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Warm Up Like A Pro: The Best Ballet Exercises to Kickstart Your Performance

Isabella McGuire Mayes • 15 Sep 2023

Warm Up Like A Pro: The Best Ballet Exercises to Kickstart Your Performance

The foundation of every successful dance practice lies in the moments before you take your first step into the studio . This crucial period is when you prepare your body and mind for the technical demands of ballet. In this article, our online ballet studio will explore the significance of having a dedicated warm-up routine and delve into the best ballet exercises to kickstart your performance. You are also very welcome to join us through our affordable soloist membership plan!


We will show you how to warm up effectively without exhausting yourself and the importance of gentle stretching. Plus, we’ll introduce you to our online ballet studio’s warm-up routine class and warm-up and stretch workout class to help you warm up the right way!

The importance of a dedicated warm-up routine

A ballet dancer must take the time to prepare their body for the intricate dance moves ahead. A dedicated warm-up routine helps prevent injuries and ensures that every movement is precise and vibrant.

  • Preventing you from getting injured: One of the primary purposes of a warm-up is to reduce the risk of injuries. Cold, unprepared muscles and joints are more prone to strains, sprains, and tears. Warming up gradually increases blood flow to the muscles, making them more pliable and less susceptible to injury.
  • Priming you for your best performance: A well-structured whole body warm-up primes your body for optimal performance. It enhances muscle function, coordination, and flexibility, allowing you to execute ballet movements with grace and precision.
  • Giving you space for proper mental preparation: Warming up is not just about physical readiness; it’s also a time for mental preparation. It allows you to focus your mind on the dance ahead, centring your thoughts and intentions.

Effective ballet warm-up guidelines

To warm up effectively without exhausting yourself and maintain the delicate balance between flexibility and muscle connection, follow these guidelines:

  • Gradual intensity: Begin your warm-up with low-intensity exercises and gradually increase the intensity. This approach gently awakens your body without straining it.
  • Full-body engagement: Ensure your warm-up routine targets all major muscle groups, including legs, arms, core, and back. This comprehensive approach ensures that your entire body is ready for the demands of ballet.
  • Gentle stretching: While some stretching is essential, avoid overstretching during your warm-up. The goal is to feel loose and flexible, not to push your muscles to their limit. Overstretching can lead to decreased muscle connection and reduced strength.

Mind-body connection: Use your warm-up as an opportunity to connect with your body. Pay attention to how each muscle group feels as you move and focus on aligning your movements with your breath.

Best ballet exercises for warming up

Now, let’s dive into some of the best ballet exercises to kickstart your performance. These exercises are designed to gently awaken your body, improve flexibility, and enhance muscle engagement. Incorporate these into your warm-up routine before class for a more fulfilling ballet practice.

  1. Stretch and warm up the hips – Warming up and stretching the hips is essential for ballet dancers to activate the turnout muscles, ensuring that leg rotations occur naturally. This process prevents forced movements that could lead to injuries. A well-prepared turnout not only enhances the aesthetics of dance but also facilitates smoother transitions between positions. By nurturing flexibility and strength in the hips, dancers can execute movements with grace, precision, and reduced risk, preserving the beauty and longevity of their dance careers. You can try out this Turnout Stretches class and Floor Barre 2.0 class for the perfect hips warm-up. 
  1. Awaken the core – A strong core gives dancers incredible freedom of movement as well as improving balance. It supports the body during intricate steps, leaps, and turns, enhancing overall control and coordination, while preventing injuries by reducing the strain on other muscle groups. Try out the Ballerina Core class, a tough 20 minute core class, to challenge and strengthen your core each day. We also recommend our 30-minute Turnout and Beats Conditioning class to power up your core and target your inner thighs, deep rotators, hamstrings and glutes at the same time.
  1. Activate your back muscles – Stretching and warming up the back muscles is also very important. A strong and supple back is the foundation for executing movements like high arabesques and explosive grand battements with precision and control. It ensures proper posture, balance, and alignment, reducing the risk of strain and injury. Our Spine Mobility class helps introduce more range of movement and flexibility into your back, while our Ultimate Back Workout class is all about building strength and power.

Why warming up alone is a challenge

Many dancers often struggle to warm up effectively on their own because creating a structured warm-up routine that strikes the right balance between gentle stretching and muscle engagement isn’t easy. 

Without proper guidance, you can risk overexertion or under preparation, leading to potential injuries and a less-than-optimal dance experience. 
An online class offers a solution to this dilemma. These classes provide the expertise and guidance necessary to ensure dancers warm up like professionals. Instructors like Isabella understand the nuances of ballet warm-ups, offering valuable insights, corrections, and personalised feedback, creating a safe and effective warm-up environment that fosters better performance and a deeper connection to the art of ballet.

Make warm-ups easy and effective with our online ballet studio

At our online ballet studio, Ballet with Isabella, we understand the critical role that warm-ups play in elevating your ballet experience. That’s why we offer dedicated warm-up routine classes designed to kickstart your performance. Our warm-up class has been crafted by an experienced ballet instructor, Isabella McGuire Mayes, the first British graduate of The Vaganova Ballet Academy and soloist of The Mikhailovsky Ballet. 

Online warm up class

In this class, learn the importance of feeling loose before class while keeping your muscles active and connected, and to strengthen the key muscles of the core, obliques, upper back, glutes, and hamstrings without over exhausting yourself before class. The 30 minute class also includes exercises to open the hips and hamstrings and priming you to feel your best even before class starts!

Online stretching class

In addition to our warm-up routine classes, we also offer a Full Body Stretch class that provides a holistic approach to preparing your body and mind for ballet practice. These classes are perfect for professional students and adult dancers who want to build a strong foundation and refine their techniques.

Here, you’ll learn the importance of a good warm up before class, go through exercises to activate the back of legs, core, and glutes, and learn stretching exercises to feel long and lean.By joining our online ballet studio’s warm-up classes through our affordable soloist membership, you’ll have access to expert guidance, coaching, and mentoring in a welcoming space dedicated to the art of ballet. With our guidance, you can warm up like a pro.