We use an array of muscles to achieve the arabesque position.
The main muscles that work to achieve an arabesque are the Glutes and the Hamstrings that extend the leg behind us, and the back extensor muscle group (including the QL!) that assist in lifting the leg past 90 degrees.
We also need to consider the deep 6 rotators that assist for a beautiful turn out, the Mid/Lower Trap and Rhomboids that maintain an upright back, and the Peroneals at the ankle that finish the line with a winged foot.
With all of that being said, there are over 25 muscles that work together to achieve an arabesque!
The exercises below address a handful of these major muscle groups- The Hamstrings, Glutes, Back Extensors, and Rhomboids. Stayed tuned next week when we discuss the deep 6 rotators!
1. Single-leg Good Morning with Pulses
Muscles addressed: Glutes, Hamstring, Back Extensors
Begin this exercise with a barbell at the shoulders. Shift your weight to one leg and hinge the standing hip to 90 degrees, raising the back leg to 90 degrees. At this point you should feel the Glutes working in both your standing and working legs, and an engagement in the low back musculature. Once you find this position, pulse the working leg up and down. Complete 12-15 pulses and return to starting position. Repeat 3-4 times on each leg. Add weight as tolerated.
2. Single-leg Dead Lift
Muscles addressed: Glutes and Hamstrings
Begin with a weight in hands (Barbell, dumbell, or kettlebell). Shift weight to one leg and soften the knee of the standing leg. Maintain a softened knee, do not bend more, as you hinge the hip past 90 degrees. Lower slowly, then return to standing quickly. By maintaining a straight standing leg, you will also be working on hamstring flexibility! Complete 3 sets 8-10 repetitions.
3. Single-leg Dead Lift with Row
Muscles addressed: Glutes, Hamstrings, Rhomboids and Mid Trap
Begin this exercise in the same fashion as the single-leg dead lift. Once you reach approximately 90 degrees of hip hinge on the standing leg complete a row by squeezing together the shoulder blades and bending the elbows bringing the weight to your chest. Complete 10 rows before returning to a standing position. Repeat 3 sets of 10 rows with each leg as your working leg.