I am sharing another ballet-inspired move today, because dance-inspired fitness is my absolute favorite! You don’t need any dance experience to do this move, and it combines stretching, balance, and strength all in one.
The most important thing is to keep your knee straight so your whole leg is straight and engaged. It is better to have your leg held at a lower height, but with good form, than to bend your leg just to get it higher. Keep your body weight centered and avoid leaning away from the lifted leg. Watch this video for two versions, depending on your level of flexibility.
For the modified version, start with your leg in front of you on a flat, stable surface that is about hip height. You can do this with your leg either turned in or out (toes pointing up, or out to the side) to work either the front or inner thigh - try both ways! Lift your leg off of the surface as high as you can while holding it steady, even if this is only an inch or so hovering above the surface.
For the more advanced version if you are more flexible, take your foot in your hand. You can either flex the toes and have your leg turned inward for a yoga version of this move, or with your toes pointed and leg turned out for a ballet version. Engage your leg muscles to stabilize yourself and release your hand, trying to keep the leg at the same height as much as possible.
Once you lift or release your leg in either version, hold for at least 8 counts, or challenge yourself to see how long you can hold it! Repeat a few times to the front and then with your leg out to the side, and be sure to do both sides for balance.
Ta-da! It would be fun to do this to the Nutcracker ballet soundtrack since it's that time of year too!