What Muscles Does Ballet Strengthen?

ballet dancer

“Dancing is creating a sculpture that is visible only for a moment.”

A ballet dancer’s movements can be elegant and airy. Through dance classes and lessons, dancers train so their performance looks effortless and graceful, however, the technique required for ballet is difficult, intensive, and takes years of rigorous training to master.

A classic ballet class is aimed to help students with their postural alignment, increase muscle and joint flexibility, and build their essential muscular strength. Even as preschool aged students begin to explore ballet classes, they’re taught to focus on movement and challenge themselves to move in ways that they haven’t yet explored.

As the focus on movement continues through a dancer’s career, strength becomes increasingly important. Ballet dancers strengthen, tone, and activate the following four muscle groups that contribute to their seamless and effortless movements.


It’s no doubt that ballet dancers work hard to achieve their visual appearance. Ballet dancers create long lines in their movements that can start from their legs. Having the ability to tone and activate the quadriceps and hamstrings is crucial to ensure a balance between strength and flexibility in the legs creates these lines.

As a dancer progresses in their training, muscles that control knee extensions and hip flexions become increasingly important. By exercising these large muscle groups, higher leg extensions and a stronger, more powerful plie are more achievable.


Turnout starts from the hips and mastering this is essential in ballet as proper form allows a dancer to avoid injury. Through regularly practicing proper form, dancers develop strong hip and gluteal muscles. External hip rotator and gluteal muscles are also used as ballet dancers turn their legs outwards.


Ballet dancers strengthen the muscles of their lower legs, calves, and feet every time they point or move their weight to their toes.

Exercises that focus on plantar flexion require a ballet dancer to engage their calf muscles and feet, using the floor as resistance. The strength of the lower legs and feet are important when ballet dancers jump – the technique they use must have the power to not only propel them high into the air, but also the control to be able to land softly.


To maintain strength and stability, ballet dancers rely on their abdominal and back muscles as this establishes strong movements. Throughout every movement, a dancer ensures that their core is engaged to help with balance. Activating the core muscles of the body also provides protection from dance related injuries. A strong core and back means a solid foundation for every position and movement.


Alberta Ballet School has on-site physiotherapy at our dance academy. Our students’ physical and mental health is always at the top of mind. Learn more about how we prioritize the demands of professional training with our team of experts.

Have questions about Alberta Ballet School’s approach? Contact us directly.