Whether you're a professional dancer, a dance enthusiast taking a few lessons to improve your technique, or you simply use it as a fun exercise to stay in shape, your overall fitness is vital for enhancing performance and preventing injuries.
There are multiple components to physical fitness expected from a dancer, such as muscle strength and flexibility, and it is necessary for dancers to stay fit through exercise. While flexibility helps to increase their range of motion that enables a dancer to achieve the aesthetic of dance, their muscle strength allows them to move with speed and force.
Depending on the type of dance you engage in, you may require different exercises that can strengthen the specific muscle groups in use. We have listed 5 dance exercises you can incorporate into your routine to improve your overall fitness for dancing.
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5 Easy Exercises for Dancers to Stay Fit
To ensure dancers are adequately trained to provide longevity for their performance and promote their health, it requires a balanced training approach that combines muscular strength training and flexibility training.
Listed below are some of the ideal exercises to improve dancing:
Whether you're into hip hop, ballroom, jive or contemporary, strong legs are a requirement for all types of dancers. Squats are one of the strength exercises for dancers as they help improve overall leg strength by targeting your glutes, medius, quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors and calves.
Squats promote better balance, enabling dancers to jump high and land safely on their feet. And in addition to strengthening your leg and thigh muscles, squats are also helpful in building up your back muscles.
Dancers may engage in bodyweight squats or add some weights to make it more challenging.
Stamina is the lifeblood of a dancer. Your stamina determines how long you can perform and how powerful your moves can be. The more stamina you possess, the more effortless and graceful you can be on the dance floor.
In order to build up your stamina and to prevent yourself from feeling breathless at the end of a performance, you must engage in cardio. Cardio training allows you to improve your cardiovascular system's function, which in turn helps you move and perform with ease.
To improve your cardio, engage in running, swimming or even incorporate a jump rope session for 30 minutes a day.
Dance requires flexibility. And in order to stretch out your muscles without sustaining injuries, they need to be conditioned. A good stretching session is vital to improve flexibility and strengthening. Incorporate a 30-minute session of stretching daily in order to allow your muscles to expand, helping you to twist and contort your body according to the requirements of your dance choreography.
Alternatively, you can engage in a Pilates and yoga session too. These are some helpful exercises to improve your muscle strength and endurance, and they also promote joint mobility and flexibility.
Push-ups are some of the best all-rounded exercises to improve dancing. They help target chest, arms, core, back and upper body strength and are very useful in correcting bad posture. Dancers require great posture in order to deliver graceful movements as needed in ballet as well as other forms of dance. Daily push-ups are instrumental in helping even the most elite dancers achieve great posture.
Core strength is everything to a dancer as it is through your core that you power your limbs for movement. Crunches and sit-ups are the best workouts for your core muscles as they can help with strengthening your hips, abs and arms, thereby enhancing your overall performance.
Find out more about strength exercises for dancers here.
Tips for Muscle Recovery for Dancers
In order to boost your dance performance and prolong your career whilst avoiding injuries, you should incorporate some of these recovery measures after you wrap up your regular dance routine:
- Ice it up
Use ice packs to reduce swelling in your legs after the session. Especially if your legs hurt after dancing, icing helps your legs to warm down faster and eases any pain that's experienced.
- Draw a warm bath
If your legs hurt after dancing, relax and unwind by soaking your sore muscles in a warm bath. Add in some Epsom salt to encourage muscle relaxation and promote blood circulation. This is a useful technique to achieve muscle recovery for dancers.
- Elevate your legs
Sore legs from dancing are unavoidable due to the strain on the leg muscles. Elevating legs for recovery by propping them up on a stool or a cushion when you're done with your dance routine will help relieve the built-up tension in your muscles.
- Use a compression tool
If your legs hurt after dancing, compression wraps like SPRYNG offer one of the fastest means for recovery from dance. These pneumatic compression devices are designed to promote oxygenation in your leg muscles and provide relief from leg pain with just 15 minutes of use.