Barre Moves for the Core

by Tricia Murphy-Madden on Jul 29, 2018

Barre classes focus on the core throughout the entire workout and have many ardent followers. Why not use barre-inspired moves in the core section of your HIIT or boot camp class? Your participants will love these variations on classic core fundamentals!

Good cuing—a key component of any barre series—is rhythmic and constant, to distract participants from the hard work. A great instructor focuses on more than simple chatter (“lift, lower, up, down, keep going”), providing optimal alignment and breath cues as well. The best sequence variations keep participants engaged for 30–120 seconds and avoid stagnation.

Forearm Plank


  • Begin in forearm plank position. Place Gliding™ discs beneath toes.
  • Saw sequence: Hold plank for 15–30 seconds, then slowly slide body 2 inches backward and forward, 10–16 reps.
  • One-leg ball lift sequence (photo below): Hold plank for 15–30 seconds, squeezing ball toward glutes. Lift and lower leg 1–2 inches while holding contraction.
  • Repeat, other side.


  • Modifications: Leave one knee on ground to create additional point of contact. Both variations can be done from hands.

Bird Dog With Lateral Arm Raise


  • From prone tabletop position, stack knees under hips, elbows under shoulders. Press up into space between shoulder blades.
  • Lift right arm away (laterally) from body while extending left leg.
  • Start bird dog sequence: Hold static position for 30 seconds. Very slowly lift and lower L leg and R arm 2–3 inches, 10–12 reps.
  • Lift and lower through fuller range, tapping ground with leg and arm, 10–12 reps.
  • Finally, draw L knee and R elbow toward each other, finishing in starting position, arm extended laterally, 6–10 reps.
  • Repeat, opposite side.
  • Modifications: Add weight to lifted arm (shown), place flat tubing around thighs, or set the weight down and place lifted foot on floor.

Basic Crunch With Ball


  • Begin supine, small sponge ball placed either at bottom half of thoracic spine or higher, near shoulder blades.
  • Interlock fingers behind head.
  • Either extend legs forward, crossed at ankles, or place feet flat on ground, knees bent.
  • Start crunch sequence: Begin with abdominal crunches, lifting and lowering 3 inches, 8–12 reps.
  • Shorten range of motion, and lift and lower for barre pulse, 8–12 reps.
  • Rotate top portion of body toward opposite side and repeat, 10–12 reps. Switch sides.
  • Modification: Move ball down to midback position and repeat sequence.
  • Place ball to support back in neutral position.

For one more exercise, please see “Barre Moves for Core Development” in the online IDEA Library or in the June 2018 print edition of Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at 800-999-4332, ext. 7.

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About the Author

Tricia Murphy-Madden

Tricia Murphy-Madden IDEA Author/Presenter

Tricia Murphy-Madden is a 26-year veteran instructor and education director. She is the national education director for Savvier Fitness and the co-creator of Barre AboveĀ® and the Weight Loss Challenge with over 85 master trainers and more than 4300 trained instructors worldwide. For many years, she was the fitness director for Denali Fitness in Seattle, and she is the co-author and creator of a children's book and fitness program called The ABC's of Exercise. Tricia sits on the IDEA Group Fitness Committee and is known for the numerous programs she developed. She was featured on Exercise TV and in many trade and mass media publications, and has been the featured coach at numerous corporate events. She has contributed and starred in 12 DVDs and has sold over 100,000 units to date.