Tired of the treadmill, jaded from the gym, need to shake up your workout regime? Craving lean muscle, increased flexibility and improved posture? Then give ballet fitness classes a whirl.
Adults of all ages are now racing to ballet fitness classes and they are set to be one of the hottest workouts in 2017. The workouts are completely inclusive and can be part of a sustainable and enjoyable health and fitness regime for a lifetime.
“The Breaking Ballet course is a total body workout. It is not a trend, or a fad…”
The Breaking Ballet course is a total body workout. It is not a trend, or a fad, but is based on movements and techniques that have been used for years to tone and sculpt a dancer’s body. Ballet fitness classes have increased in prevalence since the 1940s when Lotte Berk, a German dancer – whose ideas form the foundations of ballet workouts – founded a technique combining dance moves and other forms of conditioning to rehabilitate her back injury.
The focus of the Breaking Ballet virtual classes is on low impact toning exercises and stretches through mat and resistance work. It targets arms, shoulders, stomach, thighs and glutes. There are no weights or machinery involved. There is no dancing involved, just ballet inspired exercises and stretches to lengthen your body with very little impact. The virtual classes target and use muscles that are not used in other fitness programmes, or sports. The body shape, posture and movement that result from this workout are as unique as the workout itself.
The following tips will see you through your first Breaking Ballet class with confidence and ease.
1 Embrace your beginner status.
“Enter into this new realm with an open and curious mind and discover that anything is possible.”
Being the new person in class can feel a little daunting to begin with. Having beginner status can make you feel awkward, clumsy and embarrassed. However, being a beginner is about discovering new things. Enter into this new realm with an open and curious mind and discover that anything is possible. Do not be afraid to ask me questions, or any of the other participants. After all, they were once newbies just like you.
2 Communicate with your instructor
Prior to signing up to the Breaking Ballet course, inform me of any issues/concerns you may have. I will want to know prior to you starting class if you have any injuries or pre-existing knee, ankle, back or neck pain/discomfort. If you do, this will help me advise you on how to adjust the exercises during each session if necessary.
3 Technique is everything.
“In order to reap the benefits, your form must be correct.”
Listen carefully to my verbal cues during the virtual class. In order to reap the benefits, your form must be correct. Pulling in the abdominals and squeezing the glutes (muscles of the buttocks) will help you get the most out of your workout. Channel a swan. Everything above the waist looks relaxed and graceful, gliding along the surface (long neck, relaxed shoulders and arms) and the pedalling and working hard happens from the waist down beneath the water.
4 What equipment do you need?
“Wear something comfortable but closely fitting ...”
You will need a pilates/yoga mat and a bottle of water to sip on throughout the class. Wear something comfortable but closely fitting (leggings/yoga pants). Bare feet or grip socks are ideal but you can wear ballet shoes if you have them. Once you are ready clear some space and place your belongings to one side so they are out of the way and are not a hazard. I will tell you when you need to get your mat out but for now leave it to one side.
5 Be kind to yourself
“Listen to your body and honour it. If something doesn’t feel right then don’t push it.”
Go easy on yourself. It can take several classes before you feel that your body and mind are talking to each other and the movements begin to flow more naturally. Listen to your body and honour it. If something doesn’t feel right then don’t push it. Accepting your physical limitations is the only way to improve in a safe way. Trust that you will get there and if you need help or advice regarding a particular movement, be sure to ask me either on the Facebook group or in the live sessions and I will be happy to go over it with you. If co-ordinating arms and legs proves a little tricky, focus on the legs only and try to relax. The arms will come in time when muscle memory kicks in.
These workouts force you to concentrate solely on your body. If your mind wanders your form will follow. Ballet is a great in the moment activity and is a true escape from the outside world.
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