Empowering the Core: The Impact of Ballet on the Pelvic Floor

Empowering the Core: The Impact of Ballet on the Pelvic Floor

As dancers we understand that ballet is a dance form that demands both grace and strength, requiring precise control and alignment of the body. While ballet is often associated with its aesthetic beauty, it also offers significant benefits for the pelvic floor. 

For those of us who are older ladies, mums, or both, our pelvic floor function is something we become all too aware of! However, the importance of a strong pelvic floor extends to men as a crucial aspect of overall health and well-being.

The pelvic floor consists of muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues that support the organs in the pelvic region, plays a crucial role in maintaining core stability, bladder and bowel control, and sexual function for everyone. In this blog, we will explore the profound impact of ballet on the pelvic floor, how it can improve pelvic floor strength and function, and how the specific exercises and techniques used in ballet promote pelvic floor health. 

Core Engagement and Pelvic Floor Activation

As we have examined in our previous blog, ballet places a strong emphasis on core engagement, which includes the muscles of the abdomen, back, and pelvic floor. The pelvic floor muscles work in tandem with the deep abdominals and back muscles to provide stability and support for the spine and pelvis. The precise control and alignment required in ballet movements naturally engage and activate the pelvic floor muscles, contributing to their strength and coordination. 

As soon as dancers enter the ballet studio they are thinking about their turnout - the outward rotation of the hips and legs from the hip joint, creating a V-shaped position with the feet pointing in opposite directions. Regardless of how 'flat' the turnout is, the effort of trying to achieving and maintain proper turnout is very important for every dancer, as it is an essential element of the ballet technique and aesthetic.

The pelvic floor plays an important role in ballet turnout as it helps stabilise and support the hip joint during movements. When a dancer turns out, the pelvic floor muscles engage to control the rotation of the hips and legs, allowing for greater range of motion and flexibility. 

It is interesting to consider that effect of the specific barre exercises on the pelvic floor;

  1. Plies: These fundamental bending and stretching movements engage the inner thighs requiring significant support from the pelvic floor to maintain stability and prevent excessive strain on other muscle groups.
  2. Tendus and Degages: Pushing the feet along the floor, whilst maintaining turnout and a stretched leg, requires pelvic stability and balance, which engage the pelvic floor muscles.
  3. Rond de Jambes: Circular movements of the leg, like rond de jambes, require pelvic control and engagement to execute the movement smoothly and efficiently.
  4. Battements: These kicking movements require stability and control, especially during the extension of the leg. Activating the pelvic floor muscles helps dancers maintain their centre of gravity during these movements.
  5. Developpes and Grand Battements:  The pelvic floor muscles help support the leg's movement and prevent overcompensation from other muscles while lifting the leg to different heights, maintaining control and stability.
  6. Arabesques: During an arabesque the pelvic floor muscles assist in maintaining a stable and balanced position.

Postural Alignment and Pelvic Floor Health

Ballet dancers are famous for having beautiful posture and proper postural alignment is crucial for maintaining optimal pelvic floor function. Ballet training emphasises an upright posture, with the pelvis and spine aligned in a neutral position. This alignment helps alleviate excessive pressure on the pelvic floor and promotes optimal muscle activation. By developing postural awareness and practicing correct alignment, ballet dancers can support their pelvic floor health and reduce the risk of pelvic floor dysfunction.

Dynamic Movements and Pelvic Floor Strength

Ballet involves a wide range of dynamic movements, including jumps, leaps, and turns, which require controlled and powerful lower body movements. These movements engage the muscles of the pelvic floor, contributing to their strength and endurance. The rhythmic contractions and releases of the pelvic floor muscles during ballet exercises help improve their overall tone and responsiveness, enhancing pelvic floor function.

For those of us who are not at the stage of too many dynamic movements, ,even the smallest of mini jumps, or 'lilts' can still have a beneficial effect.

Balance and Stability

Maintaining balance and stability is essential in ballet, requiring active engagement of the core and pelvic floor muscles. Ballet dancers must maintain control over their pelvic alignment and stability while executing complex movements on one leg or during challenging balances. This constant activation and control of the pelvic floor muscles contribute to their strength and proprioceptive abilities.

When we start ballet as adults balancing can be extremely challenging, not just on one leg but even with both feet on the ground in a somewhat turned out position. Working on balances, firstly at the barre and then in the centre, helps to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles at any age. Which is very good news for those of us no longer in our first flush of youth!

Breath and Pelvic Floor Connection

Breath control is fundamental in ballet, influencing the quality and fluidity of movements. Ballet breathing, often referred to as "balletic breathing," is a specific type of breathing technique used by ballet dancers to support their movements, enhance performance, and maintain overall physical control. While balletic breathing shares similarities with deep diaphragmatic breathing, it is tailored to the unique demands of ballet training and performance. 

Coordinating breathing with movements to ensure fluidity and grace, dancers learn to time their breaths with specific steps, leaps, turns, and poses, enhancing the synchronization of movement and breath. Even if we are not leaping, the breath pattern at the barre still emphasises engaging the core muscles and the diaphragm. As we become more proficient and more energetic, proper balletic breathing can improve  stamina and endurance. Efficient breathing supplies oxygen to muscles and supports sustained physical effort and can aid in injury prevention by promoting good posture, reducing tension-related strain, and ensuring adequate oxygen supply to muscles.
So much of ballet is about the emotion that dancers can portray. Balletic breathing enhances the mind-body connection by emphasising the awareness of breath in relation to movement. This heightened awareness contributes to the overall artistic and physical experience of ballet adding depth and sensitivity to performances and connecting the dancer's movements with the audience.

Rehabilitation and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Ballet exercises and techniques can also be used in the rehabilitation of pelvic floor dysfunction, such as stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse. Specific exercises, such as pliés and relevés, can be modified and integrated into a targeted pelvic floor rehabilitation program. The controlled movements and muscle engagement in ballet help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, improve muscle coordination, and support the management of pelvic floor disorders.

Mind-Body Connection and Pelvic Floor Health

Ballet is not just a physical practice; it also nurtures a strong mind-body connection. Through the focus on alignment, movement quality, and body awareness, ballet dancers develop a heightened sense of their bodies, including the pelvic floor. This mind-body connection facilitates better understanding and control of the pelvic floor muscles, empowering dancers to maintain optimal pelvic floor health.


As with the other health focused blogs in this series, we once again see that ballet is a fantastic way to foster all kinds of physical and emotional benefits. In this instance, it is a powerful tool for strengthening and empowering the pelvic floor. The precision, control, and alignment required in ballet movements naturally engage and activate the pelvic floor muscles, enhancing their strength, coordination, and overall function.

By practicing ballet, we can all improve our pelvic floor health, support core stability, and reduce the risk of pelvic floor dysfunction. Whether you're professional ballet dancer or just beginning, ballet offers a graceful and empowering pathway to a healthier pelvic floor. So, embrace the artistry of ballet and unlock the strength and vitality of your pelvic floor.

Happy Dancing xoxo


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