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How to Get a Dancer’s Body

Sarah Wingo for Pure Barre.
Sarah Wingo for Pure Barre.

Dancing is a brutal profession where the body is continuously stretched to its limit. But the payoff — in both skill and fitness — is palpable, with toned legs, abs, and arms as the flag bearers of success. For the rhythmically challenged looking to carve out their own dancerlike body, the Cut reached out to Pure Barre fitness instructor Sarah Wingo, who laid out the essential shortcut moves for a leaner and more toned physique. Read along for how to get your own dancer body, no music or tights required. 

Step 1A: First, let’s target the abs. Lie on your back, with your legs straight and angled above the ground at 45 degrees. Place your hands behind your head, elbows wide, and lift your shoulder blades off of the floor. Crisscross your legs for 30 seconds. If this is too difficult, feel free to raise your legs a few inches higher to make the move less challenging.

Step 1B: Stay in the same position, but extend your arms straight in front of you. Curl your abdominals forward for 30 seconds in quick bursts. Repeat steps A and B three more times.

Step 2A: Continuing the focus on abs, remain on the ground, with your back to the floor. Lift your shoulder blades a few inches, and extend your legs into an L position, where the right leg is pointed toward the ceiling and the left leg is parallel to the floor. Raise your left leg an inch from the ground, and place your hands behind your head. Curl your abs for 30 seconds facing the leg pointed toward the ceiling. After 30 seconds, switch legs and curl toward the opposite side for 30 seconds more.

Step 2B: Now alternate curling on your left and right sides while simultaneously scissor-kicking your legs. Continue this motion for 30 seconds. Repeat steps A and B for a total of four times.

Step 3A: It’s time to focus on the thighs. Stand tall, place your hands on your hips, and lift one leg parallel to the floor. If needed, hold on to a support to keep balance. With a flexed foot, lift and lower the raised leg by an inch for 30 seconds. Rest for ten seconds, and then repeat once more.

Step 3B: Now point the toes on the raised leg. Bend the raised leg at the knee and then extend for 30 seconds. Rest for ten seconds, and repeat again. Once completed, repeat steps A and B by raising the opposite leg.

Step 4A: Finally, let’s work the butt. Sit on the floor, and bring your left leg in front of you at a 90-degree angle. Bring your right knee to your side, with your right foot behind your butt. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows wide. Squeeze your butt, and rotate your right hip forward in rapid bursts for 30 seconds.

Step 4B: Staying in the same position as the move above and holding the squeeze, take little side bends to the right for 30 seconds.

Step 4C: Now lift your right leg an inch from the floor. Pulse the left leg for 30 seconds. Repeat steps A through C two more times.

How to Get a Dancer’s Body