Floor exercises are a favorite among dancers, and here’s why: Even if you are the squat/lunge pro, exercises using gravity target every major and minor muscle of your lower body, on top of engaging your core. Being on the floor allows you to work angles that you wouldn’t normally be able to in standing position. At the same time, it’s really great for observing and correcting form–you can’t pendulum-swing your legs up on the floor, for instance. While dancers use floor exercises to improve their technique, we’ll focus on getting a “sexy lower body”–by which I mean smoking hot butt, hips, and thighs. They all look deceptively easy, but I promise, you’ll feel the burn!
1. Arabesque pulse: Sit on the floor with your right leg crossed in front of you, your left leg back with the knee bent. Both hips should be squared to the front as much as possible. Supporting yourself up on fingertips, lift your back leg off the floor as high as you can while remaining upright. Lower back down. Do 16 reps, then pulse your back leg in mid-air for another 16 reps. Switch sides.
2. Single-leg bridge: Lie down on your back, knees up and your feet almost up to your hips. Lift your hips off the floor, supported by a strong core. Lift one leg straight up into the air so that it’s perpendicular to the floor. Keeping your leg in the air, lower hips back down to the floor. That’s one rep: repeat 16 times, then keep your hips in the air and pulse for another 16 reps. Lower down and repeat on the other side.
3. Rond de jamb (Around the world): Lie down on your back, feet pointed and on the floor, knees straight, arms by your side. Engaging your core, lift your right leg straight in front of you. Bring it as close to your head as possible while keeping your legs straight and not lifting your upper body off the floor. Slowly circle the foot diagonally away from your face, then to the side, then back down to the starting position. Do 10 reps in clockwise circles, then 10 reps in counterclockwise circles.
Come to pause when your leg is straight out to the side, then pulse your leg mid-air for 16 reps. You should feel your inner thighs and your core working together, not your arms. Repeat on the other side.
Also in Your Dream Body: Yoga for Balance and Flexibility
Total Body Conditioning: Ballet Barre Workout
Photo: Peaceful Dumpling