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Ballet as an only form of exercise?


beckyl
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My journey back to ballet is continuing! I'm almost feeling back to my usual self and am taking the time to exercise every day. I'm trying to mix cardio exercising (20-30 minutes of HIIT or circuit work) with pilates/yoga. I'm nowhere near back to fitness yet but I'm starting jazz classes next week and then I'm probably back to ballet the week after.

 

Previously I did ballet coupled with ballet/barre fit type exercises which I really enjoyed. By contrast I find cardio especially things like aerobics very dull. However, doing so many plies, especially the way they teach it, at extreme speed really hurt my knees!

 

Is there any harm in doing some form of ballet/barre fit every day? Or is it something that only needs to be done x times per week (I read somewhere pilates was not recommended more than twice a week as it's hard on your abs.)

 

TY!

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That's interesting about the Pilates. I wonder where you read that? As far as I'm concerned your abs can never be too strong. As long as your Pilates work out is balanced I can't see why you should only do it twice a week.

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Thanks. I remember reading it somewhere when looking for reasons for some stomach pain I was having. It was via a google search somewhere. All I know is my abs know I've had a workout after pilates!

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You can safely do Pilates exercises every day! It should be a well balanced routine so you won't overload one particular muscle (but that's something which may happen in any type of fitness class if not well designed). And whatever has been worked needs to be stretched (if possible) - just a general rule from experienced Pilates teacher :-)

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Thanks Happymum! I find that the routines I am finding (I use a particular website) is very, very ab-intensive. As a newbie to pilates is this the same for all pilates? I'm quite interested in barre 3 which mixes yoga, pilates and barre exercises but haven't tried it out yet.

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There should be a balance between working muscle groups. If you exercise your abdominals you should also exercise lower back muscle. If you do triceps you should do biceps as well etc etc. the most common mistake people tend to do is to work on abdominals and forget about the back. Or for men it is often focusing on chest and neglecting upper/middle back. In long term it leads to muscle unbalance which has an impact on posture.

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Here's what Joseph Pilates said about exercise in "Return to Life Through Contrology" :
'Practice your exercises diligently with the fixed and unalterable determination that you will permit nothing else to sway you from keeping faith with yourself. At times you may feel tempted to "take a night off." Don't succumb to this momentary weakness of indecision, or rather, wrong decision. Decide to remain true to yourself. Think of what would happen if the stokers firing the boilers of a giant oceanliner were to decide to "take a night off." You know the answer. If they were to repeat this action, you know the result.
 
I take this to mean you should peform the Pilates routine daily. Personally, I find Pilates a fairly dull routine to follow, but I do follow his advice and I do something physical every day; either ballet class, gym, riding my bike, brisk walking, etc
 
Pilates also says :
'If you will faithfully perform your Contrology exercises regularly only four times a week for just three months as outlined in RETURN TO LIFE, you will find your body development approaching the ideal, accompanied by renewed mental vigor and spiritual enhancement.
 
Mind you, not all of what he says makes sense :
'NEVER TO REPEAT THE SELECTED EXERCISE(S) MORE THAN THE PRESCRIBED NUMBER OF TIMES since more harm will result than good by your unwittingly or intentionally disregarding this most important advice and direction. Why? Because this infraction creates muscular fatigue -- poison.
 
To pick up on Becky's point about cardio being dull. It can be but there are ways to make it interesting. Riding your bike along a nice scenic route is one way. I find riding the bikes in the gym very tedious. I have been known to fall asleep doing it. Some people find step or similar classes enjoyable. I'm lucky in some ways. When I'm running on the treadmill, it's brain out, switch off and 30 minutes later it's done and dusted and I haven't noticed. On the other hand, I hate running outside. You have to look where you're going and dodge obstacles. There are many forms of exercise which can build aerobic fitness - swimming, roller skating, etc
 
If you have Sky, there is http://www.fab-tv.com/  You might also find it on FreeSat, athough it has fallen off mine. They regularly have short programs which are a DVD from one of the many sets available, such as  Sleek Technique, XTend Barre, Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels, Ladan Soltani, Surfer Girl, Kino Macgregor, Nicky McGinty, Pop Physique, Kettleworx, etc, etc. You can watch the programs and see which ones you like before splashing out.

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My mother (ex-dancer & actress, now actor-trainer) is almost 80 and does between 30 & 60 minutes of Pilates + Feldenkrais + Alexander exercises every day before she starts her day. I've seen what she does: it would have my 20 year old students curling up in agony. But it's how she keeps mobile and fit to keep teaching.

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I've remembered there is a website which allows you to compare different forms of exercise. Here is the section for various styles of dance. The site says taking a ballet class is the same as erecting supports for coal mining, mowing the lawn or skateboarding with moderate effort.

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Mind you, not all of what he says makes sense :

'NEVER TO REPEAT THE SELECTED EXERCISE(S) MORE THAN THE PRESCRIBED NUMBER OF TIMES since more harm will result than good by your unwittingly or intentionally disregarding this most important advice and direction. Why? Because this infraction creates muscular fatigue -- poison.

 

 

 

To me, this is the only thing that DOES make sense! What he means is that if you do an exercise to the point of fatigue and then try to continue, you risk doing more harm than good because fatigue tends to result in poor alignment / technique. At best that will cause other muscles/structures to be stressed and at worst, cause injury.

 

Happymum's post about balance is spot on. All muscle groups work in pairs and often people work on one part of the pair and neglect the other eg abs/lower back, quads/hamstrings, external rotators (turnout)/internal rotators, chest/upper back. 

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Thank you for all your advice guys. I used to do sleek technique most days and did see amazing results (so it's completely possible I could go back to that.) I thought it did nothing for my core though. At least I now know I won't damage myself by doing pilates every day!

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