Remember me? I’m the editor of a healthy lifestyle website (yes, this one) who does not lead a healthy lifestyle. Or at least I didn’t.
For the past two weeks I’ve been on a mission to banish this shameful bit of irony from my life, with a regular exercise program with Ballet Beautiful, the body-lengthening, thigh-whittling, pulse-in-excruciatingly-small-motions-until-you-shake workouts of dance guru Mary Helen Bowers. (Check out the stomach-flattening move from last week.)
This week, we’re learning The Classic Ballet Beautiful Bridge, a shockingly efficient move that targets your butt, legs, and center all at once. It gives quick, pretty dramatic results—after two weeks of doing this series three times per week, I’ve noticed a firmness in my back upper thighs that I have not seen since, well, ever. It’s results like this that really spur me on.
After not working out for a good three years, I’m realizing that my main hurdle was my mindset. Before I began this program, I’d feel guilty at the idea of spending an hour of my precious free time doing anything else except doting on my children. The thing is, I’d spend much of that so-called quality time thinking about other things.
My head wasn’t in it. Now, I’ve realized my family time is much better spent if I feel good about myself, and the workouts are not only making me feel better about my body, but also helping to focus my mind. My work and play time has become more efficient, since I feel more present in the different portions of my life.”
When your mindset is positive and empowering, you trust yourself,” says Bowers. Life is like a row of dominoes (or mine is, at least). Once you start doing one healthy thing for yourself, it sets off a series of healthy choices—feeling better about myself, less guilt, better eating and sleeping—ending up with a happier, healthier you. Now, let’s get to that Bridge!
MOVE: The Classic Ballet Beautiful Bridge
WHAT IT DOES: This exercise is all about the butt, the center and the legs. It sculpts and tones those hard to reach areas on the back of your leg leading up to your behind. “My longtime clients love the Ballet Beautiful Bridge series because they know how well it works,” says Bowers.
ME: Gotta admit, I didn’t get this move at first—I thought it was all about working your stomach. But when I finally began doing it correctly—engaging my legs instead of just my center—boy, did I start feeling it! The tone it gives your butt, plus those impossible-to-reach jiggly areas in the the back of your legs, shows up quickly and realy inspires you to continue the workout plan as you see quick results (I’ve seen them in a mere two weeks of exercising!).
HOW TO DO IT (watch the moving image above to see Mary Helen Bowers demonstrating the move)
- Lie on your back and bend your knees so they form a right angle with your pelvis. Keep your legs and knees together. Press your shoulders and upper back into the floor and pull your stomach in tight. Place your feet flat on the floor (or bring your toes up onto demi-pointe for a more advanced version).
- Lift up your hips and your butt.
- Lower your back without quite letting your hips and butt touch the mat. Do 8 counts, 4 sets.
- Make sure you keep your stomach engaged to take the stress out of your lower back and spine, squeeze your butt as you lift, and keep your knees closed to engage your inner thighs and turnout muscles. Also, keep your upper body relaxed—and don’t forget to breathe!
Try Bower’s 15 Minute Ballet Beautiful Body Blast video, an intense 15 minute workout session that includes this super effective bridge series—it’s only $8! Check out balletbeautiful.com to get started on your own workout.