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Deadlifts for Dancers

DEADLIFTSFORDANCERS

If you had a chance to watch any of the World Dance Day video, you saw that in addition to showing live ballet classes and rehearsals, they also showed what the dancers do to stay in shape outside of the studio. At Ballet Strength, we love that they chose to reveal dancers behind the scenes in the gym strength training. My favorite clip they showed was of National Ballet of Canada dancer, Chelsy Meiss. Pictured below is Chelsy performing an exercise called the “deadlift” from the World Dance Day broadcast. Today I am going to share with you how to do this exercise correctly so that you can maximize your Ballet Strength just like Chelsy!

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Dancer Chelsy Meiss performing deadlifts

At Ballet Strength all of our programs and DVD workouts incorporate Romanian deadlifts. Romanian deadlifts are a great way to strengthen your hamstrings and spinal erectors, the long muscles that run up and down the sides of your lower back. Our goal in using this exercise during cross training is to strengthen the core and glute/ham tie in to help take the brunt of the stress from dancing off of the ankles – helping to stay injury free. Strength and power in the upper legs will also help with jumps, balance, and turns.

Ballet Strength Deadlifts

How to do it: A.) Start with the feet hip width apart, holding a light bar or two dumbbells. Knees should be slightly bent with the weight in the heels. B.) Bend forward from the torso, sliding the bar or weights to mid-shin (do not go all the way to the floor!). Be careful that you do not bend the knees additionally and keep the weight in the heels. Do not round the back. C.) It is a good idea to even lift the toes off the ground to ensure that you form is proper with the weight in the heels. Perform 3 sets of 12 repetitions.

Any good ballet cross training program will include deadlifts such as our Sensationally Strong Jumps Program or the Power Pirouettes DVD. The dancers whom I work with in companies such as San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and Boston Ballet all do this exercise too! Give it a try and take your Ballet Strength to a new level.

 

 

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Introducing Beginning Ballet Strength©

I am pleased to finally announce the release of my new program, Beginning Ballet Strength©. Now you can have all of the advantages of top professional ballet dancers and be in peak condition year round!

Beginning Ballet Strength is a strength training program geared towards helping you become the best, strongest dancer possible. In this digital eBook, you will be coached step by step through strength training exercises specifically designed by a dancer, for a dancer. Each exercise is illustrated and described to make sure your form is correct.

Benefits of Beginning Ballet Strength include:

★ Improved Balance
★ Injury Prevention
★ Stronger Jumps
★ Improved Stamina
★ Partnering Strength
★ Increased Confidence
★ Heightened Jumps
★ Better Turns
★ Tighter Core
★ Stronger/ Slimmer Appearance
★ Increased Range of Motion
★ and much, much more!
Any young dancer who is thinking about becoming a professional or any professional dancer new to strength training must read this book!
Be sure to check it out at www.balletstrength.com.
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The reproduction or use of any content found on this website is strictly prohibited by law.

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!

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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

5 Healthy Tips for Dancers

You may not realize this, but Ballet Dancers have some of the most unhealthy dietary and lifestyle habits. These bad habits effect dancers from daily class all the way to auditions. We’ve all read the famous Ballerina’s books like Gelsey Kirkland’s Dancing on my Grave and hopefully have learned a lot from their mistakes.

What can you do to improve your health so that you can reach peak performance? Follow a few of these simple guidelines to boost your energy in everyday class all the way to performance time.

1.) Don’t skip out on Breakfast– After 8 or more hours of fasting overnight, your body desperately needs food fuel in the morning. Make sure you are eating a balanced breakfast before heading out to class in the morning.

2.) Stay Hydrated– I cannot stress this enough. If you are not drinking water or an electrolyte enriched beverage before and during class, your strength will suffer.

3.) Eat– The skinny, emaciated look is so 1970. Artistic Directors are looking for strong bodies these days.

4.) Soak and Stroke– A hot bath at the end of a long day of rehearsing is just what your body needs to relax and prepare for tomorrow.

5.) Take a day off– Sometimes you need a mental day of rest. On your days off, participate in functions or activites that do not involve dancing. You will feel a lot fresher when the work week begins again.

I hope you have enjoyed these 5 healthy tips for Ballet Dancers! If you’re feeling a little low on energy, chances are you are missing one of the above components.

Happy Dancing!

Nikol Klein, Professional Ballet Dancer, Author of The Ballet Audition Preparation Guide

The Ballet Audition Preparation Guide

Are you ready to get an edge on the competition?

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Now you can with The Ballet Audition Preparation Guide! Learn the secrets that Professional Dancers use and get in to the Summer School or Company of your dreams.

As a Professional Ballet Dancer, I know that preparing for a dance audition can be a stressful task. I remember going to auditions nervous and uncertain as a young girl. I remember sizing up the competition based on silly things like what they looked like or what leotard they were wearing.

What I didn’t know was that focusing on what other people looked like and comparing myself to them wasn’t helping. It was actually setting me up for failure.

I’m sure you have done this before…compare yourself to someone else.

Through simple goal setting and confidence boosting exercises, you can rise above the competition and focus on what truly matters. Yourself.

When I was a young girl, there were no resources for Dancers who needed advice about auditioning. This is why I have put together a wonderful manual called The Ballet Audition Preparation Guide to help you through a smooth audition process.

Whether you are trying out for a Summer Dance program, a new school, or a Professional Company, these tips will help you feel confident in the audition! All types of dancers can benefit from audition preparation from Ballet all the way to Jazz, Modern and Theatre.

You can trust these tips and secrets because they have been working for successful dancers for years!

So go to balletaudition.com and download your copy of The Ballet Audition Preparation Guide to start getting noticed in auditions!