Ballet Exercises - Working Out The Body?

by Katherine Anne Abbot
(South Africa)

Ballet Exercises - Working Out The Body?






Dear Odette

I have been dancing for almost 15 years and for an assignment for school we have been asked to compile an exercise regime. Typically, ballet would fall under a hobby and not a sport. I prefer not to do other sports or exercises over and above ballet, although I was wondering whether or not ballet is sufficient in working out the body optimally. Is going to gym and exercising the body on top of ballet unhealthy?

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Reply by Odette

To:- Ballet Exercises - Working Out The Body?

Hello Katherine,

Thank you for contacting me, it is great to hear from you. I would always say that professional dancers are most definitely athletes as well as artists, because ballet has extremely high physical demands from both the body and stamina.

Intense and regular training in ballet is definitely sufficient in toning and lengthening the muscles, but not always everything to keep the aerobic levels up. In a ballet class, there is a lot of stopping and starting so it is not always an intense, aerobic workout. A sport like swimming or running is more of an aerobic workout for stamina.

I've heard for training dancers, reaching a professional career, shouldn't use the ballet class as an aerobic workout but a time to focus on technique and using the correct muscles. Yes, the class will inevitably keep you fit but dancers should focus on corrections as oppose to just burning calories.

Training ballet dancers often feel the need to do extra aerobic exercise, such as swimming, to help keep fitness up and maintain stamina. So it is fine to go to the gym as well as ballet, but you just have to be sensible in giving your body enough rest as with tired muscles you are vulnerable to injury.

Again, thank you for your query.

All the best,

Odette

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Ballet Exercises - Seeing The Results

by Tamara Rose
(Mt. Shasta, Ca, USA)

Ballet Exercises - Seeing The Results

Hi Odette,
I've been working out a lot this summer (e.i. sit-ups, push-ups, all kinds of stretches, running whenever I get the chance) but nothing seems to work. My body definitely feels better when I work out and all that, but my body just never seems to look like I'm working out so much. Do you have any ideas on what kinds of exercises I can do that would show the results right away?

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Ballet Exercises - Seeing The Results

Reply by Odette

Hello Tamara,

Thank you for contacting me, it is a pleasure to hear from you.

It is excellent to hear your dedication to keeping fit, so I understand it must be frustrating if you don't see the results on your body. However, it does take time to see the results on your body and it is a gradual process to change and tone up the body. Therefore, if your body feels better then it could just be a case of more time and endurance to see the physical results.

It is unlikely that you will see the results straight away, as to get the most of out all exercise it is the time and effort that will achieve the best results. So I advise you to keep exercising on a regular basis with a balanced workout as this is what will make the most difference.

Aerobic workouts such as running and swimming is good for keeping fit and toning the body. You want to aim for 30 minutes a few times a week. Also make sure you don't get into the 'comfort zone', so you are always getting your heart beat going and pushing your body to the maximum.

Pilates or yoga are very popular exercises for dancers to do as well as other the aerobic workouts. Pilates is great for core
strengthening and toning the muscles. Many dancers like to have a pilates session before ballet class because it engages your core stability.

It is advisable to eat a healthy, balanced diet full of nutritious foods. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, whole grains and lean proteins.

Drink plenty of water too, 2 litres a day is the recommended amount. Green tea is very good for you too.

Keep working hard and stay in touch!

Best Wishes,

Odette

ps. To become the best dancer you can be, learn the Seven Secrets ..... go to my 'Seven Secrets of Ballet' page

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Ballet Exercises - Bulking Up

Ballet Exercises - Bulking Up

Hi, Odette:

Help! I'm bulking up! I've been doing the New York City Ballet workout video faithfully for the past three weeks. I've noticed improved posture and flexibility. However,I also noticed that I'm not getting thinner. I'm getting thicker?! My hips and thighs are getting bigger and some of my skirts won't fit anymore. What's going on? I only eat a 1200 calorie a day diet. I'm very disciplined and no cheating.

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Reply by Odette

Ballet Exercises - Bulking Up

Hello,

Thank you for contacting me, it is a pleasure to hear from you.

I understand it must be frustrating to be so disciplined yet still see no results. However, it may be muscle you are gaining not fat. Ballet dancers are actually very athletic, although dancers look thin and delicate, they have an incredible amount of muscle and strength. So perhaps you are getting more toned, as oppose to just getting bigger because don't forget, muscle weighs more than fat.

So it may be that your fitness levels are increasing and you are getting more toned. Ballet dancers strive to be strong and athletic, so if you are aiming to fine down, then perhaps try combining the New York City Ballet workout with another form of aerobic exercise. This may include swimming or running a few times a week. Anything that raises your blood pressure and makes you sweat.

Also, muscle needs more energy to maintain itself than fat does so make sure you aren't restricting your diet too much. It is far better to eat a healthy, balanced diet to make sure you are providing your body with the right fuel.

Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, whole grains and lean proteins. Drink plenty of water too, 2 litres a day is the recommended amount. Green tea is very good for you too.


All the best,

Odette

ps. To become the best dancer you can be, learn the Seven Secrets ..... go to my 'Seven Secrets of Ballet' page

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