Floor Exercises for Ballet Abs
I typically associate ballet with graceful pliés and elegant port de bras, which feature the legs and arms, respectively. But behind all of those seemingly effortless movements is a strong, engaged core. In fact, a toned core is often the foundation for any athletic activity—including strutting your stuff down the street and even sitting prettily (that is, not slouching).
The following ballet ab exercises have been adapted from classic ballet positions and contemporary Pilates routines. As you work through the exercises, keep your movements slow and under control. For each exercise, do 4 sets of 8 reps. As you perform the movements, keep your core tucked in and engaged. Stretch your torso between each exercise.
Sit on your mat with your legs outstretched with toes pointed. Bring your arms into first position, and lean back until you feel that your legs are about to lift off the ground. Return to starting position. The goal is to keep your legs straight and anchored to the ground while leaning back as far as your can.
Ballet roll-up pulses.
Stay in ballet roll-up position and lean back as far as you can while keeping your legs anchored to the ground. Lean forward a few inches, keeping your core tucked in. This is one pulse. Continue pulsing in this intense work zone.
Ballet sitting twists.
Sit on your mat with your legs facing forward, knees together and slightly bent. Bring your arms into first position. Lean your torso back halfway while keeping your feet on the mat. Twist to one side, pause a beat, then twist to the other side. This is one rep. Keep your core tensed as you twist. This movement is great for your obliques!
Lie flat on your back. Raise your arms into fifth position. Lift your legs, keep them straight, and form a right angle with the floor. Point your toes, and make tiny scissor movements as your lower your legs halfway to the ground then slowly raise them (still scissoring) to their starting right angle.
Ronds de jambe sur le tapis. (Moving your legs in circles while you lie on the mat.)
Keep arms in fifth position, and lie flat on your back. Lift one leg in the air, about 45 degrees from the floor. Keep the leg straight, and point your toes. Slowly trace a small, clockwise circle in the air. Try to avoid raising your hips as you circle. Repeat on the other side. After two sets, switch circle direction to counterclockwise.
Next up: “Ballet with Cats.” Just kidding 🙂
More in ballet barre workout: Essential Dumbbell Toning Exercises
Photos: Mary Hood