ABT Corps Dancer Kathryn Boren's Weekend Cross-Training Routine

Boren in Balanchine's Allegro Brillante. Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.

When Kathryn Boren joined the corps of American Ballet Theatre last spring, after two years with Boston Ballet, it meant adjusting her cross-training schedule, too. To accommodate ABT's longer rehearsal days, she moved most of her workouts to her day off, Sunday. “I don't want to tire myself out too much during the week," Boren says. “I keep it simple, so I can push on the weekends." Here are the ins and outs of her routine.

Sunrise strengthener: After brushing her teeth, Boren does a grueling plank series with her feet lifted and pressed against a wall. She alternates a 30-second hold with 30 seconds of mountain climbers—driving one knee toward the elbow and switching legs—until she's reached two minutes. “That's the only thing I really do at home before I leave for work."

Uphill battle: Boren's Sundays at the gym typically start with 45 minutes on the elliptical. She gets her heart pumping with intervals, adjusting the incline and resistance every few minutes. Throughout the session, she'll work at steep incline levels of 10 to 13 and resistance levels of 5 to 9.


Savvy suspension: About two years ago, Boren added TRX suspension training to her routine. “It really helps with coordination and targets every area of my body," she says. One of her preferred exercises with the straps is a single-leg burpee—a combo of a plank, lunge and jump. “It's so challenging."

Ultimate control: On the weekends and at the end of rehearsal days, Boren often tests her balance with barre exercises on a BOSU ball. Her favorites include relevés both in parallel and turned out, ronds de jamb en l'air, petits battements and balances in passé, développé or arabesque with eyes closed.

Biggest challenge: “I'm so long that it's easy for me to lose my center and not really know where my body is placed," says Boren. She takes yoga once or twice a week to build stability and strength in her core and lower body.

Performance-season survival tip: “Keep eating." Boren stocks her bag with snacks like apples, bananas, carrot sticks and pretzels. “If I go too long without some kind of nourishment, my body feels it immediately and I just want to sleep." That's not an option for Boren, since she's often rehearsing multiple ballets at once.

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