Whether or not you consider dance to be a sport, it's fair to say a considerable level of athleticism is required. From star ballet principals to impressive young talent on competitive dance shows, it's evident that today's dancers are reaching new physical heights.
And the reality? It takes a lot more than just dance classes to jump high, perfect ten pirouettes, or maintain endurance for an entire performance, and this is where cross-training enters the picture. If you’re ready to enhance your dancing and stay ahead of the curve, consider incorporating these fun fitness activities into your routine stat.
You'd be forgiven for thinking: 'why take a barre fitness class when I already take regular ballet classes?' but the answer is simple: it’s not the same thing. Other than the actual ballet barre, a barre fitness class is totally different to traditional ballet. Instead of improving on flexibility or extension, a barre workout will fine tune and strengthen almost every muscle group, which is a must for ballet dancers.
Ballet concepts like pliés, turnout and port de bras are incorporated into the exercises using light weights, resistance bands, and isolation exercises, so when you go back to dance class, you’ll feel stronger and more centred. Plus, no leotards or tights are required for this class, just regular workout wear — pair a crop top with high waist leggings and prepare to feel the burn!
Yoga and pilates
Not only does yoga offer a workout that centres the mind and body, but regular practice can enhance your extension and upper body strength too — a commonly neglected area for many dancers. Hot styles of yoga such as Bikram or Vinyasa that are practised in a heated room, will also challenge your flexibility.
BLOCH’s stylish and versatile range of dance shorts are perfect for the heat and will provide unrestricted mobility. Pilates is another effective supplemental workout to compliment your training. From the staple 'Hundreds' exercise to strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, this workout will make you realise how strong your body truly is.
Low impact cardio
In general, a dance class is anaerobic — there’s a lot of stop and start action — so incorporating regular cardiovascular workouts to build stamina (and lung capacity) is invaluable for a dancer. Although an admirable feat, this doesn’t mean you need to start running marathons to notice results, shorter jogs or a fun Zumba class are equally effective examples.
The most common forms of safe, low-impact cardio workouts for dancers are swimming, cycling and circuit training. After completing 20-30 minutes of a continuous workout once a week, you’ll find you'll be less winded and jumping higher in dance class — and what could be better than that, right?
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