The best ballet workouts for legs & butt

Ballerinas are known for their exquisite physique, extraordinary strength, and impeccable grace. Ballet dancers are conscientious about their training, spending countless hours to perfect their craft. The lean, sculpted body of a ballerina exudes both strength and elegance. A ballerina is always in control of every movement, and every muscle of her body as she performs endless plié, relevé, and saute with astonishing precision. A ballerina’s body is incredibly athletic and flexible at the same time. 

The lean, sculpted legs and booty of a ballerina are envy-inducing. Ballerina legs might seem like an unachievable goal for some, but we are here to tell you that a ballet booty and legs are achievable, with simple ballet exercises, that will help you build lean muscle and strength. These exercises are designed to tap into all your leg and hip muscles. 

Here’s a break down of the best ballet workouts for toning legs and lifting your butt. These ballet-inspired exercises can be easily executed at home: 

Barre– Barre exercises can help lift your butt, tone your thighs, and improve your posture. Barre stretches are isometric exercises that help isolate specific muscles. They can help to strengthen muscle without straining ligaments and tendons, thereby reducing the risks of injury. These tiny movements are highly efficient in targeting multiple small muscle groups at the same time. 

How to do it?

Place one leg on the barre in à la Seconde, and move your body towards and away from your leg. This sideways movement stretches your hamstrings and improves flexibility.

Do a single leg relevé by standing on one leg while holding the barre. Gently raise your heels up and down. This movement will engage your calf and rear muscles.

ÉchappéÉchappé is a classical ballet term meaning ‘escaping’ or ‘slipping movement’.     Échappé increases heart rate and improves endurance. It is a demanding skill that requires controlling the leg muscles for a long period of time. This ballet move is a great all-round workout for your leg and rear muscles.

How to do it?

Start in the first position with heels touching and legs turned out from the hips, slide both feet equally to the second position. Then, jump back to the first position while ensuring your feet are always in touch with the ground.

Tendu– Tendu ballet move, also known as battement tendu, helps to tone and stretch your inner thigh muscles. It’s an excellent exercise to build strength in your legs. Tendu, when done correctly, engages your calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, and adductors. 

How to do it?

Start in first or fifth position, keep your toes in position and squeeze your glutes. Then move your arms out to the second position and slide one leg into the tendu position, lengthening the leg and extending the toes to a fully pointed position. Slide the foot back to starting position and squeeze your thighs together as much as possible.

Ballet Bridge– The classic ballet bridge is an effective exercise to target the glutes. Depending on whether your heels are flat or raised, this movement will tone different muscles in your body. Ballet bridge helps to sculpt your hips, butt, thighs and legs.

How to do it?

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat or raised on the floor. Keep your knees and feet together. Lift the back and hips towards the ceiling while keeping your stomach tight. Slowly lower your hips without touching the ground and lift it back up. Ensure your hips are always level. 

Grand plié in the second position– Grand plié in second position, also known as ballerina squat, engages the calves, quads, and glutes.  Ballerina squats are also great for the core. These squats firms and tones the legs rather than bulking up.

How to do it?

Start in ballet second position in a deep plié with your toes turned out and hands resting lightly on the back of the barre or chair. Try to go as deep as you can while staying straight up and down with your heels on the floor. Jump back to your starting position, then do another deep plié and repeat.

Pro tip:

Always begin your workouts with a stretching routine, and end with a cooling down routine. Stretching and cooling down relieves muscle stiffness and soreness, whilst reducing the risk of injury.

Relevé Training is a ballet-inspired fitness program designed to help dancers gain strength & flexibility anywhere, anytime. Master your ballet techniques with our weekly workout updates. Train like a beast, look like a ballerina. Reach us at hello@releve.training.