Dancing is one of the most physically demanding activities that the human body can do. In order to execute movements that are not only dynamic and athletic, but also aesthetically captivating takes an incredible amount of strength, flexibility, and endurance.
While a lot of dance training takes place in class and rehearsal, adding some additional exercises to your routine can help you to target specific muscle groups and increase your strength, improve your form and posture, and help prevent injuries.
Below are 10 strength training exercises that you can do in the studio, the gym or your living room that are sure to improve your performance on the stage or the ballroom floor.
1. Kettlebell Clean to Squat
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent, holding the kettlebell with both hands on the floor between your feet. Straighten your legs and lift your upper body while pulling the kettlebell up to chest level.
With the kettlebell still lifted, sink into a full squat. Pop back up from the squat then gently lower your body and the kettlebell into the starting position. Do 10-12 repetitions.
2. Resistance Band Chop
Attach a resistance band with two handles to a stable support at a distance where you can grab on with both arms extended. Kneel on your left knee with your right foot on the floor in front of you. Grab onto the resistance band with both hands extended above your right shoulder.
Pull the handles downward at a diagonal across your body past your left hip. Return to the starting position. Repeat 8-12 times on each side.
3. Inline Band Lift
Attach a resistance band with two handles to a stable support at a distance where you can grab on with both arms extended. Kneel on your right knee with your left foot on the floor in front of you, to the left of the band.
Grab onto the resistance band handles with both hands extended to the right at hip level. Pull the handles upward at a diagonal across your body past your left hip. Return to the starting position. Repeat 8-12 times on each side.
4. Lateral Step-Up with Kettlebell
Start by standing to the left of a step or box while holding a kettlebell on your left shoulder. Step up onto your right leg and lift your left knee up in front of you at 90 degrees while bending your right elbow at 90 degrees. Hold for a few seconds and return to starting position. Repeat 8-12 times on each side.
5. Pyramid Press
Start standing with your feet a little more than shoulder width apart, your left foot slightly turned out, and the kettlebell in your right hand extended straight up. In one motion, bend the right knee and push the right hip out while extending your left hand down toward your extended left leg.
While in this position, bend the right elbow to lower the weight toward the back of your head. Extend arms and legs back up to starting position. Repeat 6 times on each side.
6. Medicine Ball Throw
Start standing to the right of a wall with your feet shoulder width apart, holding a medicine ball. Step forward with your left foot and lower into a lunge. Twist to the right, at the waist, to bring the medicine ball toward your right hip. Pop up from the lunge, straightening your right knee, while throwing the ball across your body at the wall. Catch the ball as it rebounds back. Repeat 8-12 times on each side.
7. Single-Leg Deadlift with Kettlebell
Start standing with a kettlebell in your left hand. Use the kettlebell to guide your left hand toward the ground as you slightly bend your left knee lift your right leg off the floor behind you, outstretched in an arabesque position at 90-degrees, (your back and outstretches leg will be in a tabletop position parallel to the floor). Keep your right foot flexed and turned in. Return to starting position. Repeat 8-10 times on each side.
8. Single-Leg Hip Bridge
Lie down on your back with your left foot on a medicine ball, your right leg extended up at a diagonal in front of you, and your arms extended out to the sides with your palms up and in line with your hips. Press your left foot into the medicine ball and engage your glutes to lift your hips up off the floor. Hold for a few seconds and lower. Repeat 8-12 times on each side.
9. Foot Articulation with Theraband
Start seated on the floor. Loop a theraband under the ball of your right foot, extend both legs out in front of you, and hold on to the ends of the band with both hands at your lap or belly. Start with your foot flexed and roll through the foot slowly to a point, roll back through to a flex. Repeat 8-10 times on each side.
10. Squat Rotation
Attach a resistance band with two handles to a stable base. Start facing the base or attachment and holding one of the handles in each hand, arms extended with your palms facing down. Sink into a squat. Rise from the squat while drawing the left elbow back and twisting at the waist and extending the left foot behind you. Return to a squatting position. Repeat 8-10 times on each side.
A good strength-training routine will not only improve your performance, but can help prevent injuries. Improved core strength provides support for your spine and hips, while strengthening other individual muscle groups can help you maintain your stability and posture through long rehearsals or intense performances.
By adding these 10 additional strengthening exercises to your routine two or three times a week, you can experience better form, greater power, more stable joints and that awesome athleticism that both you and your audience can appreciate!