3 Exercises For A Quick And Effective Dance Warm-Up


Hey Coach!


I know when you’re short on time, your class warm-up usually gets cut short. 


And don’t even get me started on the amount of coaches I know, who skip stretching and strength training altogether. (Can you tell that’s a pet peeve?)


Your practice and class time are very precious, especially when you’re in competition season. 


But when you’re short on time, there are 3 exercises that you can do with your dancers to help strengthen their core, glutes, and hips

Is it really that bad if you skip a dance warm-up?


Not to be blunt but… yes! I know it happens often. It’s easy to focus all of your attention on the actual dancing. I mean, that would seem logical.


Coaches tend to focus on running a routine over and over OR fine tuning a specific section of a routine for competition, with very little improvement. 


But when you warm up your dancers, you’re showing them (and your sanity) some love. You’re getting to the root of improving your dancers’ strength and technique.


Here’s why I’m so passionate about doing a warm-up.


Proper warm-up and engagement of the glutes are so important. These are your dancers’ powerhouse. Do you want your dancers to jump higher, kick with more power, increase kick height, and have or improve turnout? You can help your dancers accomplish all of those goals when you help them strengthen their glutes. 


Stronger glutes can also prevent injuries from overworked hamstrings and hips. When the glutes are strong, they can do their job – taking care of the heavy lifting. 


It’s important to warm up and engage the core because this is your dancers’ home base. It’s where their control and stability come from. Do you want your dancers to dance sharply, cleanly, and maintain their technique throughout an entire routine? A strong core is essential. 


When the core is strong, the pelvis and the hips are able to work together easily. That means your dancers will be better at keeping the four corners with their hips and shoulders – better alignment. So their bodies won’t need as much energy to compensate for rocking or being off balance.



Warming up the hips and giving them the attention they need is crucial because many times, the hips do more work than they are supposed to. The glutes and the core are weak so the hips step in to help. 


Stronger hips help dancers’ leg movements and improve turnout. So they can get that leg higher without sickled feet, safely. By incorporating exercises focused on the hips, you and your dancers will notice improvements over time.


Check out the 3 exercises below. All of them help prevent injury and strengthen the core, glutes, and hips. 

3 Dance Warm-Up Exercises

Superman Lat Pull Down


How to do it:


  1. Have you dancers lay on their stomachs, with their whole body flat on the floor. Keep the arms straight, above the head. 
  2. Lift the arms and legs off of the floor, at the same time. The only part of the body touching the floor, should be the core.
  3. Bend both arms at the same time so they make a 90° angle, then straighten.
  4. Lower the arms and legs so they’re in the starting position.
  5. Repeat as many times as possible for 30 – 40 seconds.


Remember to squeeze the butt muscles and engage the core while dancers lift the arms and legs. Try to have control over the movements, not just dropping the arms and legs back to the floor. We’re building strength through the control of the muscles. 

Up Down Hover


How to do it:


  1. Have your dancers get onto the floor, on their hands and knees.
  2. Tuck the toes under and lift the knees about an inch off of the ground (the toes and hands are supporting the body). Slightly bend the elbows. Hold this position for a second. This is the hover position.
  3. Next, is the up and down portion. Go down to the ground on one elbow. Repeat on the other arm.
  4. Then, straighten one arm and then the other so dancers are in the starting position – the hover.
  5. Repeat as many times as possible for 30 – 40 seconds.


The slower your dancers do the up and down movement with their arms, the easier this exercise will be because the hips won’t move around as much. The more they start shaking their butt, the harder it will be. 

Lunge Knee Drive


How to do it:


  1. Start in a lunge on the floor. Think of someone doing a marriage proposal on one knee.
  2. As they stand up on their supporting leg, drive the knee up to a 90° angle.
  3. Hold the knee up for a second.
  4. Then back down into the lunge.
  5. Repeat for as many repetitions as possible for 30 – 40 seconds.


Remind your dancers to keep the core tight. And be sure they aren’t learning backward when the working leg comes up. Keep the toes on the supporting foot spread out to help maintain balance.

Ready to see how quick a warm-up can be?


I promise a warm-up doesn’t need to take up half of your practice. 


Try the:


  • Superman lat pull up
  • Up down hover
  • Lunge knee drive


I recommend doing these as a circuit, before class. Do each one for 30-40 seconds.


Each exercise helps your dancers become stronger and more powerful in their kicks, jumps, and turnout.


So now your dancers are warmed up. And it only took about 3 – 5 minutes!


Having a hard time challenging your dancers? Here are a few tips!


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