Belfast Telegraph

Misty Copeland shares secrets of sculpted ballet body

The ballet star wants everyone to have a chance to build a body like hers.

Ballerina-turned-actress Misty Copeland is sharing her exercise tips to help everyday women achieve "sexy fluidity and confidence”.

The 34-year-old, who is shooting her first film, The Nutcracker and The Four Realms, opposite Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, and Morgan Freeman, is celebrating another first - she has written her first book, Ballerina Body: Dancing and Eating Your Way to a Leaner, Stronger, and More Graceful You.

Misty shared two of her favourite exercise rituals with People magazine - The Walk and Degage, which means 'disengaged' in French - which she insists will improve alignment, strength and posture.

To perform The Walk, lie on your back with knees bent in and lower back on the floor, "as is the rule" Misty points out.

"Lift one leg, still in the bent position as though you are walking, with a relaxed foot, not flexed or pointed, two inches off the floor, then put it down," she explains.

"Repeat with the other leg. Continue the walks three more times, lengthening your leg into the air on the fifth lift, at which time you may flex or point," she adds. "Pulse the stretched leg up and down, just an inch or two, several times. Use your arms, palms down, to stabilise your core."

Then switch your legs and repeat, starting with the other leg.

To perform Degage, you must also lie on your back but put your feet in ballet's first position (heels together and toes apart, feet pointed).

"Place your arms at your sides with your palms facing down," she shares, adding that you can vary the positioning of your arms to make yourself comfortable, while not letting them rise above your shoulders.

"Keep your legs elongated, straight on the floor," Misty continues. 
"Use your palms and arms by pressing them to the floor. Lift one leg two or three inches from the floor, with your toes still pointed out, by pressing the standing leg, your arms, and your head into the floor."

Misty recommends doing four degages with one leg in front, and four with the other in front.

"Now do four degages to each side. For these, your working leg stays on the floor, brushing along the floor as it extends to the side. Do not disturb the balance of the pelvis or the back as you move the working leg."

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