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An attitude may look effortless, but it works as many muscles at once as any gym exercise.
In ballet, an attitude refers to a specific pose, not the way you act. According to the American Ballet Theatre, attitudes were inspired by Giovanni da Bologna's statue of the Roman god Mercury. In the statue, Mercury has one leg in the air behind him bent at a 90-degree angle. In ballet, an attitude is similar, but dancers lift their free leg as high as possible and may balance on the toe of their standing leg. With each leg doing separate things, attitudes work a variety of muscles at once.
In ballet, an attitude works muscles from head to toe, while simultaneously improving your balance.
Target the Legs
Attitudes work many muscles in your working leg, especially your hamstrings. If you feel a tightening in the back of your thigh, this could be your biceps femoris. As one of the major muscles in your thigh, the biceps femoris helps with the turnout required in attitude. If you are still working on your balance, you may only try attitude with your standing leg flat on the floor. If this is the case, you aren't using many more muscles in your standing leg than you use while walking. If you are able to do an attitude with your standing leg on relevГ© - balancing on the ball of your foot - you will use your quads and hamstrings.
Tighten the Core
Attitudes work more than your leg muscles. To stay balanced in such an awkward, precarious position, you must tighten your deep core muscles, including your internal obliques and your rectus abdominis. Because the angle of your working leg pulls back your torso, your external oblique muscles on the same side as your working leg should also engage as you try to keep your torso straight. According to Jacqui Haas in her book "Dance Anatomy," your transversus abdominis, pelvic floor and multifidi also engage when your trunk muscles contract to support your spine in poses like attitude.
Work the Glutes
Your working leg is in a position in attitude that works your glutes. According to "Yoga Journal," many exercises that focus on your glutes overly tighten the muscle. This may sound appealing, but in ballet, tight glutes can lead to tight hips, making it hard to execute even basic positions. Attitude can tone your glutes without overly tightening them, as your working leg hip is stretched open.
Add the Arms
Traditionally, one arm is extended above your head and one held out to the side during attitude, although some choreographers and dancers vary the arm placement. Ballet works your deltoid and triceps muscles by using the arms themselves as weights - just holding them in the same position in the air for even a minute causes your muscles to fire. Your deltoids, the muscles that bridge the top of your arm and shoulder, are particularly developed by ballet positions like attitude, where the arms are above the head.