Most of us know that ballet is beneficial for your physique, but how so? Today we’re chatting about ballet. To start off, what does a great physique entail? An extended neck, a lean back, a flat tummy, toned arms, and long legs……can ballet really help you achieve this physique? The answer is yes, absolutely! But how?
We’ll explain in this ballet crash course!
The aesthetic principles of ballet are open, flexed, straight, and erect. All ballet training movements revolve around these 4 principles.
Open: “open” in ballet refers to joints being rotated outwards. Opening the shoulder joints will prevent slouching and elongate the neck; opening the hips will tighten the glutes and straighten the spine. The improved posture will alleviate shoulder and neck pains from sitting at the office all day too!
The shoulder joints need to be stretched out often!
Flexed: “flexed” in ballet refers to the tightening of all body muscles. The two most common phrases that you’ll hear from ballet instructors are “tighten your body” and “point your toes”. Tightening your muscles strengthens them. Try standing for 10 minutes with your whole body tensed up and you’ll understand! In ballet, you often train with your body muscles tightened for an hour or more. “Flexed” training is important to achieve a flat tummy, tight glutes, and slender legs. The more you tighten your muscles, the less excess fat there is, and the better your figure will look. Take a look at the physiques in any of the pictures; these can all be achieved with proper training.
Straight: “straight” in ballet directly describes the posture. Straight neck, straight back, straight legs. Adding to the straight posture, ballet training exercises will use a variety of movements to further extend and tighten your body. This principle is fairly straightforward.
“Straight” is not an easy principle to achieve.
It’s a condition that must be maintained with continuous training.
Erect: “erect” in ballet is an extension of the “straight” principle. “Erect” exercises like lifting the hips and demi-pointe are done on top of the straight posture to strengthen the body form. You can try a small exercise yourself at home: stand straight with your hands on your hips, push yourself up onto the balls of your feet, and repeat this movement 30 times……:-) Any muscle that feels sore has been strengthened in the exercise.
“Erect” is a body posture that you must experience for yourself. Take a look at the image below. Even in a sitting posture, you can still see the “erect” state. The body is erect from the spine to the top of the head, as if there was an invisible vertical axis. Despite the lowered head in the second photo, the dancer’s shoulders, hips, legs, and ankles are all straight and tightened.
Aside from these 4 principles, ballet training can also strengthen your core muscles (lumbar and abdominal). Let’s try another exercise. Imitating the photo below, lift one leg up to 90 degrees while keeping your legs and body straight (you can hold a chair for balance). Hold the position for 10 seconds and see which muscles start to shake! :-)
Ballet has a long history of over 500 years, during which a scientific and effective training regimen has been developed. Though the training process is tough, perseverance will bring you the results you desire. Don’t be lazy, don’t cheat, and don’t relax; if you set a goal and train for at least one year, you will be able to achieve the most beautiful version of yourself and fall in love with ballet at the same time. By then, it will be harder to give up ballet than to train! :-)