Dancers make it look effortless, but ballet requires great muscle control and stamina.
With its graceful, sweeping movements, ballet isn't just beautiful to watch, it can give you a vigorous workout that encourages balance and muscle development and stamina. Certain ballet movements are particularly well-suited to at-home workouts, although, in some cases, the exercises need a barre to provide support. If installing a long wooden beam seems like too much of a commitment, you can always use a chair as an inexpensive substitute.
The Standard Plie Squat
Perhaps one of the better-known ballet moves, thanks to Pilates and yoga, the plie works the muscles in your bottom and legs. Start in first position. Your legs are together, and your heels should be touching but point your toes outward, forming a 90-degree angle between your feet. Raise your right or left arm to chest height, creating a horizontal вЂњCвЂќ shape in front. You can use your other arm to gently hold onto the back of a chair to provide balance. Keeping your torso straight, lower your body, bending your knees, until your heels lift off the ground. Slowly rise back up to starting position. Repeat 10 to 12 times for one to three sets.
Plie Squat Variation
A variation on the first exercise, this squat uses the same movement but starts off with your legs hip-width apart. As before, point your toes outward. Because of the wider stance, you may not require a chair for balance. Keep your arms in front of you, forming a circle parallel to the ground with your finger tips almost touching. As you bend your knees, lowering your body, keep your back straight and slowly move your arms towards the side as you sink down. Slowly return back to starting position by rising and moving your arms forward. Repeat 10 to 12 times for one to three sets.
Easy to do, this ballet exercise can be slipped in throughout the day as the movement is not very large. Releves build calf muscles and encourage balance. Standing in first position with your heels and knees touching and your toes pointed out, hold onto the back of a chair for balance if you need it. Slowly raise your heels so you are standing on your toes only. Hold the position for five seconds before returning back to first position. Repeat 15 to 20 times for one to three set.
A variation on one of the classic ballet positions, this exercise not only works your gluteal and leg muscles, it also provides a workout for your core. Stand in first position with a chair, seat forward, in front of you. Bend at the hips, keeping your back straight and use your arms to hold the seat so your back is parallel to the ground. Raise one leg straight up, directly behind you, lifting as high as you can. Ideally, your leg will be higher than your hips. Hold for five seconds and slowly lower your leg back to hip level. Repeat 10 to 20 times and then switch legs. Do this for one to three sets.