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How to Get a Ballet Figure

By Chloe Newkirk

In addition to their grace during performances, ballerinas are also known for their lithe, delicate figures. Women who train in ballet often develop long, lean muscles, which help to support them as they pose in the elegant dance moves. Although genetics play a large part in whether a person's body is lean and lithe, you can take steps to slim down and straighten your stance. To get the ballerina's look without donning toe shoes, focus on workouts that will burn fat and improve posture.

Perfect your Posture

Poise is essential for any ballerina, so seek out routines that will strengthen your core to help support your body. Yoga is excellent for loosening muscles and improving flexibility in joints. As you work on poses like downward dog and triangle, you'll be improving the range of motion in the muscles in your legs, back and arms while opening the shoulders to prevent a rounded, slouching posture. Similarly, Pilates will also challenge your core to build a strong support system for your frame.

Target Specific Muscle Groups

Ballerinas develop strong muscles to propel them in leaps and steady them in poses. According to professional dancer and trainer Mary Helen Bowers in a 2011 article in "The New York Times," a ballerina's long, lean legs look more streamlined than sculpted because ballet works small, less visible muscles. Choose moves that will work your inner thighs and calves, but avoid working on the quadriceps at the front of your thighs. Adding muscle definition to your quads will keep your legs from the lean, graceful shape so characteristic of ballerinas.

Take to the Water

Cardio is essential for burning fat and keeping a svelte frame. To work out, try aerobic swimming. Go for moves that will stretch your arms, shoulders and legs, such as breast strokes and crawls. As you reach forward with your arms to propel yourself forward, you'll be working the shoulder and chest muscles to help straighten your posture. Swimming also engages your core, so you can tone your midsection to be smooth and slim.

Change your Diet

In addition to workouts, you'll need to make sure that the foods you eat are helping to maintain a lean figure. Cut saturated and trans fats and sugars that lead to weight gain and bloating. Opt for lean meats like chicken or fish, and pair them with whole grains like brown rice or quinoa. Avoid fried foods, greasy foods or decadent desserts. Instead, fill up on high-fiber fruits and vegetables to feel satisfied without consuming unhealthy amounts of fat, sugar or calories. For snacks, seek out plain nuts, dried fruits or fresh fruits. Drinking plenty of water can also help keep your body lean, as it will help curb hunger, flush your system and keep you from consuming sugary beverages.

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