Blog Archives

Ballet Warm-Up Exercise

Pennsylvania Ballet principal dancer Arantxa Ochoa warming up by Alexander Iziliaev

Pennsylvania Ballet principal dancer Arantxa Ochoa warming up by Alexander Iziliaev

Today I want to share with you one of my favorite go-to warm up exercises to do before ballet class. I like to call this exercise the “roll up.” We have spoken before about the importance of warming up versus stretching and this exercise in combination with others will do just the trick to get you feeling loose, opened up, and ready to start class!

The Roll Up – The roll up is a beginners Pilates move created to target the core but it can do much more when added to your daily ballet warm up routine. Not only does it activate the core but it also stretches the spine. A lot of dancers will do this exercise right after getting out of bed in the morning to work the kinks out and get the body moving slowly. You can even articulate the feet while doing this exercise (if you’re not wearing sneakers like I am in this video ;).

Give it a try as part of your warm-up routine before ballet class this week and feel what a difference it makes! I suggest 10-15 roll-ups at a time and don’t rush through it – go nice and slow focusing on rolling through the spine. Your body will thank you for it!

 

 

Abdominal Conditioning for Dancers

Today I gave myself barre at my home just for fun to test out a few of the theories I’ve been working on for my next book. I wanted to focus on something technical that only a Professional Dancer with a Certification as a Personal Trainer would know. Something that your Dance teachers don’t know. (they don’t know everything, trust me)

Now I haven’t been taking class consistently by any means, but would still consider myself to be in good dancing shape. I noticed that my balance was very strong whether in passe, arabesque, attitude or the basic positions. I suddenly realized the correlation between my solid balance and my abdominal strength. See, I’ve been working very hard on my abdominal strength lately for my fitness TV appearances.

Abdominal strength is more than just Pilates. Dance teachers always try to push Pilates on students to improve their “core” strength. While Pilates is great, it’s not the solution to the problem. Abdominal strength through strength training is!

NKleincrunch

This exercise incorporates an element of instability

Take the oblique abdominal crunch bringing the knee to elbow on a physio-ball for example. (pictured above) This exercise engages the hip flexors in addition to the oblique abdominals in an active position. This exercise requires extreme core strength.

I could go on to tell you why this exercise will benefit you more than Pilates for example, but I’ll save that for the book! There are hundreds of exercises that you can do through strength training that will leave you feeling strong and energized as opposed to tired and lazy like Pilates can sometimes do.

Most of the exercises I have my Dancer clients do are standing up. Since you dance standing up, doesn’t make much more sense to strengthen you core muscles standing up rather than lying down like Pilates?

By the way, I don’t want you to think I’m knocking Pilates. In fact, I have a Pilates Mat Certification so I’ve been there, done that. Pilates is a wonderful way for injured dancers to stay limber while in a resting state. But eventually they have to translate all of that knowledge to standing.

Stay tuned for more information. In the meantime, you can purchase my Ballet Strength book that contains exercises just like the ones described above! Find out more HERE.

Happy Dancing,

Nikol Klein, Professional Ballet Dancer/ Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist