Try This! Tracey Mallett’s praying mantis exercise
Good form makes for a better workout, and that’s one of the keys to ballet-inspired barre workouts. These exercises also increase flexibility and tone the muscles without adding bulk. Pasadena-based fitness expert, video host and teacher Tracey Mallett (www.traceymallett.com) is the founder of Booty Barre, a technique that combines elements of dance, yoga and Pilates to strengthen and stretch the body. No prior experience in any of those disciplines is necessary. Make sure the spine, neck and head are aligned and the movements are slow and deliberate.
Why you should try it
Several muscle groups of the upper and lower body get a workout in this exercise, including the triceps, biceps, shoulders, glutes and hamstrings. Make sure your movements are slow and controlled.
What to do
Begin in a kneeling position on a mat, hands under the shoulders and knees under the hips. Extend one leg straight back, parallel to the floor, then bend the knee as you round the spine and draw the knee toward the chest, bringing them toward each other. Extend the leg and upper spine and lower the chest down to the mat as you lift your leg behind your body, keeping it extended. Lower the leg and straighten the arms until your body and leg are parallel to the floor.
Start with five repetitions on each side; then progress to eight to 10 reps.