Ballet arms at home

Ballerinas have an extraordinary physique. They are both strong and lean, have limbs that go forever and are masters in the art of posture, poise and elegance. A ballerina moves with grace and precision. This comes from an awareness of her (or his) body. There are some foundation exercised you can do at home to condition your body the same way ballerinas do.

Starting with the arms

Step 1

Play your favorite piece of classical music to get into a ballet mood. Choose something with a slow beat that is easy to hear, and hold each position for a count of eight before moving to the next.

Step 2

Hold your arms in a circle in front of your belly button. Hands and fingers should be relaxed and extended toward each other. Keep your shoulders relaxed and down; don’t let them creep up toward your ears. In the French and Russian ballet schools, this is called first position.

Step 3

Open both arms out to the sides. Palms should be facing the wall in front of you. Keep a slight bend in your arms by not extending your elbows all the way. Imagine a pillow underneath each arm supporting it. You want your arms to look elegant but strong in this position, not like limp noodles; this is often called second position.

Step 4

Reach both arms up and bend your elbows, creating an oval shape above your head; this is fifth position. Keep space between each finger and tuck your thumbs underneath, about an inch below. It is common to end up looking scrunched in this position, so draw your scapula down your back and lengthen your neck. There should be at least three inches of space between your ears and your arms.

Step 5

To make the exercise more of a workout than a dance class, add 2-pound free weights to all the positions and hold each pose for twice as long.

Via The Nest

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