Ballet Exercises - Improving core and leg strength

by Teneal
(Johannesburg, South Africa)

Ballet Exercises - Improving core and leg strength

Hi Odette! I'm 15 and started ballet a few months ago. I hope to be on pointe within the year as my teacher tells me I have the potential. Unfortunately my core and legs aren't quite strong enough to hold in classes. I was wondering if you had any tips or exercises to help improve? I have a specific weakness with my arabesques.

Much thanks!


Reply by Odette
To:- Ballet Exercises - Improving core and leg strength

Hello Teneal,

Thank you for your message, it's good to hear from you. It sounds like you are making great progress so far, especially since you only started ballet a few months ago. You have to remember ballet will always take time and patience to progress, so don't be too hard on yourself if you aren't getting the results you want straight away. You have to keep working hard and push yourself more in each ballet class.

Since you have only just started ballet, I think it is quite natural your core and legs aren't quite strong enough yet. It takes a lot of muscle strength and power to sustain most of the movements in ballet, so it will take practice to build this stamina in your body.

The more ballet classes you can do, the better, but

you can also practice in your own time to help improve. I suggest looking at some of the pilates exercises, especially to strength your core. There is an excellent DVD by ballerina Darcey Bussell, which I used to follow when I was younger to practice in the holidays when I wasn't taking as many ballet classes. Pilates has many good exercises for your core stability and leg muscles, which will definitely help in your ballet classes.

An arabesque is a tricky position to master, because it depends on flexibility, balance and strength all at the same time. I would say, for now, don't worry so much about the height of your leg. If you find the posiiton harder, you want to try and grasp the strength first before you try and get your leg higher.

For the arabesque position, even just practising a tendu or jete derierre which will help get the feel into your body for when you have to lift the leg up. Your back will even gain more flexibility in the backbends you do in class, so make sure you are doing this movement correctly and keep your abdominals engaged.

There are more tips on the arabesque position on this page, so make sure you have a look -

Improve My Arabesque!

I hope this helps, please keep in touch!

Best wishes,

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Thanks for the advice!
by: Teneal

Thans a bunch! I think I'll look into pilates at my gym and try that along with core classes.

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