Exercise Monday: Ballet 101
A few weeks ago I admitted to changing my normal vigorous interval training routines to ballet due to the effects it has on the body aesthetically. I want that long muscle definition that ballet workouts can give as opposed to the short, almost stocky, puffed muscle definition others workouts develop muscularly. At least, that was what I was starting to see develop on me and I want to look more Ginger Rogers than Zuzana Light. To each his/her own, of course!
Muscle definition is great, and however one gets it is A+. However, I also don’t like the pounding and high impact nature typical modern interval training workouts are. Dance is much more fluid and stretches the body. It is also an interval training type of workout, but not as jarring to the joints and bones. This is good for middle aged people like myself. As I age my muscles are getting tighter and tighter. Lengthening and stretching as well and building muscle is definitely the way I want to go. Ballet isn’t Yoga though; not in the slightest. It is physically hard work and makes me break out in a sweat every much as other workouts, depending on how vigorous the dance routine I do and how long the routine is.
Usually, 1. I start out with some gentle warm-up dance; 2. then a full body stretch routine; 3. then some barre work which builds muscle definition and trains the body to hold itself in a “turn-out” position; 4. then some floor work (a simple dance routine, this is the cardio part); 5. then some abs and/or legs-butt toning; 6. then a final yoga stretch. I have made private playlists on YouTube for me to do and I have been doing this for 5 weeks successfully. Since I started ballet at a young age (age 4), my body is better at acclimating to these types of workouts than someone who has never done them. However, that doesn’t mean one can’t do them if not done before. It will just take more time to become coordinated and understand how the body must move in ballet in order to fully do the workouts with ease.
Here I will share with you a good beginner workout if you are interested in trying it out. The instructor is so articulate and all of her dancers are adults, some better than others. I would suggest watching the video first, then trying to do the exercises. I use this as my beginning stretch, barre work and floor routine part of my workout. Don’t worry if you don’t have a proper barre, just use the top edge of a chair that you can swap back and forth to change sides. This video is in two parts as well. The first part is a Beginner Workout (called Level One), then halfway through the class begins again with a similar routine but it is more of an Intermediate Workout (called Level Two). I choose one or the other on different days. Try it!