Fitness, Your Dream Body

Beginner Ballet Leg Routine

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Beginner Ballet Routine for Dancer Legs - Peaceful Dumpling

Join us for a simple, beginner ballet leg routine–your legs will thank you!

Ballerinas are some of the most incredible athletes in the world. They spend years in training to achieve the balance, flexibility, and strength required to perform gravity-defying dance routines. But don’t let that intimidate you. These very simple, low-impact ballet exercises will beautifully tone your legs, no pirouetting required.  To modify any of the positions, you may lightly rest a hand on a chair for balance. 

Here are a few key principles to keep in mind throughout your workout: 

-Always engage your core – this will help you maintain a straight, graceful upper body while protecting your lower back from strain. Also key for balance!
-Keep your pelvis tucked in and hips squared–this will also help protect your lower back
-Fully straighten your legs after each bend–this will help form long, lean muscles
-Fold in a few stretches between each exercise–ditto those long, lean muscles 🙂
-Keep in mind that sometimes what isn’t moving (like your core, your arms, or your standing leg) is working just as hard as what is. Staying balanced while resting gravity builds endurance and strength.

Beginner Ballet Routine for Dancer Legs - Peaceful Dumpling

Beginner Ballet Routine for Dancer Legs - Peaceful Dumpling

Beginner Ballet Routine for Dancer Legs - Peaceful Dumpling

Beginner Ballet Routine for Dancer Legs - Peaceful Dumpling

1. First Position Plié (A fabulous leg lengthener)

Stand up straight on your mat with your arms in first position. (Arms gently extended in front of you and forming a circle. Hands are aligned with your waist.) Bring your heels together and point your toes out. Your toes should be in line with your knees as you bend – turning them past your knees may result in strain. Bend your legs until you can no longer bend them without raising your heels. Straighten  both legs. This is one rep. Repeat for two sets of ten reps.

Beginner Ballet Routine for Dancer Legs - Peaceful Dumpling

First Position Plié

2.  Second Position Plié  (This secretly works your arms, too.) 

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes turned out.  Extend arms to second position. (Arms are aligned with the shoulders and are gently rounded toward the center.  Keep your elbows lifted.) Repeat the movements from Exercise 1. Try to plié to the point where your thighs are parallel to the ground. Repeat for two sets of ten reps.

Beginner Ballet Routine for Dancer Legs - Peaceful Dumpling

Second Position Plié

3. Relevé in First Position (A.K.A. your calves’ best friend)

Return to first position legs and raise your arms into fifth position. (Both arms are lifted above your head in a circle). Raise onto the balls of your feet to come into demi-pointe. You are now in a relevé.  Keep engaging your core to stay balanced. Repeat for 2 set of 10 reps.

Beginner Ballet Routine for Dancer Legs - Peaceful Dumpling

Relevé in First Position

4.  Tendu Front, Sideways, & Back (Full body toner!)

Don’t brush off the humble tendu. Although they require only a small range of motion, they’re one of the most fundamental steps in ballet; even professionals start each company class with these (along with plies). After several reps, you’ll feel the burn in your inner thighs and butt.

 

Begin in first position legs and second position arms. Front: Point your right foot and extend in the direction in which your toes are pointing. Rest only your toes on the mat, and shift your weight to your left (standing) leg, and pause. Return to first position. Side: Following the same principle, brush your right toes directly to your side, pause, and return to first position. Back: Extend your active leg toward the back, keeping your toes pointed, pause, and return to first position.  Repeat ten times in each direction then switch sides.

Beginner Ballet Routine for Dancer Legs - Peaceful Dumpling

Tendu Front

Beginner Ballet Routine for Dancer Legs - Peaceful Dumpling

Tendu Back

 More workouts: Barre Dumbbell Exercises for All Over Toning

Pilates Bridge Workout

Yoga for Strong Core

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Photos: Mary Hood

Mary Hood Luttrell

Mary Hood Luttrell

Beauty Editor at Peaceful Dumpling
Peaceful Dumpling Beauty Editor and creator of Bisou du Jour, Mary Hood Luttrell lives with her husband in Corpus Christi, Texas. Mary is a freelance writer and writing and blogging consultant. A lover of whole foods, Mary delights in learning new ways to prepare vegan dishes. Mary also enjoys reading and writing poetry, art journaling, running, and practicing yoga and ballet. Follow Mary on her blog Bisou du Jour, Instagram and Pinterest.
  • just did this at my desk after lunch, and my legs felt it for sure!

    • That’s awesome! I love that this workout can be done anywhere. I do relevés while standing at the copier sometimes 😀

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