Mary Helen Bowers, founder of Ballet Beautiful, does it all–she’s an entrepreneur, dancer and mother of two. Her Instagram is truly a testament of this–she can be seen showing off her moves as a mama and ballerina (and sometimes both at the same time!). As a ballerina her entire life, she really made a name for herself as Natalie Portman’s trainer for her Academy Award Winning role in Black Swan. Since then she has racked up a celebrity studded list of clientele including Kate Hudson, Alexa Chung, and pretty much every Victoria’s Secret Angel (Gigi, Erin, Doutzen, Lily, Candice)–just to name a few. But today, she’s giving us an exclusive ballet-inspired at home workout:
Classic Hamstring Stretch
Every Ballet Beautiful workout begins with a simple stretch to open and release the muscles in your back, hips and legs. Get started seated on the mat, legs in front of you. Bend your left knee and extend your right leg out long on the floor in front of you. Reach towards your right foot, keeping your leg straight and hold for 10 to 20 seconds as the muscles begin to open. Repeat on other side.
Reverse Bridge Lift
Lie on your stomach on your mat, with your arms to the sides and your legs stretched out long. Pull your stomach in to engage your center and open through the chest as you bring your arms in front of your body to first position on the mat. Bend your knees and bring your heels together. Keeping your neck long and your gaze downward, lift slightly through your back and use the muscles in your legs, stomach and butt to lift both knees off the ground and into the Reverse Bridge. From this position, lift your legs slightly higher, then lower them back down slightly to the starting position with your legs in the air. This slight lifted pulse engages the muscles in the back, inside of the legs, and butt. 2 sets of 8 reps.
One-Leg Extension for the Lower Abs
Stretch your legs out long on the mat. Pull back and pull your stomach in tight, with your arms in first position. Lift one leg off the floor about 10 to 20 degrees. Keeping the leg lifted, lean back, pulling your stomach in and lifting to the starting position. Note that you are working your abs here – the movement is in your core, not in your leg. Your leg should stay steady, lifted at 10 to 20 degrees. 4 sets of 8 reps.
Classic Inner Thigh Lift
Lie on your mat on your side. Bend your left knee and place your foot either in front or behind your right leg. Your right leg should be stretching out long. Pull your stomach in to engage your center and stretch long through your right knee. Raise and lower your right leg, never fully releasing it to the mat. 4 sets of 8 reps and repeat on other side.
Classic Swan Arms
Targets the arms, shoulders and back.
Stand with your neck and shoulders as relaxed as possible, your feet in parallel, and your knees slightly bent. Pull in through your stomach and open your chest. Stretch your arms out to the side, into second position. Bend your elbows down and lower your arms, without collapsing your chest. Then lift your elbows and raise your arms. Continue to lower and lift your arms, imagine that you are moving through water. 3 sets of 8 reps
Start in a plié in fourth position, with your arms in first position. Keep your knees over your toes and your chest open. From this plié you are going to lift your back leg up into the air in an attitude – an extension back with the knee bent. Pull your stomach in and lift your arms up to fifth position (curved high above your head) as you lift up your back leg and stretch the standing knee. Be certain to engage your center as you lift – this will prevent you from arching your back. Lower your foot back to fourth position, taking care not to drop your chest. Bring your arms down to first position, curved in front of you, and keep your weight on your front foot. Lift again and repeat. 4 sets of 8 reps.
Workout and Images, care of Ballet Beautiful.