workouts

Ballet Bites – Mini Workouts

Elina WisungBallet, Education, inspiration, preparation, technical development Leave a Comment

By Anagha Madhan from En Avant Magazine Jan Feb 2024

While you wait for your school bus to arrive, or when you reach the studio early, pick one or several of these mini workouts to strengthen and stretch your muscles.
  1. Plie Series:
    • 20 demi-pliés (half bends) in first position.
    • 20 grand pliés (full bends) in first position.
  2. Tendu and Degagé Series:
    • 20 tendus on each foot (front, side, back) in first position.
    • 20 degagés on each foot with a low lift and lower in first position.
  3. Arabesque Lifts:
    • Stand facing a barre or sturdy surface.
    • Lift one leg behind you into low arabesque, keeping the ribs and hips square.
    • Perform 15-20 small lifts, engaging the glutes and lower back, and keeping the hips and abdominals lifted.
  4. Balance Exercises:
    • Hold a relevé position of your choice (on the balls of your feet) for 30 seconds to 1 minute, focusing on stability.
    • Repeat in various positions: first position, second position, fifth position, on one foot, etc.
  5. Core Work:
    • Plank: Hold a plank position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, maintaining the lift in the abdominal muscles.
    • Leg lifts: While lying on your back, lift and lower your legs without letting them touch the floor. Aim for 15-20 reps.
  6. Stretching:
    • Seated forward bend: Sit with legs extended and reach forward to stretch hamstrings.
    • Butterfly stretch: Sit with the soles of your feet together and gently press your knees toward the floor.
  7. Foot and Ankle Strengthening:
    • Alphabet toes: Sit or stand with one foot off the ground and “write” the alphabet in the air with your toes.
    • Theraband exercises: Use a resistance band to point and flex your feet against resistance.
  8. Port de Bras:
    • Perform your grade level’s port de bras with slow and controlled movements, shaping your arms through various positions.
    • Focus on maintaining proper alignment and engaging the muscles in your abdominals and back to hold your posture.
  9. Superman Exercise:
    • Lie face down on the floor with your arms extended in front of you.
    • Lift your arms, chest, and legs off the ground, squeezing your glutes and upper back.
    • Hold the position for a few seconds and then lower back down.
    • Aim for 2 sets of 12-15 repetitions.
  10. Lunges with Side Stretch:
    • Step into a lunge position with your right foot forward.
    • Lower your hips and feel a stretch in the inner thigh of your left leg.
    • Extend your left arm overhead and lean towards the right side, deepening the stretch.
    • Hold for 20-30 seconds and switch sides.
Tips:
  • Complete a set of your pre-class warm-up before you start stretching!
  • Perform these exercises, especially those including ballet steps, in front of a mirror so you can keep yourself in check, and learn how it feels to be square, and correct.
  • Remember, you can send in videos to your teacher, to make sure you are doing the exercises correctly!
  • Start slow! Your muscles can only gain flexibility and strength slowly, going too fast will do more damage than good. Aim for 5-7 reps, or holding for 10-15s, and increase gradually each week or so. 
  • Join Stretch and Beyond for Ballet for teacher-led classes to stretch and strengthen your muscles 
Check out our YouTube site as well as our blogs for more mini workouts!

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