Do you devote a lot of time to perfecting your dance?
Regardless of your dance form, be it ballet, belly dance, hip hop or hula dance, you requires grace, artistry and strength. In our usual dance classes, most of us are tasked to work on our techniques, muscular endurance and choreography.
Strength is often a forgotten part of the equation.
Yet, strength is the base which gives us the poise and mastery. In order to increase muscular strength, we have to slightly overload our muscles, either with our body weight or external resistance, like weights or resistance bands.
The gym is like a playground to some. But for most people, it is a maze.
In order to facilitate your strengthening journey for your dance career, I have listed some major muscles groups that you can start to work on to improve your dance.
Upper back: Rhomboids muscles
Starting from the top, you want to be familiar with the rhomboids muscles. Rhomboids muscles are rhomboid-shaped muscles that are attached to your shoulder blade and spine. Weak rhomboids muscles coupled with other muscular imbalance are usually the cause of the rounded upper back and forward head syndrome.
A rounded posture on stage usually conveys a lack of confidence and it also disrupts the energetic line of a dancer. Working on the rhomboids will aid in improving your posture and convey more confidence.
Exercises: Shoulder blade squeeze. Incline pull up. All forms of rows that emphasize on squeezing of the shoulder blades.
Core: Abdominals muscles (abs) and oblique muscles
Abs and oblique are probably two of the most common muscles that people know. Weak abs give us a pot belly look. A weak core (basically the whole of your torso) might result in an inability to stabilize when dancing.
If you are not stable when you are spinning or making sudden directional change, you have weak core muscles and hence, lack the ability to brace your core effectively. This will in turn leads to poor isolation or movement techniques.
Exercise: Plank. Variations of plank. Squats. Deadlifts. Any form of exercises that require us to brace and stabilize our core.
Core: Gluteal muscles
Gluteal muscles are a group of muscles that makes up your buttocks and core. Weak gluteal muscles can cause a saggy looking butt and a flat lower back. As mention above, a weak core might result in an ability to stabilize. Depending on your dance form, your dance, think belly dance and samba, might require you to move your butt constantly. You will definitely need strength and muscular endurance to be able to achieve that.
If you cannot execute your hips movements quickly, you have weak gluteal muscles. Working on the gluteal muscles will enable you to make stronger and faster movements.
Exercises: Walking on the incline, uphill. Donkey kicks. Bridge. Squats. Lunges.
The legs are the most used part of a dancer repertoire. From moving, to leaping, to spinning to falling, all these require the legs to do the work. The thighs, both the front, the quadriceps, and the back, the hamstring, play important roles in executing all these movements.
If you have trouble coming up from a squatting position, you have weak quadriceps and glutes. However, in dancers, an overactive quadriceps, might cause lengthened hamstring. An overactive quadriceps and over flexible hamstring will cause muscular imbalance. And as we have seen above, muscular imbalance or weak muscles is not optimal for our body functioning. Thus, dancers have to work more on strengthening their hamstring as well.
Exercise: Sprint. Squat. Split squat. Hamstring curl.
Still confused? Check out our body conditioning class for dancers. Trial class will be happening on 15 May 2016.