Achieve a Summer-Ready Tummy (and Ab Exercise Greatness), Thanks To Ballet

Crop tops, here we come! This 15-minute ab sequence from Ballet Beautiful will tone and slim your waist just in time for summer. A good ab exercise doesn’t just focus on your core. It’ll engage your whole body while forcing your abs to do the heavy lifting.

Mary Helen Bowers, former professional ballerina and founder of Ballet Beautiful is responsible for some of the flattest tummies and most drool-worthy abs on the beach. Miranda Kerr, Doutzen Kroes, Lilly Aldridge and Erin Heatherton are just a few of her celebrity clientele. Building a strong, sleek dancer’s core is the center of every Ballet Beautiful workout.

“When it comes to toning the tummy, I like to approach the stomach as a whole!” Bowers told Coveteur in an interview. “I start by focusing on the lower abs deep inside the core because they are the most difficult to connect with and engage. From there, I move a little higher up, pulling in as tight as I can right in the center of the belly at the navel, and working through the upper abs by the ribs. And you can’t forget the obliques! Those muscles on the side of the stomach give the most beautiful shape and tone to any tummy.”

The best part about a Ballet Beautiful ab exercise is you can do it virtually anywhere! All you need is a mat (or a towel) and comfortable clothing. Try these five ab exercises from Mary Helen Bowers to get a ballet core just in time for summer!

1.) Abs with Port de Bras Twist

Ab Exercise Ab Twist

Ballet Beautiful

Aside from toning your midsection, this ab exercise also tones your arms and chest. Ballet naturally creates strong long legs and serious abs, but it’s sometimes harder to tone the upper arms with ballet moves. Don’t suffer from the dreaded chicken wing upper arms! Tone them up with this double duty move instead.

Small, repetitive arm motions can give you toned and lean-looking upper arms quickly if you work out consistently. Instead of adding bulky muscle (like weight training can give you), ballet moves like this one open your chest, strengthen your upper body and give your freer mobility. And, of course, this move seriously tones your abs.


1.) Begin in the same starting position as the exercise above.

2.) As you sit up tall add a slight twist in your upper body to the left while lifting your right arm overhead, as shown.

3.) Lower your body to center and repeat to the right.

Reps: 4 sets of 8 reps alternating sides

Training Tips:

  • Keep your hips square when twisting
  • Relax your hip flexors when sitting up tall
  • Initiate the lowering of your body by pulling your abs in more