Hello hello! Welcome back for part 2 of my ballet fit series. Today we’re talking all about that booty and core. (As I wrote that I totally thought of Meghan Trainor’s song…)
I hope you enjoyed my first post in this series about dancer legs. If you missed it, you can read it here. Now that your legs are nice and lean and strong, let’s move up a bit and talk about how to get a strong booty and core. Notice, I didn’t say abs. Your core is more than just your abs – it’s your entire midsection including your back.
Most of the time, people only work their rears because they want to look good in their favorite jeans (who doesn’t want that?). But what you probably didn’t realize is that working your rear makes it strong, and making it strong revs up your metabolism because it’s a large group of muscles. So, work your booty = look good in jeans = higher metabolism = more fat loss. Win-win-win-WIN!
So let’s jump in, shall we?
Dégagé Arabesque (DAY-gah-jay)
The word dégagé, pronounced DAY-gah-jay, means “disengage” in French. The idea is that your foot is going to leave the floor (disengage from the floor). You can do dégagé front, side, and back. We will do back here, then a slightly different version of that, then front.
This first exercise is going to work your booty and your back, which is part of your core. Begin by finding your turnout (check my previous post if you don’t remember how). Tendu to the back (again, see my last post if you don’t remember), making sure your foot lines up with your back – don’t let it fly to the side. Keeping your upper body as still as possible, lift your foot as high as you can without tipping forward. Your hips will tip slightly to allow room for your leg, but you don’t want to fall forward. You should have a curve in your back, and you should feel your back muscles contracting. You should feel as though your toe is not only lifting up, but out. Imagine that your toe is drawing a circle as it lifts and you want it to be as large a circle as possible. Think up and out.
Lower your foot down but don’t let it fall. Bring your upper body back to a straight, upright position as your toe reaches the floor. Repeat 10 times. Turn around and repeat on the other leg.
This starts the same way as the arabesque lift with your toe in a tendu back. This time though, instead of keeping your leg straight, you’re going to bend the knee and make an angle with your knee, a little larger than 90 degrees. Your toe should be slightly higher than your knee at the highest point.
The idea of drawing a circle is still there even though your leg is bent. Repeat 10 times, turn around, and repeat on the other leg.
Now we get on to the front of our core. Start in your turned out position and tendu the foot front. Keeping your upper body still without leaning back or buckling forward, lift your leg up. Again, think of drawing as big a circle as you can. It’s like your toe is the pencil on the end of a compass (remember those from your math days?) and you want to draw a perfect circle. The longer your leg, the larger the circle. Just don’t pull your leg out too far. It’s tricky – your hip must stay put yet you want to feel as though your leg is pulling out of your hip as much as possible. It’s a mind thing, but it truly makes your leg look longer.
You should feel your abs contracting as you lift your leg. If you don’t, put your focus in your abs. Close your ribcage too, that helps you to feel it.
Lower the foot to the floor. Repeat 10 times, turn around, and do the other leg.
My challenge to you
Once you’ve tried this mini workout enough times, combine it with last month’s workout. I guarantee you’ll get your sweat on!
And stay tuned for part 3 next month: all about stretching!
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