakeout around the worlds: Without changing the side-to-side movement of your legs, sweep your arms up and over your head. Draw giant circles with your arms to get into your shoulders and side body.

3. Run in place: Turn your feet forward, hinge slightly at your hips, and run in place, making sure to stay on your toes. At the same time swing your arms forward and back with control.

4.  Neck circles: Stand still with your knees bent and begin circling your neck. Make sure you go through both sides. “For the first circle, just explore. Imagine a compass hitting all four directions,” says Alton. She says this move will help you “checkout where you’re starting from”—and that’s so important at the beginning of a workout.

5. Arm circles: Now, stand still and do that same move with your arms. Swing your right arm around with control in both directions. Then, switch sides. Make sure to keep control here—there’s no need to go too fast.

6. Hip circles: Place your hands on your hips and begin circling them in one direction, then the other. “Your hips are your energetic center. You want to really find that release through the hip flexors,” says Alton.

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