Pipit-Suksun in company class at Ballet San Jose (photo by Alejandro Gomez)
Ballet San Jose principal Ommi Pipit-Suksun’s workout is carefully crafted—two parts mental preparation and one part each cardio and Pilates. She’s found the best times of day to sneak in extra moments of strength building, stretching and rejuvenation tailored to her current repertoire, whether it’s Jorma Elo’s Glow-Stop or Balanchine’s Serenade.
A delicate balance: When the company’s not performing, Pipit-Suksun hops on a stationary bike or StairMaster for 20 to 30 minutes two to three times per week to keep her quads strong and heart rate up. Once rehearsals are in full swing, she scales back. “If I do too much, it could backfire.”
Biggest challenge: “I’m more flexible than strong,” she says, so when her fellow company members stretch between combinations, Pipit-Suksun does bridges to strengthen her glutes and hamstrings.
Afternoon boost: During lunch breaks, she squeezes in Pilates mat exercises if her body needs extra work. “I pick and choose exercises to match what I’m working on at that moment and how my body feels. The ab series is my favorite because that always burns. If I can squeeze that in every day, then I’m good.”
Catching winks: A 30- to 45- minute nap three hours before curtain “puts me into the mental zone.”
Hot and cold recovery: After a show, Pipit-Suksun always ices her right knee for 15 minutes to keep a previous injury in check, and then takes a hot shower to soothe aching muscles.
Pilates secret: She’s prone to hyperextending her knees, but Pilates taught her not to lock into the joints. “If I keep my knees slightly soft, I feel like I’m able to use my inner thighs and glutes more.”