Are you thinking about starting a strength or stretch training program? You probably already know what I’m about to say, but here goes… do it!
Strength training can totally transform your dancing when you do it consistently. Plus, it doesn’t take that much time at all.
But if you’re anything like the dancers who have been filling my DMs, you may also be wondering — when will I see my strength training results?
If you’re taking the time to implement a new strength training or stretching program, you may be wondering how long you need to put in the effort to see the results you want.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a one size fits all type of answer. Results vary depending on the type you’re looking for.
For example, you’re probably looking to:
- Increase flexibility
- Improve a specific skill
- Build muscle
- Increase overall strength
Results for each of these goals has slightly different timeframes and factors when it comes to expecting results.
But there is good news!
If your goal is to feel more in control of your skills, when you include strength training in your warm-ups, you can start to see results almost immediately.
When you include skill-specific strength training in your warm-ups, your body gets a feel for which muscles to engage when you dance. You learn which muscles you actually need to execute each skill. You immediately feel more in control of your movements and firmly hold your body in the correct position.
Engage your upper back, glutes, and core during your warm-up. Suddenly, you’ll notice your turns feel more in control.
Have goals around jump height and turnout? Strengthen your rotators, glutes, and core in your warm-up to immediately improve your skills.
It’s incredible how much you can improve after one strength training session.
Consistency Is Key
For long-term success in improving your skills — consistency is most important.
If you can incorporate strength training outside of classes three days a week, that’s ideal. But if three days a week isn’t doable for you and your schedule, it’s beneficial to incorporate strength training in your warm-up. Odds are, you have a few practices each week, if not more. Warm-ups are an easy way to add strength training for long-term results.
Remember, consistency looks different for each dancer. If you can strength train one day a week and are consistent, you’ll see better results than if you train every other week on random days. Whatever training schedule is realistic for you will work best.
To get started, pick one day a week when you can train to find consistency and see improvements.
Long-Term Strength Training Results
Immediately after your warm-up with strength training, you’ll see improvement and feel more in control of your body. Still, you can’t rely on only the work you did in your last practice.
Let’s say you spent 30 minutes at your last practice working on your turns. Now they look cleaner and sharper, and you’re nailing the landing. But you need to consistently revisit those muscle groups to avoid ending up back at square one.
That would be like going to the gym once and then saying you’re in the best shape of your life. That’s just not possible. It takes a consistent training program over time to get the results you want — and then maintain them.
I highly recommend incorporating strength training into the beginning of your practices and your warm-ups. That’s how you start to change how your muscles react when you prep for a turn or hit your plie before exploding off the floor. The goal is to change your muscle memory instead of making the same shapes you’ve been making.
Then, your body will hit your skills using the correct muscles without you having to think about it.
How Long Does It Take To Increase Flexibility and Build Muscle?
If you have goals around flexibility, I tell dancers to expect three to six weeks before they fully achieve their flexibility goals. Again, that comes with consistency. If you’re stretching more often than someone else, you may get those results faster.
Same thing with building muscle. If you’re trying to put on muscle and build your strength, four to six weeks is a reasonable amount of time before you see and feel muscle growth.
Tips for Solid Results
Remember the crucial step of eating protein. This helps your body build a foundation for your muscles so your body can repair and maintain muscles after a training session.
Make sure you drink enough water for a safer journey to flexibility. If you don’t drink enough water, your body can become stiff, leading to possible injury. Water helps promote healthy connective tissue for more elastic ligaments and easier stretching.
Reminder: Strength training will not give you big, bulky muscles. It simply makes you stronger so you can jump higher, turn cleaner, and keep your legs straight to wow the judges.
Results = Consistency
I know this may not be the answer you want to hear, but results vary. Give yourself at least a month to see significant changes in your flexibility and muscle growth.
Know that consistency is most important. Consistency is relative to you. Do what you can and do it regularly to see results. The more often you practice strength training, the quicker you may see results.
Feeling stronger and more in control of your skills can happen way sooner than you think. But don’t rely only on that quick boost of engagement in your muscles to feel like you’ve nailed everything.
You have to keep building new muscle patterns and new muscle movements to maintain and grow as a dancer.
It’s a continuous work in progress, but I promise the transformation is well worth all the effort.
Not sure what to do for your strength training plan?
Try Dancer-Fittness for $1 to get a training plan tailored to your specific goals!