In the mid 1970’s, a study was conducted by Dr. James A Nicholas of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York city ,to see which sports were the most difficult. He studied sixty-one sports including ballet, and broke them down into categories that included strength, speed and agility. When he added all the net scores to see which was the demanding of all the sports, to nobody’s surprise it was professional (American) football with fifty-six points. But what surprised everybody in the study was that professional ballet scored fifty-five points. The next, professional hockey, scored fifty-four. No wonder Life Magazine put Rudolf Nureyev on its cover with the question;

“Is the world’s greatest athlete a dancer?

The muscles of a ballet dancer are leaner and stronger than those of a professional athlete. A ballet workout strengthens without bulking.

Many balletic skills can be found in a variety of other fitness activities .In a way the ballet workout is ahead of its time, because dancers have always been cross trainers out of necessity. (Cross training is now the emphasis of most gyms.) In Ballet, a choreographer might give the dancers a series of steps that require them to use different muscle groups and body parts all at once. You don’t experience that on a stair machine or treadmill. Think for a moment of all the exercises you’ve done recently, whether running, bicycling, or even walking. They use a limited range of muscle groups and require only straightforward up and down, left and right movements. In ballet, you use the left arm with the right leg. You balance on the standing leg while the other is actively working. You might be asked to keep your heel in alignment with your navel. Try doing that on a treadmill!

The ballet workout is ideal for enhancing your prowess in and enjoyment of various sports, including tennis, golf and skiing. These three require you to cross your body more frequently than other sports. The workout helps to break down many of the “right angle patterns” many of us live by, and adds a sense of flow to the body’s natural patterns. Placement is very important in dance, as are the relationships between the different parts of your body. Ballet incorporates a range of motion that will help you in your day-to-day life, as well as in a wide variety of sports.
Have fun trying this amazing way of staying fit! Why don’t you try one of my Fitness Pilates classes which incorporates fundamental ballet techniques?
Love Sarah x