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Get a Corp Worthy Core

core for dancers

As dancers we need a strong core to hold our developés, nail those triple pirouettes, and leap across the stage with ease. The plank is one of the most popular core exercises and is no exception in the dance community. At a certain point the plank can get easy, (unless of course you are holding it for minutes at a time) so why not target the core muscles in a more challenging way – by taking the plank to the next level!

There are two variations of the plank that we are going to try today. Both exercises will utilize a stability ball. As always, use your best judgement with the approval of a physician before performing any type of strength training activity.

The first exercise (shown below) is a great “next step” for those of you getting bored with the usual plank. Rest the feet and ankles on the stability ball while holding a push-up position with the arms. Hold this position as long as you can without breaking form. Be sure that the glutes are not too high in the air – you want to aim for a straight line from the shoulders all the way down to the feet.

©Ballet Strength plank exercise

The second exercise is just the opposite of the last (shown below). You are going to start on your knees to position your arms correctly on the ball. Push up to balance on your feet and elbows. Be careful not to let the upper body collapse onto the ball – stay held on the shoulders. Again, you want an imaginary line running from the shoulders to the hips, all the way to the ankles.

©Ballet Strength plank on ball

Give these exercises a try as a warm-up before ballet class or as part of your cross training routine to become a stronger, well rounded dancer. I also have a program dedicated to core conditioning for dancers that you can check out HERE. Keep posted for more Ballet Strength exercises and tips!

 

 

 

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Ballet Strength Perfects Pirouettes

It’s no secret that between running my successful San Diego personal training business, answering your ballet strength questions, and writing/ filming new material for dancers that I don’t get a whole lot of time to go to a studio to take ballet class. This is why I have a ballet barre and marley floor at home. I can give myself class in between clients.

Yesterday I decided to try some pirouettes after having quite a bit of time off from dancing on pointe. On my second attempt I did a quadruple…

Sorry I didn’t finish in fifth position. 🙂

Ballet Core Strength

In ballet, your core is one of the most important areas of movement and function while performing key ballet exercises. The core originates the majority of the full body movements that you perform. The core is also what determines your posture as it plays a large role in aligning your ribs, spine, and pelvis.

As a dancer this means a strong core is essential from standing in basic positions all the way to balancing and even turning! At a young age we develop muscle memory to keep the “ribs in” as you have heard from your ballet teachers many times. Holding those “ribs in” is just a start to learning core strength at a young age.

Contrary to what you may think, your core is actually more than just the abdominal muscles. The core consists of these major muscle groups including a few key back muscles;

Transverse Abdominis
External and Internal Obliques
Rectus Abdominis
Erector Spinae

There are simple exercises that you can do year round to help strengthen, tone, and firm your core for peak performance. You may even find that you will break some of the bad habits developed in ballet class after finding your core strength.
For Example; Many back injuries are caused by a weak core. If we work on strengthening the abdominal muscles and sides, we can take some of the stress off the back. All ballet movements will feel much easier and freer once you strengthen your core.

I have put together a comprehensive eBook with over 30 pages of core conditioning exercises for dancers. You can buy it now at www.balletstrength.com.