You've heard all about the new barre workouts popping up all over the place. You know the type... the "ballet workout" that is sworn to give you the body of a dancer. Several years ago before The Barre Method and Pure Barre became household names, little ol' Amanda here created a class called Ballet Burn.
I was in dance class since I was 3 years old. I danced through college and into my twenties. When fitness became a larger part of my life, I made the switch from barre to barbell. After a couple years as a "fitness instructor by trade, prima ballerina at heart", I decided to combine the two. Ballet workouts were just starting out, and seemed to be a big hit, so I went for it! I took my 20+ years of dance background and combined it with my new found knowledge of fitness. The result was a 30 minute workout using only your body weight and a chair.
Here is a clip of one sequence from a typical Ballet Burn class. You can see this particular sequence clearly uses basic ballet techniques, however what you may not realize is that these "dance moves" are building all the large and small muscles of the legs that allow dancers to have those lean, toned calves, quads and hamstrings. I mean, think about it... how many dancers have you seen with kankles? Just saying.
Give this a shot... grab a pair of yoga pants and a chair. Hey there gentlemen, yes- you too! Get those tights on fellas, we are all in this together- right ladies?
Lay your fingertips gently on the back of the chair. Focus on your posture... stand up straight, shoulders back, chin up, belly button sucked in, butt tight, chest out (sound familiar, my fellow ballerinas?) and here we go!
First position parallel (feet together, toes pointed forward): Releve (calf raise) for a count of 8 then hold releve for a count of 8.
First position turn out (feet together, toes pointed out): Releve (calf raise) for a count of 8 then hold releve for a count of 8.
After you hold for 8, stay in first position releve and pull your heels together. Grande plie (bend the knees like a squat) for a count of 8.
After your 8th grande plie, rise slightly to demi plie position and squeeze your knees together for a count of 8.
Straighten the legs and lower the heels to the floor.
Repeat this sequence 2 more times.
What does this all do??
Well, the releves are self explanatory. By adjusting the direction of your toes in this simple calf raise, you are able to work on both the medial head and the lateral head of the gastrocnemius muscle. AKA... you work the entire calf. Holding the releve simply forces you to focus on your balance and your posture and adds to the "burn"!
Grand plies and demi plies work the quads as well as the glutes. Grande plie is a deeper squat and hits the glutes slightly better than the demi. These techniques are only going to work if your form is proper so be sure to keep your upper body still while lowering into these positions.
Squeezing your knees together while in demi plie is working your inner thighs. This area is generally very difficult to work and though this particular motion may feel awkward, it is an effective way to target some tough to reach muscles!
And there you have it! A 48 count chair workout that you can do in the privacy of your own home!
If you would like help performing the workout described, feel free to contact me on information on how you can attend a FREE DEMO of Ballet Burn!!
Don't forget to stretch, enjoy!