Ballerina Arms Routine

I think most women have dreamed of becoming ballerinas at some point in their lives. I was no exception. There was one short period of my childhood when I dreamed of twirling around, so beautiful and elegant, of being graceful and slim and, well, perfect.

I probably had that feeling every winter when I’d see The Nutcracker. There’s an animated version that had me skipping and bouncing around the living room and I swore every time that I would make a great ballerina because I could dance like Clara in the cartoon. Now I’m pretty sure she was not up to ballet standards but that’s hardly the point.

Every winter I dreamed of being a ballerina until I realized one year that my genetics (I was not constructed from a slim mold and dancing comes anything but naturally to me) and my very habits were against me. Between the two of them there was no way I was ever going to be a ballerina.

Like many little girls I grew up and, while I still dream of dancing, I no longer dream of being a ballerina. But thanks to ballet-inspired exercises we can still endeavor to have bits and pieces of a ballerina’s body. I’ll never want the whole thing – they’re too skinny and limber for my tastes – but to have bits and pieces of a ballerina-like body, that’d be pretty cool.

In the March, 2014 issue of Fitness Magazine they endeavor to give just that to people – ballerina arms. Andrea Rogers, founder of the Xtend Barre studio in Brooklyn, has created a barre routine that works your arms without adding in extra bulk (much like Tracy Anderson does).

Equipment Needed: pair of 1lb dumbbells


After doing this routine myself, I can say with a certain amount of surety, “OUCH!”

Looking at the moves I thought they’d be easy! I mean, come on, 1lb dumbbells?? But I reminded myself this was Fitness; they’re not going to give easy peasy workouts in a magazine like Fitness. Yeah, I was right to doubt my initial impression. It’s not easy. At all.

I don’t know what this routine would be like for really fit people. My shoulders have always tended toward the weaker side, especially after tearing my left shoulder’s rotator cuff some while ago. For the average person, this routine will make the muscles all around their shoulders BUUUUUUURN.

It may sound like I don’t like it or couldn’t do it. Quite the contrary. I very much enjoyed it and found it very beneficial considering I did have that injury. I watched myself in the mirror while I did the moves and saw the tendons in my arms – tendons and muscle definition I don’t normally see while doing other moves.

You’re working your shoulders and pretty much only your shoulders for a long time but the moves go by quickly. By the end I had to stop a few times for a couple seconds to shake out my arms but the burn was never bad enough to be pain. With this routine I’ll be able to develop my shoulders in a way that I’ve been wanting for years now. And they’re moves I’m not killing myself to perform so I still feel good (though sore) afterward.

This is definitely a routine that is going in my book to do on a regular basis. Watch out, World! I’m going to have killer shoulders by the time tank top season hits!

Do you enjoy ballet or ballet-ish workouts? What other kinds of exercises do you do for your arms/shoulders?

*DISCLAIMER: I’m not responsible for any injuries people get while trying the exercises found on my blog. Always consult your doctor before trying new forms of exercise and always listen to your body. If it hurts, stop.*


About Katie St. John-Shin

I believe in living life and not letting it pass you by. I mean, come on, if you really want to do something but don't have the courage to do it so you let the opportunity disappear, you may regret it for the rest of your life. How can you know what you're capable of unless you go for it? Like every writer, I naturally plan on becoming world-famous (not really). I love reading, writing, fitness, coffee, watching my favorite movies/shows, listening to music, and trying new things even if they're sometimes terrifying. I'm a writer, a group fitness instructor, a personal trainer, and a nutter for doing all of the above.

Posted on February 23, 2014, in Fitness and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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