Exercise one: Simple releves
Simply doing slow releves helps to strengthen your feet, and works on your arch and ankle strength,
not to mention helping to break in pointe shoes. The slower the better here, so in a way it also helps with balance. You can
do these releves in first position (as show in the animation), second and fifth. Also do some slow releves in parallel first
and second (parallel: where you dont turn your feet out). Remember to keep your releves slow and controlled, being
careful, and not rolling too far forward or backwards on your toes when you rise up.
Your weight should be evenly distributed
between both feet, the weight centered down the ball of each foot.If you're feeling adventurous
: Try doing
the releves on just one foot at a time. This is extra tricky to start off with, but as your balance improves, so will your
strength. Hold your other foot in passe.Exercise two: Arch
I have posted a shot of my arch before doing this exercise and got an unexpected HUGE response from it. Basically,
all it takes is practice. Start with your foot upright, then keeping your leg straight, push your toes (without scrunching
them) down onto the floor. The aim is to get your toes to touch the floor with your foot fully pointed, or even better, to
get the top of the ball of your foot to touch the floor, as I have demonstrated in the animation. This really helps with your
arches, and also allows you to practice pointing your foot to its fullest.Big tip
: To maximise this stretch,
as with any stretch, when you have reached as far as you can pointe with your feet, hold it for about 30 seconds or however
long in comfortable, wiggle your toes and bend your knees to relax your muscles, then start again. Start off with one foot
at a time so you can fully concentrate on one foot, instead of trying to control and push both feet to the limit.Exercise three: Releves with a twist!
These, I find are the hardest of the three exercises, but is the one I can really feel work on my calves and ankles
and feet. It vastly improves your balance, ankle strength and general foot strength.
In the animation I am doing this
exercise with just one foot. This is extremely difficult and should not be attempted until you can do it with both feet.
If your balance isnt 100% start with both feet on the edge of a step or a raised surface. You can hold onto something
for support at first, but try to built up your balance and strength so you dont need the support for balance. Put the balls
of your feet on the edge of the raised platform, then lower your heel as far down as it can go, then slowly
into demi pointe, pushing up as far as you can go, then lower back down, again controlling the speed at which you lower.Big
: Again, the slower the better. Once you are comfotable with doing this exercise with both feet on the step, try lifting
one foot into passe, then try the exercise again, (as shown in the animation). At first you'll probably need a support to
hold onto, but with time you should be able to do this exercise on one foot without the support.
All these exercises
need to be repeated in order for them to work efficiently, and to be carried out regularly. In time, you will notice the difference.