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.

Instructions:

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

2.) Ballet Abs Extension

Ab Exercise Ballet Extension

Ballet Beautiful

This ab exercise is a total body makeover. It moves your legs, arms and forces your abs to be seriously engaged. Ballet exercises are great because so many of them involve laying on the floor while simultaneously working out!

This ab exercise forces your abs to do the balancing work as you lift and lower your arms and legs. It works your lower abs and sides, helping to get rid of stubborn love handles and create pretty waist definition.

Instructions:

1.) Lying on your back, begin with both legs reaching straight up from your hips in a small first position.

2.) Lower your left leg and left arm while keeping your abs engaged.

3.) Stop your leg about 1 inch off the ground and return back to the starting position and repeat on the right.

Reps: 4 sets of 8 reps alternating sides

Training Tips:

  • Only lower your leg as far as you can with your stomach pulled in
  • Keep both legs stretched long
  • Relax your neck and shoulders

3.) Classic Ballet Abs with Extended Arms

Ab Exercise Extended Arms

Ballet Beautiful

One of the most difficult areas to tone even you’re slim is the stubborn lower belly fat. Here’s an ab exercise that really puts your lower abs to work. You’ll feel this one burning quickly, but don’t give up! You’ll have washboard abs for summer if you stick with this ab exercise.

Instructions: 

1.) In the position in the picture, lower and lift your upper body.

2.) As your body lowers, allow your arms to drop slightly releasing in your elbows.

3.) When your body lifts bring your arms back up slightly above shoulder height.

Reps: 4 sets of 8 reps

Training Tips:

  • Relax your shoulders away from your ears
  • Think of pulling your belly button to your spine
  • Only go back as far as you can while keeping your stomach pulled in

4.) Classic Ballet Beautiful Abs

Ab Exercise Classic Abs

Ballet Beautiful

This ab exercise is a classic ballet mat exercise. You’ll continue working that stubborn lower belly while opening the chest and toning your arms. This is also a balance move that forces your whole body to engage and makes your core work harder. I love mat exercises because they’re easy to do on the go and you can fit in a five- to 10-minute sequence when you’re short on time.

Instructions:

1.) Pull in tight through the stomach and bend the knees slightly.

2.) Lower back as you open the arms to second position.

3.) Close the arms as you lift up, pulling in tight through the abs.

Reps: 2 sets of 8

Training Tips:

  • Relax your shoulders away from your ears
  • Think of pulling your belly button to your spine
  • Only go back as far as you can while keeping yourstomach pulled in

5.) Standing Abs

Ab Exercise Standing Abs

Ballet Beautiful

This ab exercise is great for toning and slimming the waist! Like a lot of other Ballet Beautiful moves, it’ll give you a full body workout by combining balancing, leg motions and arm movements. Focus on your core while doing this move so you aren’t just swinging your arms and legs with momentum. The strength of the movement should come from your core working to balance your body as it moves.

Instructions: 

1.) Bend one knee and stretch the other leg back behind you.

2.) Pull in with your stomachand bend up and over toward the front knee.

3.) Reach a bit further out and pulse to the side.

Reps: 2 sets of 8

Training Tips: 

  • Only reach as far to the side as is comfortable for your body
  • Don’t overarch your back when lifting your leg behind you
  • Move your leg with your abs not just the momentum

Ballet is a fun and easy way to get the summer body you want. Sometimes you need a little extra help with a machine. If you want extra help in achieving your abs this summer, these ab machines will be able to assist you! If you are interested in learning more about other fun class, click the next button to learn more about barre!

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