Ballet is great for strength, toning, flexibility and gives you fantastic posture. No wonder ballet fitness classes are becoming increasingly popular.
Becoming a professional in ballet takes a lifetime of dedication. The good news is that ballet has been adapted to a fitness workout so you can reap the benefits even if you dance like a baby elephant.
Tempted to unleash your inner Billy Elliot? Or just want to look fabulous in a leotard?
Here are the basics of the ballet workout:
You don’t need to be ballerina-thin or ballet-dancer fit to do a ballet workout. Ballet classes are designed for all levels of fitness. As always, if you are carrying an injury or a health problem speak to the instructor beforehand.
Remember that you don’t need to be female to do a ballet workout – men are welcome too!
No tutu required, just a simple top and leggings. Your clothes need to be form fitting so that the instructor can see your posture and help you get the moves right. Some classes are done barefoot, some in socks and some in trainers. So give the gym a call and ask about the right footwear before your first class.
Bring a bottle of water and a towel to keep handy - some moves may make you sweatier than you think!
The main feature is that these classes are based round the barre, a handrail that provides support and simulates a dance partner. As well as adapted ballet moves, classes can include techniques from Pilates and yoga. The general idea is for many repetitions of small controlled movements, with constant attention to posture and technique.
The positions are nowhere near as extreme as you see at a ballet performance, so don’t worry about flexibility. The instructor will watch your technique and help you challenge yourself within sensible limits.
Ballet classes are 100% weight-bearing work, which is essential for strong bones. The consistent and repeated moves help to tone and strengthen muscles. The stretching also promotes a general feeling of well-being.
Take any claims that the session ‘burns fat’ with the usual pinch of salt, unless the workout includes a high-intensity cardio section.
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I've been doing Ballet classes since January and I absolutely love it!! So good for fitness and flexibility. I don't recognise my legs! Tried Ballet as a kid and hated it.
Ballerinas are probably among the fittest and strongest people there are, so ballet must be amazing for you. I have never seen any ballet classes at my gym, but if they offered them I would love to try it out.
I remember doing ballet as a child and hating it, as well as being told I was 'too big boned', so unfortunately this isn't for me. I will stick to tough 'n' rough workouts!
I thought this would be horribly difficult, but I'm really encouraged now. Hopefully the instructor will be sympathetic to someone who doesn't bend very well!
I tried the barre classes and they were great, so I'm going to do some ballet now!
never mind Billy Elliot, I want to be like his teacher played by Julie Walters! I will be looking out for these classes.
Ballet is so popular with little girls, but there's no reason we shouldn't do it as adults. It's great fun, and a really great way to keep fit.
Billy Elliott springs to mind - I might just give it a go!