A Barre Teacher Recommends These Five Exercises For Better Posture

Gen Greensted demonstrating the four-point arm and leg extension
(Image credit: The Barre Coach)

How’s your posture? Did you catch yourself slouching as you read that? If there’s room for improvement you should try barre. Barre is a challenging style of workout that combines ballet-inspired movements with Pilates-style strength work. It’s a tried-and-tested combination for improving your posture.

Qualified barre instructor Gen Greensted runs online barre program The Barre Coach and offers classes from her studio in Cobham in the UK. As well as explaining how barre can help with posture, she has also shared a five-move barre workout with Coach so we can all work on improving our posture.

“Barre workouts focus on alignment, balance and core strength, all of which play important roles in improving posture,” says Greensted. “The emphasis on controlled movements and maintaining a neutral spine helps strengthen these muscles while also promoting flexibility and mobility—all components of good posture.”

Five Barre Exercises For Posture

If you want to see changes, you’ll need to do workouts like this one regularly. “I’d aim to incorporate posture-focused workouts like Barre classes into your routine two to three times a week,” says Greensted. “With this level of consistency, you’ll start to notice you are standing taller and moving with more ease in day-to-day life in as little as four weeks. Beyond the physical benefits, improved posture can have an amazing impact on your mental and emotional well-being, giving you a greater sense of confidence.”

1 Barre-style bent-over row

Reps 10-12 each side

Stand with your feet hip-width apart holding a pair of light dumbbells (1-3kg). Step one foot back to adopt a staggered stance for a little extra glute work in this exercise. Hinge at your hips to bring your chest forward, keeping your back flat and core engaged. Bend your elbows and pull the dumbbells towards your ribcage, squeezing your shoulder blades down and in towards your spine. Lower the weights with control and repeat. Make sure you switch legs and repeat the exercise if you opt for the staggered stance.

“This is great for targeting your upper back and core while working on shoulder blade stability,” says Greensted. “It helps counteract the effects of sitting for extended periods.”

2 Barre-inspired Superman variations

Reps 10-12

Lie face down on a mat with your legs straight and arms stretched out in front. 

Keeping your neck in a neutral position (chin very slightly tucked, looking down at the floor), slowly lift your arms and legs a few inches off the floor, engaging your back, glutes and core. Hold at the top, squeeze your shoulder blades down and in towards your spine as you bend your elbows and pull them towards your feet, your hands passing the top of your head. Extend your arms in front and lower your arms and legs to the mat. You can progress this exercise by holding a resistance band, held shoulder-width apart in your hands.

Come up onto all fours and perform a few cat/cows (spinal extension and flexion) after you’ve finished this exercise to get some movement back into your spine.

“This exercise is all about strengthening your lower back, core and glutes, all key muscle groups in improving posture,” says Greensted.

3 Static lunge with chest opening

Reps 10-12 each side

Kneel on your mat then place one foot on the floor in front of you and your weight slightly shifted forward so your front knee is over your ankle. Hinge forward from your hips so your chest moves closer to your front thigh and tuck the toes of your back foot under. Bring both hands to the side of your head with your elbows pointing forward and round your shoulders slightly.

Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, push up through your front leg until your back knee comes off the floor into a lunge and open up across your chest by pulling your elbows wide. Return to the start with your knee on the mat and repeat, moving slowly and with intention.

“This exercise is amazing for building total-body stability as you’ll have to work hard to find your balance,” says Greensted. “You’ll build glute strength, core stability and work on opening across your chest and reducing any forward rounding of your shoulders.”

4 Four-point leg extensions with resistance band

Reps 10-12, then 10-12 with reduced range, each side

Begin on all fours with your shoulders over your wrists, hips over your knees and your pelvis in a neutral position. Secure your long resistance band to the floor under both hands and loop the middle part around the back of one flexed foot. Inhale as you hover your knee off the mat. Exhale, engaging your core and squeezing your glute as you extend your leg back, finishing with your heel in line with your hip.

Repeat this exercise for the 10-12 reps, then perform the same movement but reduce the range of movement by half, so you’re extending your leg, then bringing it only halfway back, completing another 10-12 reps. Then switch legs.

“This exercise is great for shoulder and core strength and stability while building glute strength and working on hamstring flexibility, all of which are important for improving overall posture,” says Greensted.

5 Four-point arm and leg extension

Reps 10-12

Start on all fours with your shoulders over your wrists, hips over your knees and your pelvis in a neutral position. Place one hand on the side of your head with your elbow out to the side and slide the opposite leg back until it’s extended with your toes pointed, touching the floor.

Take a deep breath in and lift your back leg while drawing the opposite elbow a little higher towards the ceiling. As you exhale, slightly round your back and pull your knee and elbow in towards your core, engaging your core muscles as you do so. Inhale to return to your extension.

“This exercise is all about stability,” says Greensted. “It helps build core and glute strength, while opening your chest and helping reduce forward rounding of your shoulders.”

About Our Expert
The Barre Coach Gen Greensted headshot
About Our Expert
Gen Greensted

Gen Greensted is a certified barre instructor, and pregnancy and postpartum corrective exercise specialist (PCES). Previously head of creative operations for a luxury fashion brand, Greensted fell in love with barre, finding it empowering and transformative both mentally and physically. Through The Barre Coach, which she founded in 2020, she helps clients build strength and confidence, changing their relationship with exercise.

Camilla Artault
Content editor

Camilla Artault is a writer and keen runner. She has covered women’s running gear – testing leggings, jackets, running bras, tops and shorts – for Coach since 2018, as well as interviewing experts and writing about a range of health and lifestyle topics.