Barre workouts are known for using light hand weights, typically 2 lbs., to fatigue the upper body. Getting to the point of "burn" for the shoulders and triceps is fairly simple, but the biceps, that's a whole different story. Effectively working the biceps in the parameters of a barre workout requires knowledge and strategy. Take it to a whole new level by putting together these pieces.
It's true what they say, knowledge IS power. One of the best ways to effectively work a muscle is to understand its function. As far as the biceps are concerned, there are three functions we need to know:
- Function at the elbow: The most common function of the biceps is elbow flexion, or bending the elbow. Hence why a Bicep Curl is the most common bicep exercise of choice.
- Function at the forearm: The biceps are partly responsible for supination of the forearm, rotating the lower arm bone so the palms face up.
- Function at the shoulder: Our biceps play a small role in shoulder flexion, raising the arms in front of the body. Shoulder flexion is used to execute Forward Arm Raises
Now that we know how the biceps function, we can strategize our choreography game plan. Here are five traditional barre exercises with a specific intent on keeping the biceps engaged.
Yes, there is something to be said about gently hugging the elbows to the sides of the body to help create that internal resistance, but when internal resistance isn't making the cut, bring the elbows slightly forward of the torso.
The next time your're down in forearm plank, choose a forearm supination variation, palms facing up vs. the traditional palms down. Include this plank option after a long standing bicep series as icing on the cake.
Shoulder raises are meant to target the shoulders, but flip the palms up to the sky, think pinkies in line with the thumbs, and feel the sensation in the front of the upper arm.
The next time you walk up to the barre in preparation for a killer chair series, give the barre an underhand grip and maintain a soft bend in the elbows. We guarantee the thighs won't be the only things quivering mid series.
CLOSED GOAL POST
The natural position of the palms in a closed goal post position, think arms in front of your body shoulder height with elbows bent at 90, is to have the palms facing one another. Instead, rotate so the palms are in and knuckles away. The combination of elbow and shoulder flexion along with forearm supination is the perfect bicep recipe.