Jan. 08

Ballet Workout

Category > Fitness

For as long as I could remember, I have been addicted to ballet. I danced for the better part of 16 years and only do it recreationally now (much less than that in the last year sadly). When I was younger, the mature dancers were so mysterious and the epitome of grace, elegance and beauty. For me, ballet speaks volumes – the expression that comes through a dancer is something that evokes such emotion. It is meticulous and precise….sigh

Physically speaking, ballet has always done more for my body than any other workout regime in that it allows me to focus less on what my body looks like from the outside and more on what my body can do and how I feel. Ironically, when I focus energy on that, exterior results follow suit. If you’re not sold, simply look to some of the most famous bodies in Hollywood to inspire you; Natalie Portman, Miranda Kerr, Kelly Ripa, Madonna, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jennifer Aniston, Karlie Kloss, Charlize Theron etc etc…seriously the list is endless.

I blame the New Year for my random straying thoughts, but I’ve had a recent hankering to explore teaching some ballet-inspired fitness classes at my gym!  Doing something like that is totally out of my comfort zone (believe it or not). I have been doing endless research on the various types of certifications and what is needed for it to be legit. There are so many great tools out there, but I am also looking forward to tapping into my own personal experience and training to make this happen. Here’s my take on why incorporating some Ballet fitness into your schedule is probably some of the best advice I’ll ever share:

  •  It incorporates interval training (high and low, discontinuous exercise) with isometrics (strength training where the joint angle and muscle length do not change during contraction). These two combined are powerful in shaping/transforming your body
  • It targets all muscle groups
  • Has a huge impact on lifting your bum and elongating/tapering thighs
  • Uses your own body weight to isolate, sculpt and strengthen muscles resulting in power, physical grace, stamina and extraordinary body changes
  • If you have bad knees, it can help with issues as it builds the muscle and makes them more elastic
  • Increases range of motion and flexibility
  • Renewed confidence and energy
  • Significantly improves posture and increases self confidence
  • If you’re a home-body, there are many DVD’s that are available for purchase. Especially good for new mommy’s who can’t make it to the gym

 

The key to all of these exercises while performing them is to ALWAYS ensure your core is engaged and it is keeping your posture strong and tall. In the thumbnails below, pay attention to whether my feet are flexed or pointed – it’s makes a huge difference. Do not worry about how high you can get your leg – it is not a competition – do what feels comfortable and with time you will find your body transforms and flexibility will be natural. Also, I didn’t have a barre for use in these exercises, so you will notice that I am improvising with a pole. Ideally, you should use a barre or sturdy chair if possible.

Do 1 set of the recommended number of reps for each move, moving from one to the next with no rest in between. Repeat for 3 sets

Bridge
Perform 30 reps on each leg
This targets inner thighs, back of the legs, core and glutes. (Notice that you’re coming up on the ball of your foot of the supporting leg).

Ab Port de Bras
Perform 30 reps with 2 lb dumbbells
Targets your core, including lower back and arms

 

Arabesque Attitude
Perform 20 reps on each leg
Targets your glutes, hips and obliques

 

Rond de Jambes
Perform 20 per leg while in demi position, then repeat with your leg lifted in the air for another 20 reps. (This exercise was hard to capture in the stills, so I took a short video to demonstrate as well)
Targets thighs, hips, abs and arms

Fondue to Arabesque
Perform 20 reps per leg/arm without resting or putting your working leg down using 2 lb dumbbells
Targets glutes, thighs, arms

 

Arabesque Pulses
Perform 20 per leg/arm without resting or putting your working leg down on the ground using 2 lb dumbbells
Targets shoulders, glutes, core

 

Inner Thigh Splits to Sous-Sous
Perform 30 reps alternating feet keeping your core engaged the whole time
Targets abs, inner thighs, glutes

 

Side-Lying Développé
Perform 25 reps on each side
Hamstrings, outer glutes and outer thighs

 

Supine Cross Ankles
Perform 30 reps with 2 lb dumbbells in each hand with arms 1 inch off the floor
Pectorals, anterior deltoids, lower abs, inner thighs

 

Supine Grand Battement
Perform 20 reps per leg
Targets thighs, lower abs

 

I really hope you enjoy this one as much as I do! Ballet and dance is something that helps me escape from whatever is on my mind and the results are out of this world.

“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.”
― Friedrich Nietzche

8 comments
Marielle
Marielle

Awesome post! I'm slowly becoming obsessed with barre-type classes, so I really enjoy getting new ideas and continuing to hear the benefits! 

fitsoulja
fitsoulja

I loved this post because it encompasses my new found love for "ballet" inspired things!  I've never been a dancer or anything, but recently I picked up some ballet conditioning type stuff through Ballet Beautiful and Leah Sarago's Ballet Body.  I love them both!  Have you heard of the latter DVD?  It's kind of barre/ballet inspired.  Thank you for the clear explanations on these, I'm sure it wasn't easy to get all the right shots :P

shannonmariedesigns
shannonmariedesigns

I mentioned on twitter the other day how much I am enjoying this workout (my 3-year-old is a fan, as well). I think it is my favorite one yet. I used to dance years ago, and now my daughter takes ballet. I think it made it easy for us to follow this workout. Would love to see more like this. Thanks :-)

hbelladams
hbelladams

I love incorporating elements of ballet into my workout! Thanks for this! Do you have any suggestions for good dvds?

Jeniffer
Jeniffer

Love this post, please keep them coming! Thanks

Azgirl
Azgirl

Love this soo much! I have been doing barre workouts for years and it definitely has changed my body! I have taken some dance (ballet and jazz) when I was younger but never seriously. Your workout above is great! I do different Dvd's and take an in studio barre class, definitely my fav type of workout :). Thanks for sharing!

hautepnk
hautepnk moderator

 @shannonmariedesigns I love that you're enjoying this. As noted, I think this is my favourite post so far - I'm not sure why it took me so long to do a dance one - especially when the benefits are HUGE XOXOX Also, thanks so much for your feedback and support :) I love http://rawdorable.blogspot.ca/ too!