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Strength Training Is Key to Improving Your Dance Skills

02/27/2023

Lately, you’ve been practicing your turns and extensions, but you still don’t see the improvements you’re looking for in your dance skills. 

It’s frustrating putting so much work into your routines with nothing to show for it. 

There is a way to help you succeed.

Dance requires activating all the muscles in your body. If your muscles aren’t strong enough to support your kicks or help you leap higher, you simply make the same “shape of your skills” repeatedly. This leads to no improvement.

Strength training is the KEY to success!

It may sound shocking… but it’s true!

If you constantly run your skills and give your dancers the same corrections and STILL don’t see improvement, then a cross-training program is the boost you need to improve your:

  • Skills
  • Endurance
  • Technique
  • Competition Scores
  • Injury Prevention

 

Strength training has been the key to successfully help dancers hit their skills.

Three Red Flags Proving You Need Strength Training

Here are three red flags I see with my members and clients. These indicate that you or your dancers need strength training to improve. 

  • You always tell your dancers to stay in relevé, jump higher off the floor, and point their feet.
  • Your dancers don’t have the same level of energy and technique from the beginning to the end of their routines. 
  • Your dancers have their splits on the floor, but can’t get their leg holds and hold it or hit a full split in the air. 

Sound familiar?

All three things can be fixed with strength training — specifically circuit training. I love to use circuit training to help dancers build up muscle strength. That’s how you get the power to jump off the floor. You also get the muscle endurance to stay in relevé and maintain high energy until the end of your routines. 

What Is Circuit Training?

When I became a personal trainer, I fell in love with circuit training. It’s an ideal training method for dancers and coaches to effectively strengthen their muscles and improve endurance when they don’t have much time. It’s also perfect for adding to your practices. 

Circuit training means you rotate through different exercises in a specific amount of time, with little to no rest between each exercise. It’s more about how your training plan is built than what exercises you do to create a circuit. 

You may have noticed I usually follow this method in my training plans. That’s because it’s proven over and over again to get results for my clients and Dancer-Fitness members.

Why Is Cross-Training So Good for Dancers?

There are a few reasons cross-training is incredibly beneficial. 

First, it prevents injury. It’s no secret that dancers are at risk for injuries. But many injuries happen to dancers because of an overuse of their muscles. The stronger muscles often compensate for the weaker muscles’ lack of strength. 

If you already have a strength training plan in place, cross-training strengthens the surrounding muscles, so your main muscle groups have some extra help, like an assistant.

Second, cross-training improves how you perform as a whole. Whether you’re a dancer or a coach, there’s nothing more frustrating than seeing your routines look one way in the studio and completely different in front of the judges. 

On stage, there’s more space to fill, more endurance needed, and lots of pop and precision in your moves. That’s why we spend so much time cleaning our routines and changing choreography to make routines translate from the studio to the stage. 

Instead of cleaning and changing skills, you could spend some of that time on strength training and circuit training so that you actually see results. 

How to Do Strength Training in Circuits

Strength training could take about 8 to 10 minutes of your practice when you focus on full-body exercises in a circuit. When you do the exercises in a circuit, I recommend picking six exercises: two core exercises, two upper body exercises, and two lower body exercises. 

Alternate between the exercises you choose. Do each exercise for 30-40 seconds and then rest for 20-30 seconds before moving on to the next. 

Doing your circuit one time is enough to warm up your muscles and prepare your body for practice. If you have more time, repeat the circuit up to three times. 

How to Improve Your Dancing

The reason why you can’t get your extension or stop hopping in your turns isn’t that you need to practice your turns more or extend your legs better. It’s a lack of strength in your muscles. For example, the checklist for better extensions includes core stability, hip stability, and supporting leg strength. 

Core stability includes the muscles in your midsection and wraps around your back. You can improve your core stability with exercises like the Up Down Hover and Banded Bear Walk. This trains your body to understand how to correctly engage your core for better turns, extensions, and more.

Hip stability comes from strengthening your inner thighs. Exercises like Clam Shells train your rotators and strengthen your supporting leg because the focus is on strengthening the muscles from your ankle up to your glutes. 

Supporting leg strength gives you more power to jump off the floor and leap higher. When your supporting leg is able to stabilize your entire body, your balance is better for cleaner turns and it’s easier to execute your leg holds. You’ll have an easier time landing because stronger legs mean you have more control over your movements. 

If you don’t have these foundational muscles engaged, activated, and ready for your skills, it’s challenging to improve them just by going across the floor one more time or doing one more turn set. Your glutes won’t become stronger, and you overuse your muscles, potentially causing injury. Use targeted exercises to build the strength in specific muscles you need to execute your skills. 

Ready for Strength Training?

By now, you probably get the importance of strength training. It’s time efficient and effective for improving the dance skills you struggle with or dream of being able to do. 

Remember that each skill uses specific muscles to hit it every time, like a puzzle piece. Your muscles are the pieces, and your skill is the complete picture. You just need to strengthen the right muscles.

If you or your dancers are running into one of the three red flags above… 

I dare you to incorporate 10 minutes of strength training into your practices for the next 30 days and see what happens. 

That’s seriously all you need. 

Just 10 minutes.

Send me an email in the next couple of weeks and tell me what improvements you see.Can’t wait to see your progress!

About Katie Groven

Hello and welcome! I’m Katie Groven, owner, and creator of dancer-fitness.com, and I’m so happy you decided to learn more about us! READ MORE

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