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Long, lean, ballet dancer muscles?

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  • Long, lean, ballet dancer muscles?

    I am wondering what people think about this. I admire women who are very muscular, but as a dancer I'm really going for a more sleek, delicate- but strong!- look. (For example: the Alvin Ailey dancers, who have the best bodies on the planet, in my opinion: http://www.amoeba.com/dynamic-images..._red_dress.jpg, http://www.danzaballet.com/UserFiles...ge/20linda.jpg).

    In my ballet days in high school, although I wasn't very muscular (insufficient diet), what muscle I did have was long and lean, but this was just the nature of the dance moves- everything was about lengthening.

    How do you think this applies to PB fitness? Do you stretch after bodyweight workouts and sprints? Warmed up, not warmed up? Is there a big difference in the muscle shape of bodyweight workouts vs. those who have switched to heavy weight-lifting?
    Last edited by milly3; 09-17-2010, 07:03 PM.

  • #2
    In 1969, I was a teenager at an arts camp in the Catskills.

    One of the faculty was a modern dancer. She had the most exquisite dancer's body I'd ever seen on anyone close up. The reason I remember her is because she was assigned to our table in the dining hall. And all she ate was meat, butter, vegetables and fruit. I actually remember her eating a huge plate of fatty BBQ pork ribs and nothing else one meal.

    Since I was an artistic hippie type, as were most of the folks at the camp, (we DID go to the original Woodstock together!) most of us were vegetarians or macrobiotics, so she stuck out like sore thumb, which is why I remember her.

    PWG

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    • #3
      I thought that whole thing about lengthening your muscles was a myth? They're attached to the bones at a specific point, and nothing you do is going to change that.

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      • #4
        I stretch after I workout (crossfit) and do yoga 1-2x a week. My muscles have gotten long and lean from heavy lifting. There's a lot of stretching involved.

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        • #5
          oooh i want that kind of figure too!!

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          • #6
            This is an absolute myth. You cannot change the insertion or origin points of your muscles. They are fixed to your skeletal structure. You can make your muscle tissue more flexible so that it carry's less tension, but you cannot make a muscle longer.

            If you could somehow "make your muscles longer" we could make ourselves taller through stretching protocols. I am 5'10 and will never be 6'0.

            If you want to look like a dancer then dance. Your body will adapt based on the specific demands you place on it.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Mav3rick View Post
              If you want to look like a dancer then dance. Your body will adapt based on the specific demands you place on it.
              Exactly. I had many friends in high school who were dancers and they really did all have different body types. There were some who were simply built to build more muscle and they definitely did. Others had the look in the photo in the first link. Certainly the results they all had were a combination of genetics and the kinds of exercise they did.



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              • #8
                I am a dancer (albeit not a professional!) and am waiting for the long, lean muscles

                Seriously though, find yourself a dance studio and take some Ballet lessons, or get a Ballet workout DVD (I have one that is a killer!). The only way to look like a Ballet dancer is to dance.

                Then supplement your dancing with heavy lifting, Yoga and/or Pilates, and slow moving cardio. Add in bodyweight exercises if you want as well (I keep forgetting to do this).

                My musces are slowly coming through by using that sort of workout plan. I dance for about 6hrs a week. Do a Power Pump class twice a week, Yoga at least once and try to walk every morning. I would do Pilates but there's no classes near me.
                "For animals, the entire universe has been neatly divided into things to (a) mate with, (b) eat, (c) run away from, and (d) rocks." - Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites

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                • #9
                  Taller women develop that lithe dancer look even doing weight training. It's a pervasive myth surrounding woman and strength training. Many are afraid of "bulking up" and looking like some sort of freaky steriod monkey if they do weight training, but this isn't true. Taller woman = longer muscles, shorter women = shorter muscles (more of a gymnast build I'd say.) You're stuck with whatcha got, so love it and make it the strongest most functional body it can be. (At least that's my goal! )
                  The more I see the less I know for sure.
                  -John Lennon

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                  • #10
                    any other forms of dance that may be as beneficial as ballet?
                    Scottish Sarah

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by lil_earthmomma View Post
                      Taller women develop that lithe dancer look even doing weight training. It's a pervasive myth surrounding woman and strength training. Many are afraid of "bulking up" and looking like some sort of freaky steriod monkey if they do weight training, but this isn't true.
                      lol... i know... i wish it was that easy.

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                      • #12
                        Dancers do tend to be lean, but part of the reason the professional ballet dancers you see are so delicate is that women who aren't built that way are discouraged from continuing in dance and are often not hired by professional troupes. Teenage dancers who are not as naturally slim experience high rates of disordered eating in order to fit the ideal. I went to a high school for the performing arts, and I knew many young dancers who had switched to doing musical theatre, modern dance, and other styles that are a bit more open to a range of body types.

                        Dance is great exercise and can definitely help a person get lean, but it cannot remake a person's entire body type to a small, delicate frame if her bone structure and muscle attachments do not tend that way already.
                        “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Owly View Post
                          Dancers do tend to be lean, but part of the reason the professional ballet dancers you see are so delicate is that women who aren't built that way are discouraged from continuing in dance and are often not hired by professional troupes. Teenage dancers who are not as naturally slim experience high rates of disordered eating in order to fit the ideal. I went to a high school for the performing arts, and I knew many young dancers who had switched to doing musical theatre, modern dance, and other styles that are a bit more open to a range of body types.

                          Dance is great exercise and can definitely help a person get lean, but it cannot remake a person's entire body type to a small, delicate frame if her bone structure and muscle attachments do not tend that way already.
                          So true and so sad. At 5'3" I was NEVAH gonna make it as a professional dancer, no matter how often I threw up my dinner.
                          The more I see the less I know for sure.
                          -John Lennon

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                          • #14
                            Pilates. Serious Pilates, and lot of it.

                            Lyrical Jazz.

                            Isadora Duncan inspired modern dance.

                            Any dance form that asks you to lift from the sternum, keep your shoulders down, and make long lines with your arms and legs.

                            Girl

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                            • #15
                              I think all types of dance have benefits to offer (besides being fun!). I was doing jazz for a while, now I'm taking Hip-Hop. In the past I've taken ballet, tap, modern, afro-haitian, ballroom... I like jazz for an all over body workout... hip hop is more lower body, core and more cardio ... modern is a lot of total body too, but I never clicked with the style enough really. My suggestion is to try a few classes and see what "clicks" with you.. and what you enjoy. For me that's the most important part.
                              sigpic "Boy I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals" - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

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