Thursday, February 12, 2015

#5Faves: Ballet Moves for Pregnant (and Postpartum!) Women

In the irony of having my knee area hurt so badly today that I can hardly walk, I'd love to share my love of ballet and how well it works with the pregnant (and postpartum!) body.

I've wanted to be a ballerina since I was 3 years old - or so a drawing from preschool revealed. Unfortunately, my parents could not afford dance class for me when I was younger; in high school, I enrolled in adult lessons at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (through the University of Cincinnati) as strength and balance training before lacrosse season started, and absolutely fell in love. I continued to take classes in college, and I enjoy it now in a less structured setting.

The best part of ballet is that you can practice anywhere: all you need is a chair and space! It's been a good way to exercise without needing a lot of time, energy or expertise. A few moves can keep you active (especially when tired and pregnant), and usually helps boost energy levels as well!


The Positions

When in doubt, these are wonderful to learn how to master.


First Position Demi-Plie: tones the inner thighs and buttocks - helps you find your center

Arms should be out!
  • Begin in first position
  • Rotate legs within hips; bend knees over toes; raise arms about chest level, leading with elbows
  • Return to first position 
  • 8-16 reps

Tendu Front: works and strengthens legs, as well as core for balance

  • Begin in first position with arms down and rounded (also known as "low fifth")
  • Shift weight to right foot: point foot down, then flex ankle out (foot will be up and flat), point toes down again, and return to first position.
  • Meanwhile, your arms can move upward ("middle fifth"), to extending outward (while ankle is flexed); then, return to middle fifth and lower arms.
  • 8-16 reps (each side) 

Here is a simple Tendu as well:

((Her videos are good and short, but you generally start about 25 seconds in))


Rond de Jambe: helps increase hip joint mobility

  • Begin in first position with arms down and rounded
  • Shift weight to right foot as left heel leads the left leg forward, ending with a pointed foot (arms at middle fifth)
  • Circle leg to side as arms open to the side.
  • Return to starting position 
  • 8-16 reps on each side (motion is continuous, not static)

((I love his videos - very fluid, insightful and more in-depth))


Standing Cabriole: leg pulsing exercise that also strengthens the abdominals and back

  • Begin in first position with arms down and rounded
  • Extend leg forward, leading with heel in flexed position
  • Lower leg by squeezing inner thighs as heel comes to toe of standing leg
  • Repeat to create the pulse (imagine you're squeezing a beach ball between your legs; squeeze your buttocks, and lift up and out as you pulse inward)
  • Return to first position
  • 16 reps each side


The best book to use if you're interested in learning more? New York City Ballet Workout. (All of these moves were best described there for me! They also have more stretches, work-outs and ideas for cross-training.)

Linking with Jenna for more!


  1. What, why didn't we do your pregnancy workout DVD while I was there?!

    1. Because it is hard!!! (Poor excuse, I know!)

  2. Wow fantastic really awesome work out .
    its very helpful for me and other .
    you shows very clearly position its nice . . .

    Ballet fitness DVD | Ballet equipment