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Get en pointe with a ballet-inspired workout


 
We all know that professional dancers go through rigid and intense rehearsals to make their bodies long, lean and toned. But you don’t have to be a prima ballerina to get bods like the pros– you don’t even need dance shoes! Get inspired by these ballet moves during your next workout.
 
Calf Raises
Calf raises are fab because you can literally do them anywhere, even if you don’t have a barre. Stand with one foot facing forward and the other pointed out, then lift up onto your toes, and go back down. It’s a simple enough exercise to repeat frequently, so do yours in the morning while you brush your teeth or wait for the bus, or as a post-cardio stretch to tighten up your muscles. The more you do, the stronger your calves will get.
 
Pliés
These are like the ballerina version of squats. Stand up straight (as with all ballet exercises, posture is super important, so always make sure your spine is straight and your shoulders are pulled back!) with your feet together. With your feet still touching at the heels, make turn out your feet as far apart as possible (but making sure you can still stand comfortably). Then, raise your arms to your bellybutton height and create a circle, with your fingers almost touching. In ballet, this is called first position. Bend your knees in the same direction as your toes, starting gradually at first, but bending deeper as you go on. The more you practice these thigh-strengthening exercises, the farther you will be able to bend down.
 
Leg Pulses
Besides toned bodies, another thing all ballerinas have is balance. But since most of us don’t have a barre available, you can use a sturdy chair for this exercise. Hold onto the chair, and slowly raise one leg off of the ground, pointing the toe, and keeping your other foot flat. Gently pulse your raised leg up and down, using your leg and abdominal muscles to lift your leg. To make it more intense, do calf raises with the leg that is on the ground while you pulse the other. Make sure you’re not putting your weight on the chair, though, so you can get the full effect!

 

BY RACHEL NUGENT ON 10/21/2011 7:00:00 AM

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