Fitness fads come and go, but one has stood the test of time: Pilates. Dancers swear by this full-body workout as an effective cross-training regimen. The low-impact moves are easy on any nagging injuries and help keep you lean, toned, centered, and flexible. Dance Spirit turned to Youn Kyung Lee, owner of 21 Pilates in NYC, for four mat-based exercises that'll serve your dancer bod best.
Photos by Jayme Thornton. Modeled by Alicia McGinty.
1. Start on your back with your legs straight in front of you, your feet flexed, and your arms extended straight up.
1. Start on your right side. Extend your right arm past your head, and rest your head on top of it. Place your left hand on the floor in front of you.
The Single-Leg Kick
1. Start on your stomach with your legs together. Hold your upper body up with your forearms, keeping them shoulder-width apart, and make fists with your hands. Keep your head raised and your gaze directed forward. Keeping your neck extended and your inner thighs activated, pull your abs in, up, and away from the mat. Imagine that your belly button is being pulled into your spine.
A version of this story appeared in the September 2018 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Take It to the Mat."