I love when I get to ballet class early because I have time to do a quick warmup! Here are some moves I like to do before ballet class, and sometimes before barre or other workout classes just to get my core muscles warm and engaged. I also like to do these moves as my core work when I work out at the gym or at home.
For a warm up, I do 8-16 (depending on how much time I have) of each move, while for a workout, I do at least 16 of each.
I start with progressive crunches - the first set with my legs flat and long on the floor, then with my knees bent and feet on the floor, then with my legs in tabletop (shins parallel to the floor, knees over hips or farther away), next wit legs straight up, and finally with one leg up and one floating, and then repeat on the other side to finish. If I only have a few minutes to warm up, this is my go to! It’s quick and really gets your core working.
Next, I channel my inner penguin with some lateral crunches. You can do this with your feet flat on the floor, or lifted up, or both like I show here! Reach your arms long toward your toes, engage your core to lift your head, neck, and shoulders up. Once in position, start to reach one arm toward your feet, and then the other, to crunch side to side. I add some more oblique work here with a twist across the body. Try your best to only rotate from the waist up, keeping your lower body still. If you are keeping your feet on the ground (I often do this too, it is a great option), it is especially important to try to keep your opposite hip from lifting up, since this will compromise the twisting oblique action!
Then, I like to slowly raise and lower straight legs. I sometimes do this with my head, neck, and shoulders on the ground, and sometimes with them lifted up. Either is great - I find that with my head down, it really works my lower abs. But if your head is down, it can be easy to arch your back, so be sure to consciously engage your core and press your back into the ground. You can do straight lifting and lowering, or you can add an extra fun challenge by taking small crosses of the legs on the way down and up - if you do ballet, it is like doing an entrechat quatre (or even six!) horizontally - definitely easier to do more crosses this way without gravity involved!
And to finish off, simply hold your legs hovering and upper body lifted for a count of at least 8 seconds. I hope your core is feeling strong and warmed up after this!