At some point, most of us probably wanted to be a prima ballerina. Alas, we had to grow up. Now, we're all about the ballerina body — I mean, just look at someone like Misty Copeland. She's the perfect combination of beauty and strength, all long and lean and athletic.
But a body like that? That comes from hours and hours and hours of training... right? In Copeland's case, sure. But it doesn't have to. You can transform your body into a dancer's body (or, at least, get a little closer to one) with just a few ballet-inspired moves. Plus, they're easy enough for any fitness novice to try (just add more reps as you get stronger and stronger).
Here's the best part: These moves, courtesy of FlyBarre master instructor and co-director Kara Liotta, can be done anywhere. You don't need a gym, you don't even need a ballet bar — you can rock these out in your bedroom, while you're watching TV, or even while you're traveling. So, no excuses — your ballet body is waiting.
Wide Second Pliés
Stand with your feet wide apart and your legs turned out at a 45-degree angle. Bend your knees so they align directly over your ankles. Begin small pulsing movements, keeping your torso upright and avoiding leaning forward. Make sure your knees stay over the center of your foot and don't roll forward!
Inner Thigh Lifts
Lay down on your right side and cross your left leg in front of your body with a bent knee. Lift your right leg up off the floor with a straight leg and a flexed foot. Begin small upward pulses with your right leg to target the upper, inner thigh. Try not to roll backward, and to keep your left hip stacked exactly on top of the right.
Grab a hold of something light, like two-pound hand weights or even full water bottles. Standing up, extend your arms fully out to the sides of your body with a slight bend in your elbows, palms up, and hands just slightly forward of your shoulders. Begin small upward pulses, keeping your torso upright, to define your shoulders.
Narrow "V" Raises
Rest your hands lightly on a wall for balance and bring your heels together so your feet make a "V" shape, with just about four inches between your toes. Rise high up onto the balls of your feet, bring your heels together, and bend your knees. Keeping your shoulders over your hips, begin to pulse down, working the tops of the thighs.
Come onto all fours in a tabletop shape, with your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders. Lift one leg up behind you, keeping your leg bent at a 90-degree angle and your foot flexed. Begin small upward pulses, as if you are stepping the bottom of your foot on the ceiling. Try to keep your knee in line with your hip so that your thigh is parallel to the floor.
Begin laying down on your back with your legs fully extended. Slowly start to lift your body up into a seated "V" shape with a long spine and a slight bend in your knees. Try to keep your chest open and wide across the collarbone, your arms extended out in front of your body. Slowly lower yourself back down and then lift up to the high "V" shape again.
Images: Courtesy of Flybarre (5)