The Best Classical Ballet Workouts

Classical ballet workouts mimic the structure of ballet classes.
i Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

Classical ballet workouts feature the same exercises of ballet class, but the best ones don’t require a tutu or the commitment to a career as a professional ballerina. Ideal for those with previous ballet training or at least some knowledge of ballet, these workouts adopt the same order of exercises performed in a real ballet class, only at slightly lower intensities. Classical ballet workouts are different from barre fitness routines, which draw on only very basic ballet moves performed at the barre. Classical ballet workouts, on the other hand, rely on the structure of classical ballet technique to combine ballet steps into actual dance sequences.

Classical Ballet Focus

    The best classical ballet workouts simulate a real ballet class. That said, many use classical ballet music. That means completing developpé exercises at the barre to music from “Swan Lake” or grand battements in the center of the room to music from “The Nutcracker.” Classical music helps channel your inner-ballerina and naturally coordinates with the ballet steps. Classical ballet workouts also follow a set class structure. Workouts are completed in the same order as ballet class, starting with a warm-up at the ballet barre, including a plié sequence followed by basic tendus, degagés, rond de jambe exercises, frappés, fondus and grand battements. After that, combinations in the center feature linked ballet jumps and steps set to music for a cardio workout. Exercises are followed up by dance stretching exercises.

Sample Ballet Combinations

    Classical ballet workouts not only incorporate the strengthening exercises performed at the ballet barre, but also ballet combinations designed for dancing. For example, you’ll waltz to the music and spin in simple pirouette combinations. To get your heart rate up, you’ll complete intervals of sauté arabesque jumps across the floor. Small jumps in the center of the room also target your seat, thigh and calf muscles.

Ballet Floor Barre

    The best classical ballet workouts also incorporate the same timeless technique from a different perspective. Floor barre is a classical ballet workout that closely resembles a ballet class, only participants complete the ballet exercises lying or seated on the floor. Basically, you’ll complete your grand battements without the pressure of gravity. The ballet workout allows students to focus on body placement and can even help rehabilitate injuries without the added challenges that come with standing-barre exercises, according to “The New York Times.”


    Most classical ballet workouts rely on the same French terminology used in ballet. You’ll need to know the basics of pliés, frappés, grand battements and pas de bourées, for example, to follow along. Although classical ballet workouts performed on the floor are less strain on your joints, the workouts in general feature challenging ballet steps that present certain risks. Classical ballet steps subject the joints, muscles and tendons to continual stresses and strains, according to the Prix de Lausanne international ballet organization. Although your body can adapt to gradual exercises, pushing too hard too quickly can cause injuries, the organization reports.

the nest