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Daily, ballet-inspired exercises can help you achieve muscle tone and lean limbs.
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With a blend of core-building exercises, resistance training and classic ballet moves, a ballet-inspired workout can help you on your way toward the classic ballerina body of long, firm limbs and gracefully rounded curves. According to Mary Helen Bowers, the best way to get a ballerina body is by doing exercises that tone and lengthen muscles. Doing these exercises daily is highly recommended, and she should know - she prepared Natalie Portman for her role as a ballerina in the movie вЂњBlack Swan.вЂќ All workouts need to begin with a warm-up session that includes stretching and gentler movements before starting the more physically demanding exercises.
Plies are classic to the ballet repertoire -- they're one of the first steps you learn when you take a class. Teaching balance and grace, plies also trim and tone your thighs and calves and can be done without any special equipment. Using the back of a chair for balance, stand with your heels touching and your toes pointing out, forming a 90-degree angle with your feet. Bend your knees and sink down as far as you can without lifting your heels, then gradually rise up to starting position. Repeat 10 to 12 times for one to three sets.
For your arms, use a mix of low weights and high repetitions to tone without adding bulk. Stand in a side lunge position with your legs more than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed outward; bend your left knee toward the side while keeping your right leg straight. Holding one dumbbell in each hand, place your arms in front of you, hanging down in a slightly rounded shape. Raise your arms to the side, holding your right arm out so it is parallel to the ground and your left arm is straight up. Your arms will be in an вЂњLвЂќ shape. Return to the original position and repeat 10 to 12 times before switching sides.
Tight Tummy and Slim Hips
A flat, gently curved waist helps give a ballerina her classic body shape. To exercise both your hip and abdominal muscles, lie down on the floor on a yoga mat or towel with your arms along your side and your legs together. Point your toes as you tighten your abdominal muscles, and raise your legs so they are straight up in the air -- bend at your hips, keeping your legs straight as they move as far back as they can. Carefully lift your hips off the ground without resorting to using your neck or shoulder muscles. Try to keep your hips 2 inches off of the ground for five seconds before slowly lowering your hips, keeping your legs in the air. Repeat eight to 10 times for one to three sets.
Making Things a Bit More Interesting
Balance is important for executing ballet's complicated moves. This multimovement exercise works your core muscles, legs and arms and also encourages balance. Hold on to the barre or back of a chair as you keep your torso straight and lift your left leg back so it is parallel to the floor. Raise your left arm straight in front so it is parallel to the floor. As you lift your left hand over your head with your palm facing downward and your arm curving gently at the side, bend your left knee so your toe points to the right. Return your arm and leg to parallel position and repeat the bending movement 20 times before switching sides.