Cross Training For Ballet Dancers

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Every year, WWU has an annual drag show which benefits Evergreen AIDS Foundation and Sean Hunphrey House in Bellingham. These dancers – all students – were the closing act. They really did a fantastic job! Great dancing and well-executed choreography. They really were delighful . . . and the boys were loved by the audience!

This number was all about S & M, and one’s appreciation of it. The audience went wild when they performed this number!

As Summer approaches, many dancers will embrace a much needed three or four month layoff. Some will vacation, some will continue to obsessively take class day after day. The smart Dancer Cross Trains. To continue Dancing with the intensity you had during the Season is like beating a dead horse. Our bodies need time off in order to make important gains and improvements. Yes, you can actually improve by taking some time off!

Here is the Cross Training Plan that I recommend;

Right after the Performance Season is over, take at least 2 weeks off! Upon returning to class, this will give you a clear signal as to what “pains” are actual injuries and which were just symptoms of overuse. During that first class back (typically after a 2 to 6 week break) take note of certain areas and muscle groups in the body that feel weak. If you feel that you have a serious injury this is a great time to see a Doctor, get an MRI, and get it fixed in time for the season to start.

After taking note of those weak areas, consult a Personal Trainer for Dancers such as myself for Dance Specific exercises that you can do in the gym. On Ballet Dancers, for example, the “turn-in” or legs in a parallel stance is usually weak. I would then recommend some basic strength training techniques involving one-leg squats and exercises on the Bosu. Dancers also tend to favor one side of the body. This is a great time to strengthen your weak side!

As far as taking class goes, I recommend no more than 3 days per week during your time off. The other 2 days should be dedicated to your Cross Training!

Feeling out of breath during that variation? Don’t forget about cardio. What better time than Summer to go for a run, hike, or bike ride in your favorite park. You may be surprised at how much better you feel and how much more you are able to do pain free!

How do I Cross Train? To ensure that my trouble areas stay injury free, I take class only twice per week during the off season and weight train twice per week. I also focus on keeping my core strong with lots of unique abdominal exercises. For Cardio, I do chasse’s on the treadmill, front and side!

In addition to being a Personal Trainer in San Diego, Nikol is also an accomplished Professional Ballet Dancer. She has created a strength training workout for dancers.

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