We are pumped to share one of our fave stories from Self here on FitSugar!
After letting loose in the animated Gnomeo and Juliet, Emily Blunt gets serious in the Adjustment Bureau as a ballet dancer attempting to thwart destiny. What's the deal with all these big-screen ballerinas?Natalie Portman just won the Oscar for Best Actress for her role as a dancer in Black Swan (she trained five to eight hours a day for a year, losing 20 pounds). Now, Blunt steps in to her pointe shoes as a contemporary ballerina opposite Matt Damon in the sci-fi thriller.
It's not the same kind of grueling dance performance Portman gives, but Blunt still spent six intensive weeks training for the role — and unlike Portman, who had previously studied dance, Blunt had "never bloody danced before". To prepare, the actress endured two-hour sessions of "boot-camp training" followed by two more hours of dance class. "It was exhausting, a real endurance test," Blunt told Women's Health magazine. "I looked like an aerobics teacher. My shoulders puffed out. My back looked like there was a barrel of snakes in it. I had an eight-pack!"
Ballet can be brutal (just watch Black Swan!), but there's a reason we're so fascinated by these athletes — ballerinas possess those long, lean muscles that convey strength without bulk, and they're always totally in control of their bodies. As we learned from Portman's trainer, Mary Helen Bowers, there are ways to incorporate ballet moves into your workout without devoting your whole life to the sport.
These three dance-inspired moves will stretch and strengthen your muscles using your own body weight, creating long, streamlined muscles.
Paso doble lift
Stand with left foot turned out, right leg extended to front, toes pointed on floor, arms raised slightly behind hips. Tuck pelvis under, bend left knee, lift right knee to chest and raise arms out to sides at shoulder level. Return to start. Repeat 30 seconds. Switch sides; repeat.
Kneel with knees slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes touching. Raise arms to shoulder height; clasp hands. Contract abs; rock torso back and forward 10 times. Lean back as far as you can. Hold, then release grasp. Twist torso left and tap floor once with left hand, right arm overhead; then twist torso right and tap floor once with right hand, left hand up, for one rep. Do eight twist-tap reps.
Stand with feet hip-width apart, a 1-2 pound weight in each hand. Curtsy, stepping right foot back and to left, as you raise arms overhead, wrists limp. Return to start. Do 16 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
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