As you guys might know, after years of playing more high-impact sports or workouts like soccer or running, I got wiped out about a year ago now for the first time with a brutal back injury (only to have another one happen right as 2016 rolled around!). I had to relearn how to be strong in my body since the things I usually would do were off-limits for the time being and the first thing that really clicked for me was The Dailey Method. TDM’s commitment to spinal alignment and health and total body alignment for that matter were exactly what I needed at the time, and the workouts are no joke – the blend of barre, Pilates, yoga and strength training kills me in the best way possible. If you caught my arm workout or my core workout with them, then you already know we’ve been working on a series to really target every area of your body! Today, one of my faves because it’s my strongest area: legs!
The workout at the bottom of this post will not only build strong muscles, but lean, toned and flexible muscles. So key! I’ve had to learn over this past year that it’s not just about strength, but functional strength – if you get too tense and don’t loosen your muscles up, they’ll somehow snap (figuratively or literally).
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you’d be hard pressed to find a nicer group of people than The Dailey Method family. Remember to pack a pair of grippy barre socks (you can get a pair there for $20 and they’re totally worth it), wear something for medium-impact (most of the time it’s isolated movements but there is some bouncing, so important to have support especially for any larger-chested girls!) and definitely come ready to burn it out!
If you’re not near the Kits or Dunbar location in Vancouver (or any in your city) or if you want to burn out your legs on your own, this workout below from my fave trainers Jen & Steph at my go-to Kits location will have you feeling majorly sore the next day. Make sure you drink lots of water and stretch out lightly the next day! Do this 2x per week for max benefits along with the other targeted workouts (arms + core).
BARRE WORKOUT FOR TONED LEGS
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: RESISTANCE BAND, PILATES BALL OPTIONAL
Parallel Squat with Resistance Band (pictured at top)
Put a resistance band around a stationary object and holding the band’s ends in each hand, walk your feet back until they are under your hips, hip distance apart with toes pointed forward. Slowly drop into a squat, drawing your navel to your spine and lengthening your tailbone away from the crown of your head. Aim to get your thighs parallel to the ground! Shift your weight into your heels and pull the shin bones back to engage the quadriceps. Press your heels down into the floor to engage your glutes and come up an inch, drop down an inch 30 times. Continue for 1 minute.
Optional: Add a pilates ball between the inner thighs, lift heels from floor, press the big toe mound down and energize shins inwards, repeat pulses. Free to do this as a second rep or halfway through!
Neutral Spine Chair
Face away from the barre (or a similar, sturdy surface/object, walls work great!) and rest your shoulders against it as you walk your feet forward and come into a chair sit. Try to get your legs in a 90 degree angle, bringing your thighs parallel to ground and knees directly over your ankles. Lengthen your tailbone to the floor and draw abdominals to spine. Extend arms at shoulder height in front of you, palms facing in, and slowly bring right heel up, alternating to left and then alternating between the two until you’ve done 20 on each leg. Now, time to begin the arm series to really challenge your core! With palms facing one another at shoulder height, walk your right arm up to eyebrow height, bring your left arm down until it’s just above your hip. Alternate, doing 20 on both sides. Finally, finish with a 30 second hold with hands in prayer position.
Waterski in 4th position (pictured above)
Face the barre (or a similar, stationary object that is mounted to a wall) and bring your hips right up to it. Overhand grip the barre and place your feet into narrow athletic V position (heels touching, toes pointing out at a narrow V (a small slice of pie should fit in between your feet!) bend your knees and slide the ball of your right foot a full foot behind the left, maintaining the direction of the foot. Lift your heels,, lean back until your arms are straight and deeply bend your knees. Lengthen tailbone to floor and engage your core to protect your back! Bend your knees to come down an inch, up an inch, 30 times, keeping heels, tailbone and crown of head in one straight diagonal line .
Turned Out Squat
Walk your feet a little wider than the distance of your hip bones and externally rotate legs so toes face 1 o’clock and 11 o’clock. Drop into Turned Out Squat position (like a sumo squat), keeping knees tracking in the direction of your 2nd and 3rd toes and shins hugging in and back. Torso is hinged forward as the same angle of your shins and keep core engaged. Engage more deeply through your core and begin arm reaches (side to side stretch) as you bring right arm to point towards the left upper corner of the room, do the opposite in a lateral direction with your left arm, alternating on both sides. Try to keep your lower body and core entirely stable and still during! Do 30 reaches in each direction. Finish in prayer hold, alternating heel raises on each leg for 30 seconds.
And that’s it! You’ll have officially earned yourself that glass of Sauv Blanc and your next #ootd in a leg-bearing dress or mini skirt will thank you for the grunt work. If you’re in the city, come say hi if you see me in class at the Kits studio! Finally, a big thank you to The Dailey Method team & Carine Redmond PR for being so amazing to me (as always) and again, if you want to catch up on the previous workouts, find arms here and core here.
Wearing Public Myth leggings, sports bra & tank