It turns out I have no turn-out. So the bad news is that I’ll never be a professional ballerina (back-up plan, Sumo wrestler!). The good news is that it’s been a month and I have some very interesting results for you.
The Ballerina Workout Experiment
If you recall, I made a mish-mash out of Madonna’s (supposed) workout, the NYC ballet workout, and the Lotte Berk method. Basically it was the complete opposite of the Crossfit experiment. CrossFit is all about short sets with (hemorrhoid inducing) heavy weights. Madonna’s personal trainer, Tracey Anderson, summed up our new workout, “Never lift anything heavier than 3 lbs. This was a huge change for us.
So, this is what we did 3 times a week for a month (the other days we did cardio of some variety):
100 V-arm raises with 3-lb dumbbells
100 shoulder pulses with 3-lb dumbbells, each arm
100 bicep curls with 3-lb dumbbells, each arm
100 tricep kickbacks with 3-lb dumbbells, each arm
30 first position plie squats
30 second position plie squats
5 sets of diamond squats, holding for 10 seconds and alternated with 10 pelvic tilts
40 sideways squats with inner thigh squeeze
40 sideways squats with pelvic tilts
30 standing arabesque pulses, each leg
30 seated pretzel lifts, each leg
30 leg lifts from plank position, each leg
100 V-up sit-ups
100 yoga crunches
100 regular crunches
*You must stretch each body part after you finish working it. The stretching is, apparently, very important for lengthening the muscle you just contracted. Ballerinas are ALL about the stretchy-stretchy.
That you’ll look like Britney pre-mental breakdown. The theory behind light weight/high reps is that it builds “longer, leaner, more compact muscle.” They say if you work out like a dancer, you will look like a dancer (they say nothing, however, about how to get the genetics of a dancer). This intrigued us because Gym Buddy Allison, the one of us who puts on muscle the easiest and has the lowest body fat %, said CrossFit bulked her thighs out. Girlfriend loves her muscle but also loves her current jeans.
What I Liked About It
1. It is HARD. You think 3-pounders are wimpy? Do 100 reps. You will want to gnaw your own arm off just to escape the pain. I will never ever make fun of someone for using the baby weights again.
2. You can now bounce quarters off my perky butt (but if you do, be warned that I’m keeping the quarters – I need jelly bean money.)
3. Call me Gumby – I can do all my splits again.
4. My waist is smaller and I have visible definition in my top two abs. (No word yet from the remaining 4 but an expedition has been sent out. They’ve got to be there somewhere.) Seriously though, 300 situps a day!
What I Didn’t Like About It
1. I was sore every day. Chronically sore. For a month.
2. It takes forever to finish. At least 45 minutes. Usually an hour. And it’s boring counting to 100 that many times. We had to take turns counting while the other person told entertaining stories to take our minds off the monotony/pain.
3. You look stupid. I mean, I thought we got weird looks before when we were running around Monkey Bar Gymming and stuff. But if you think hanging by your knees from the chin-up bar will get you weird looks on the weight floor, try bringing in a set of lemon yellow rubber-coated 3-pounders and then parking it there for an hour. My pride did suffer.
4. It doesn’t hit every body part. Our chests, back & lats became so neglected that we started adding in those exercises on our “off” days because we were afraid of losing muscle there.
Since the promise was all about keeping the muscle while losing the bulk, we focused on our measurements, our strength tests and our body fat %. Besides Allison and I, Gym Buddy Candice participated for about half. Gym Buddies Mike, Megan and Shalom made occasional appearances. Their comments are at the end.
Weight: – 1 lb
Arm: + 0.25 in.
Waist: – 0.5 in.
Hips: – 1 in.
Thigh: – 0.75 in.
Calf: – 0.25 in.
Body Fat %: no change
Weight: no change
Calf: no change
Body Fat %: no change
I’m not exactly sure what to make of our results. On one hand, the workout did as promised: save biceps, we went down on every measurement without losing any lean muscle mass. On the other hand, we’re talking about fractions of an inch – so you could just chalk it up to measurement error. Although I’m pretty sure my waist and hips are smaller as my clothes fit a bit differently.
And yet, I can’t do this workout all the time. At first it was kinda fun but it got boring pretty quick. It takes too much time. It isn’t a comprehensive enough workout. However, I think it did provide some positive results so I plan on throwing in “100’s days” every couple of weeks or so. I plan on keeping the 300 situps as I’d like to keep my top two abs from wandering away again. To all the people who said we’d lose muscle mass & strength, I’d have to say that is not true. Basically: awesome lower body shaping and core. Meh for everything else. It did not make me into a ballerina. Fun factor: 3 stars.
This seemed to be the general consensus from the Gym Buddies: It’s a lot harder than it looks. It will definitely make you sore.
Must have more data!! Any of you try this? What are your results?