Victoria Beckham’s ex-personal trainer Louisa Drake shows us six KEY bum toning barre moves

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Barre, derived from ballet, is taking the exercise world by storm, using small, isometric movements to tone the whole physique. 

London-based exercise guru Louisa Drake, a former dancer, choreographer and personal trainer to Victoria Beckham, has devised her own version of age-old technique. 

After starting her own studio in London several years ago, she began teaching the Louisa Drake Method, a mix of pilates, barre, dance and cardio. 

Here, Louisa reveals exclusively to FEMAIL her 15-minute workout which will  strengthen and tone the entire lower body with just six barre moves. 

This low-impact, high-intensity, at-home barre workout, which can be easily done with just a chair as a prop, uses bodyweight to achieve a longer, leaner physique… and a peachy posterior.

Louisa Drake, who is an ex ballerina and personal trainer, moved to LA to train with Gwyneth's Paltrow trainer Tracey Anderson and ended up being Victoria Beckham's PT

Louisa Drake, who is an ex ballerina and personal trainer, moved to LA to train with Gwyneth’s Paltrow trainer Tracey Anderson and ended up being Victoria Beckham’s PT

Warm up 

Start with a simple warm-up to get the body ready and mind focused. Try some dynamic stretches or maybe jogging for five minutes. 

Then move onto the barre exercises. Follow part A and B, exercises 1 to 6. Short rests inbetween add an extra challenge to the muscles and increase your heart rate for a cardiovascular focus.

1. The wide second plié  

Targets: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, abs, especially pelvic floor. Alignment and set-up - facing profile, one hand on a chair or counter-top, the other lengthens out in line with shoulder. Step feet to the corners of the room. Legs are externally rotated and turned out. Lower hips in-between legs into a plié. Knees track over toes (watch for knee placement). Weight is centred between both legs. Torso is vertical, shoulders relaxed.

Targets: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, abs, especially pelvic floor. Alignment and set-up – facing profile, one hand on a chair or counter-top, the other lengthens out in line with shoulder. Step feet to the corners of the room. Legs are externally rotated and turned out. Lower hips in-between legs into a plié. Knees track over toes (watch for knee placement). Weight is centred between both legs. Torso is vertical, shoulders relaxed.

Movement 

Part A: Bend both knees, lower hips towards floor, wrapping thighs back. Hold for 2 seconds before lifting up to stand. Engage glutes and pull up the thighs. Reps: 8-10 or double up for more of a challenge

Part B: Stay low in Wide second plié and wrap or press the thighs back and forwards to engage glutes for 20-30 seconds or double up for a greater burn

Tips: Imagine you are sliding down a wall and aim to get your thighs horizontal to the floor. Don’t let the bottom stick out. 

2. Curtsy lunge

Targets: Glutes, quads, inner thighs, calves, abs and back. Alignment & setup - Start facing the chair or countertop, both hands for support, vertical spine, feet in a Ballet 1st position or Small V. Heels together, toes apart so you form a narrow ¿V¿. Stagger the legs with one foot slightly crossed behind the opposite shoulder. Hips and shoulders square. Knees track over middle toes and back heel is lifted. Don¿t go low if any knee issues

Targets: Glutes, quads, inner thighs, calves, abs and back. Alignment & setup – Start facing the chair or countertop, both hands for support, vertical spine, feet in a Ballet 1st position or Small V. Heels together, toes apart so you form a narrow ‘V’. Stagger the legs with one foot slightly crossed behind the opposite shoulder. Hips and shoulders square. Knees track over middle toes and back heel is lifted. Don’t go low if any knee issues

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Movement

Part A: Bend both knees and lower the back knee towards the floor. Hold for 2 seconds before lifting up to stand and squeezing the glutes tight and pulling up the front thigh. Reps: 8-10 or double up for more of a challenge

Part B: Stay low in curtsy Lunge and pulse the back knee up an inch and down an inch for 20-30 seconds or double up for a greater burn

Repeat on the other side

Tips: Don’t rush through the movement. Keep everything controlled, watch your knee placement and nail the technique. 

3. VERTICAL V 

Targets: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves and abs. Alignment & setup - Facing profile, one hand on chair or countertop, the other on hip. Start in Ballet 1st position or Small V. Heels together and lifted at least 2 inches off the floor, toes apart, vertical spine, abdominals engaged, shoulders above hips, knees over middle toes

Targets: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves and abs. Alignment & setup – Facing profile, one hand on chair or countertop, the other on hip. Start in Ballet 1st position or Small V. Heels together and lifted at least 2 inches off the floor, toes apart, vertical spine, abdominals engaged, shoulders above hips, knees over middle toes

Movement 

Part A: Plié with heels lifted and glued together. Knees are slightly bent but as you lower your hips to your heels your quads will engage and maybe even shake (this is normal). Hold it for 2 seconds in a deep position before lifting. Make sure the knees stay bent and heels are connected. Really squeeze your glutes together on the lift without straightening the knees fully. Reps – 8-10 or double up for more of a challenge

Part B: Stay halfway down in a Vertical V and add pulses up an inch and down an inch for 20-30 seconds or double up for a greater burn

Tips: Imagine there is a piece of string on the crown of your head connected to the ceiling to help your posture. The more you press your heels together, the harder the glutes will work.

4. Attitude leg lift

Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, abs and back. Alignment & setup - Facing the chair or countertop, lightly rest hands on top. Walk feet back underneath hips, Ballet 1st position or Small V, slight bend in the knees. The spinal alignment will be a curved or slightly rounded back. Bend one leg, lift working leg up and back with a pointed foot. Aim to keep the hips square and soften the supporting leg

Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, abs and back. Alignment & setup – Facing the chair or countertop, lightly rest hands on top. Walk feet back underneath hips, Ballet 1st position or Small V, slight bend in the knees. The spinal alignment will be a curved or slightly rounded back. Bend one leg, lift working leg up and back with a pointed foot. Aim to keep the hips square and soften the supporting leg 

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Movement

Part A: Lift and lower the leg up an inch and hold for 2 seconds before lowering it down an inch or 2. Lead from knee as you lift and lower. Small precise movements, really isolating the working leg without arching the back. Maintain a slight bend in the supporting leg, this will also work hard so don’t be alarmed if you feel more of a burn. Reps: 8-10 or double up for more of a challenge

Part B: Add in small pulses, up an inch and down an inch for 20-30 seconds or double up for a greater burn

Repeat on other side

Tips: If you feel that you are sinking into the supporting hip, use the opposite hand to shift a bit more weight into. This will help to counter balance. Keep pelvis and lower back still and breathe into your belly to keep core engaged. 

5. Arabesque leg lifts 

Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, abs and back. Alignment & setup - Facing the chair or countertop, lightly rest hands on top. Start in Ballet 1st position or Small V. Heels together, toes apart, vertical spine, abdominals engaged, shoulders above hips, knees over middle toes. Extend working leg so the big toe touches or hovers off the floor while the hips remain square. The leg is rotated in the hip. Start to lift the leg higher, maintaining an upright posture.

Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, abs and back. Alignment & setup – Facing the chair or countertop, lightly rest hands on top. Start in Ballet 1st position or Small V. Heels together, toes apart, vertical spine, abdominals engaged, shoulders above hips, knees over middle toes. Extend working leg so the big toe touches or hovers off the floor while the hips remain square. The leg is rotated in the hip. Start to lift the leg higher, maintaining an upright posture.

Movement

Part A

Lift and continue to extend the working leg up and back without tilting the torso too far forwards. Aiming to maintain an upright posture throughout, while your supporting leg can be slightly bent. Hold the leg lift for 2 seconds at its highest point before lowering it down to the floor. Isolate the working leg without arching the back. Reps: 8-10 or double up for more of a challenge

Part B

Maintain arabesque leg lift and add in small pulses, up an inch and down an inch to feel the glutes engage for 20-30 seconds, or double up for a greater burn

Repeat on other side

Tips: Lead from little toe as you lift and lower big toe to floor. Try to resist bending the working leg and keep your torso still and abdominals lifted.  

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6. Standing pretzel 

Targets: Glutes, especially as this exercise trims the outer glute and thighs, hamstrings, abs especially obliques aka waistline, back and arms. Alignment & setup - Stand profile to the chair. The supporting hand rests on top of chair or countertop, elbow slightly forward of shoulder, other hand on hip. Feet together, toes angled into the corner of room, heels out, bend both knees and the outside working leg bends and lifts out towards the centre of the room. Think side plank, standing, hips are square and stacked, tilt in towards the chair (some space might be needed to achieve this, option to hop/ step out). The pelvis is pressed slightly forwards so the abdominals engage and you can maintain better posture. The working leg in bent parallel, knee is inline with hip, shoulders, torso, pelvis and thigh in one line. Pull abdominals in tight, this position really activates the oblique muscles and waistline. Aim to keep the working ankle slightly higher than the knee - it's almost as though you are lifting the working leg over something.

Targets: Glutes, especially as this exercise trims the outer glute and thighs, hamstrings, abs especially obliques aka waistline, back and arms. Alignment & setup – Stand profile to the chair. The supporting hand rests on top of chair or countertop, elbow slightly forward of shoulder, other hand on hip. Feet together, toes angled into the corner of room, heels out, bend both knees and the outside working leg bends and lifts out towards the centre of the room. Think side plank, standing, hips are square and stacked, tilt in towards the chair (some space might be needed to achieve this, option to hop/ step out). The pelvis is pressed slightly forwards so the abdominals engage and you can maintain better posture. The working leg in bent parallel, knee is inline with hip, shoulders, torso, pelvis and thigh in one line. Pull abdominals in tight, this position really activates the oblique muscles and waistline. Aim to keep the working ankle slightly higher than the knee – it’s almost as though you are lifting the working leg over something.

Movement

Part A 

Lift the working leg up in line with hip as you slightly lean towards the chair without sinking or slouching. Hold it for 2 seconds and lower the leg down towards the floor no lower than your supporting knee. Reps: 8-10 or double up for more of a challenge

Part B 

Reach your arm up to the ceiling or corner of room as the knee lowers slightly, as you lift the knee inline with hip you press the arm and try and tap your hand on your knee. Really use your arm to press and reach to work the back and arms. Reps – 8-10.

Repeat on other side 

Tips: Channel you inner ballerina in B with the arm work and lift the knee higher for that final challenge 

Cool down

Post workout, cool down with some static stretches for the legs and spine. Taking at least 15 seconds building up to 30 seconds to properly lengthen and release.

Tips: Channel you inner ballerina in B with the arm work and lift the knee higher for that final challenge 



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