Focus on Form: Thigh Dancing

We always joke in class that this one always sounds a little friendlier than it really is. Not that we don’t love thigh dancing (no seriously, we looove thigh dancing), but it truly is one of our most intense thigh exercises at the barre. We’re featuring it today because it also happens to be one of the most improperly performed series. We decided we need to remedy this immediately, because, at the barre, all our little hearts really desire is to share the complete and utter joy of a properly rocked thigh dancing sequence with you πŸ™‚

But really, it is just that good. Not only are your thighs completely on fire from second one through the finish (read: you’re scoring ridiculously toned, lean & sculpted thighs that plan on taking up less room in your jeans the next time you put them on), but there’s an incredible opportunity to whittle your waistline, get your heart rate up, stoke your metabolism and blow the roof off your mental limitations! We always try to make this series fun – the music is blasting and there’s an incredible “we’re all in this together” vibe as your instructor goes through every last tuck and pulse with you. “Woo’s!!!!” from the crowd are always welcome at this point!

Let’s talk specifics, though. Here’s what you want to focus on whenever you’re cordially invited back to your mat to dance through the end of thigh work (and keep in mind that you may want to shuffle yourself with your neighbor so you have a side-view of your form in a mirror so you can really keep tabs on these points):

  • knees should be about 2 fists-distance apart (or we might have you squeezing on a ball)
  • your seat should only come up about one fist-distance off your heels. yes, really. we’re talking 3-5″ max. (you did read all of the perks of this position above, right? well, this is how you get them!)
  • make sure your torso remains upright; you’re keeping your shoulders over your hips. this is SO difficult, because it’s easier if you lean forward (upper body leans towards your knees), however this is going to shift the work and weight out of your thighs and into your knees. we don’t like sore knees at the barre and you should never get them from anything that we do – so never, ever do this! if you do need a modification (we understand..this is one of those positions you try to hold on about 10 seconds more than last time!), either take a break or bring your seat up higher than 3-5″ off your heels. remember, the modification in this case does mean less effectiveness, so only take this if you truly need it – don’t rely on your mind telling you so (it will always tell you you’re too tired!), but wait for your muscles to indicate by shaking. if possible – hold on….this is what we call mental strength and where we can start to break our mental limitations!
  • keep your hips tucked (think: naval in, seat engaged under rather than sticking out) to expand the benefits beyond your thighs
  • keep your toes flat on the ground
  • after successfully maintaining an upright torso, the next step is to lean back…the further you are able to lean back the more weight your thighs and core will carry, hence the deeper you’ll go into your burn! go ahead, give it a try!
  • hold on for the ride!! we’ll tuck, circle, pulse, punch and shake in this wild position – focus on maintaining simply your seat height and upright torso above all else and you will slowly but surely build your strength up to be able to go for the full series!

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Help yourself hold on through the burn by learning to “crave” the victorious feeling you earn after thighs. We’re talking about that amazing feeling of “wow, I could not have tried any harder! I rock and I am earning my changes!” Take the time during our thigh stretch to not only physically recoup, but mentally recoup as well. Feel pride in holding on, and if you don’t take a break at all, do a mental happy dance (or an actual happy dance would not be frowned upon if you’re so inclined :))and tell your instructor after class! Each of us understands those little victories mean a lot, and we are rooting for you every tuck and pulse along the way!

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