Words by Ashleigh Wilson
We tend to rely on the quadriceps (the four strong muscles at the front of the thigh) for a lot of everyday movements from walking and running to getting up from sitting and taking the stairs. Without being aware, your quads are getting stronger and your hamstrings, weaker. This can lead to issues with the knees, lower back, hips and ankles. The imbalance is exaggerated if you’re wearing heels because your weight is thrown forward and the thighs grip for stability. Not only for perfectly balanced legs, but to prevent injury, improve posture and build equal strength, try to activate the entire leg when you walk. In this workout the focus is building long, lean and most importantly balanced legs that are toned and strong from all sides.
THE BALANCED LEG SERIES
Time: 12 minutes
Equipment needed: Yoga mat, timer
Intervals: 4 exercises, each performed for 50 seconds, and then 10 seconds to change to the next position. This is a total of 1 minute per exercise. Once you’ve completed the 4th exercise, rotate back to the 1st exercise and start again. Perform a total of 3 rounds, which will take you to 12 minutes. There is no need to rush. Repeat the movements at a speed your comfortable with.
Refer to Video for Instruction
Exercise 1: In a wide second position, keep your feet flat and toes pointing to the corners of the room. Transfer your weight from side to side, keeping your hips right underneath you. Press you heels firmly down to activate the hamstrings and inner thighs.
Exercise 2: In a bridge position, keep your hips lifted with your back in a straight slope the entire time. Extend one knee at a time replacing your weight on your heels between sets.
Exercise 3: In wide, low squat position, keep your shoulders square to the front as you drop one knee down towards the floor rotating inwards. Then return to centre to squat with open knees, sending your hips directly down and not behind you. Repeat the two movements to the other side to complete the set.
Exercise 4: The feet are hip width apart and perfectly parallel. your back is in a long straight diagonal line, with your shoulders pressing down and your arms circling around your head in 5th position. Pulse with bent knees lifting one heel at a time and then replace the heels firmly as you alternate sides.
What is BALLET HIIT?
Ballet HIIT is an elegant fitness program which combines High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) with Classical Ballet Principles. It is challenging but also low impact, building long lean muscles, increase flexibility and create a beautiful balanced body.