Core Exercises for Strong Deep Abdominals for Ballet: Not a Single Crunch on the List

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Ballerinas need a strong core for support and balance during their dance routines. By focusing on their deep abdominal muscles during regular practice, ballet dancers can have more control over their movements. Ballet movements all begin in the core. Strengthen your deep abdominal muscles with this series of exercises.


Begin by warming up your muscles to avoid injury. Plies are the common warm up for ballerinas. Stand with your heels together in first position, which means your toes are pointed outward. Pull in your stomach and tip your pelvis forward. Do 10-25 plies without letting your heels lift off of the floor. It may be necessary to hold onto a barre or back of a chair for balance while performing plies. Keep your abdominals engaged throughout this warm-up.

Battement Leg Lifts

Battements refer to a kicking motion in ballet. The word literally means beating. There are several different ways ballet dancers use battement leg lifts. They are incorporated into a dance routine and also used as a fundamental practice to build strength and control. This body weight exercise will engage the deep abdominal muscles if done correctly. Proper form is essential to avoid injury when doing battlements. Do now allow your back to arch or swing your leg wildly.

Use a counter top or back of a couch or chair for support while doing battement leg lifts. Stand in first position, heels together, feet pointed out, with perfect posture. Imagine being pulled up by string off the top of your head. Place all your weight on your left leg without shifting your posture. Lift the right leg to hip level, keeping it perfectly straight. Repeat 10-25 times and then switch legs. Keep your muscles engaged throughout this exercise to strengthen the deep abdominal muscles.


Eleve, literally means, to rise. Use this technique for strong, deep abdominal muscles by focusing on your posture and balance while executing the move. This is done while standing in first position. Keep your heels together and feet out while slowly rising up on the balls of your feet. Keep your legs straight and maintain a tight core. Hold for a count of 10, remembering to keep your pelvis tucked and abdominals engaged. Slowly lower your heels back to the floor and then repeat 10-25 times. The process of balancing and maintaining this postition helps to build abdominal muscles in a subtle but effective way. Imagine the top of your head being pulled to the ceiling with a string. Keep your neck relaxed and shoulders down.


V-sits are a floor exercise that also strengthens the deep abdominal muscles. Sit on the floor and bring your legs into your chest. Focus your attention on your core muscles while slowly straightening your legs, pointing them out and up. Raise your arms to maintain your balance. Your body should form a “V”-shape. Hold this position for the count of 10. Keep your back as straight as possible and do not push out your stomach. Repeat 10-25 times.