Sit, stand, walk, run, squat; your butt and thighs will surely get a workout during your daily routines, but what about all the smaller muscles between them?
You are usually exercising your big muscles such as your glutes and quads and hamstrings without any special exercise, but it is less likely that you are touching all the small muscles such as abductors and adductors, which are the muscles in your inner and outer thighs.
These are muscles that help rotate your legs in and out, and they will make you more efficient and less prone to injury while walking, running or doing anything else.
Ballerinas know that they have to exercise these muscles all the time. Think of how they can leap around with ease; this is because their legs are almost always turned outwards, which means that they put in an effort to strengthen these muscles.
These moves may feel strange at first, but you’ll get the hang of it in time. Dancer Jillian Dreusike said “The smaller muscles aren’t less important, but they’re not the first group of muscles that our brain goes to activate during certain motions”.
That means you have to really think about the area you’re working and focus on tapping into each muscle—especially when you’re doing a move that requires tiny movements. After doing this workout once or twice, your muscle memory will kick in and it’ll start to feel more natural.
Here’s what the workout includes:
- Allongée Propellers — 10 reps
- Allongée Swiveling Glute Burners — 10 reps
- Ballerina Squats — 10 reps
- Barre Assemblés — 10 reps
- Assemblé Pulses — 10 reps
- Thigh Super Burner — 10 reps
- Four-Part Arabesque Lunge — 10 reps
- Arabesque Pulses — 10 reps
You should do all these moves with your right side at first, then switch over to the left. Dreusike says “You’re getting a greater burn when you’re making that side work and work, and then switching to other side to do everything else.”
You are also working both sides at the same time, since you need one leg to stabilize your body.If you are doing this workout at home, you can use a chair instead of the ballet pole to help keep you balance.
Dreusike explains “I use the window sill in my apartment, the barre isn’t meant to be pulled on, so make sure to use a lightweight chair, which reinforces your balance while you’re doing the movements.”
Allongée Propellers — 10 reps each side
Stand at the bar, or at the back of the chair with your hands resting gently on it. Bend your right leg and bring the right knee as close to the chest as possible. Lift your left heel so you are standing on your toes.
Bend as much as you can with your left leg, but keep your left foot in an arch, while at the same time bring your upper body forward. Flex your right toes, lifting up your right leg behind your heel towards the ceiling.
Keep your back flat. Return to the original position and do 10 reps for each side.This exercise will work on your glutes, thighs and core strength all together. when your body is parallel to the ground, you are using your glutes, quads and hamstrings.
Don’t forget to keep the weight of the body toward the top of the standing foot. Dreusike says “Hold the weight between your big toe and second toe. And when you’re bending forward, make sure your knee doesn’t push forward beyond your toes.”
Allongée Swiveling Glute-Burners — 10 Reps Each Side
Stand at the bar, or at the back of the chair with your hands resting gently on it, and your feet angled out. Bend the right knee to a passé position, where you should bring the right toe to your left knee, swivel it in front of the left leg and then turn the knee back to a passé position.
Remember to always keep your toes pointed. Repeat it 10 times for each leg.
This move will work out your inner and outer thighs as you swivel your legs in and out. When you add the pulse in the passe position, you are also putting pressure on your hips and standing leg.
“A lot of times when we do something with the femur moving in our hip sockets, our hips move around like we’re dancing like Shakira. So try and keep them nice and square. Make sure that joint isn’t wiggling around.”
Ballerina Squats — 10 Reps
Start by standing parallel to the chair with your toes turned out and hands resting gently on the chair. Jump your heels together and jump back out.
Do a total of four jumps. Afterwards hold the second position and pulse your knees open for four reps. Repeat four jumps and four pulses, which is one rep. Do 10 reps.
You’ll feel this in your whole lower body, but mostly in your calves, quads, and glutes. You’ll also hit your core again because you are holding and switching positions in the air and on the ground.
Try to deepen your plié while your heels are down in first position, Dreusike says, to get a good stretch in your Achilles tendon.