Popularized by celebrities, the idea of ballet as fitness experienced a boost in availability and recognition thanks to professionals like Mary Helen Bowers (she worked with Natalie Portman for her role in Black Swan). Bowers workouts, available on the Ballet Beautiful website offer “ballet-inspired videos and class options including targeted toning exercises, stretches, and high- and low-impact cardio workouts designed to build sleek, sexy muscles and beautiful ballerina posture.”
My personal experience with ballet includes mandatory “cross-training” during my formative years as a competitive figure skater, and, more recently a return to my childhood dance instructor’s studio for adult ballet classes. Miss Judy’s classes were fun, and informal. (They were enjoyed by students from 20 – 70, and included choreography and a weekly potluck!) Even this informal setting couldn’t distract from the fact that ballet brings the burn! Each week I’d leave with my buns on fire, followed by a couple of days of muscle soreness.
I recently added some pointe back in to my at-home workouts and have been delighted with the results. Slow, methodical, even lyrical movements deliver undeniable bang for their buck when practiced thoughtfully. A Pointe or Barre workout include hallmarks or fitness like tightening, control, repetition, and resolve, yet somehow ballet or barre is often kept out popular gyms.
Figure skating builds strong legs. Legs built for explosive tricks. Legs built for aerobic and anaerobic output. Ballet encourages tone, control, and a deep, sustainable strength. Why wouldn’t I pair them?
Do you love it?!?