n the world of fitness most core exercises are created equal. However, you as a dancer are a special type of athlete, which means your fitness needs should be carefully crafted for your goals of strength, fluidity, endurance, power, and grace.
In this post, we will give you the 3 best and worst core exercises for dancers, so get ready for better turns, better balance. and better extensions.
Core exercises are simple, effective and something you can be doing at home, at the studio or before your perform. It’s important that you perform these exercises safely and choose a variety that will help you:
- Strengthen your entire core (front and back of the torso).
- Help you pull your belly button up and in.
- Allow you to hold your core while also breathing, keeping the rib cage tucked and supporting the arms and legs.
Whew. Those abs are busy.
Exercises to Avoid
- Crunching / Rolling: Think traditional crunches, reverse crunches or curl-ups. These cause the abdominal muscles to build themselves outward and strains the neck. The opposite of zipping your belly in toward the spine.
- Twisting: Russian twists and bicycle crunches put a lot of pressure on the middle of the abs and you will probably end up using your quads and hips instead, which can lead to tight hip flexors and pain in the low back.
- Ab Machines: Head into any gym and you'll see ab machines designed to crunch and twist your body further than it's meant to move. There are too many variables to get wrong when using an ab machine-like weight, reps and form, so keep it safe and keep your core work on the ground.
Exercises To Strengthen Your Core
Scoop Your Abs
This exercise keeps your low back glued to the floor, rib cage down and belly zipped up which gives you the " ab scoop" we're always aiming for. To make it more difficult, extend on the leg at a time. ONLY if you can keep your low back down, can you move on to extending both legs at a time? Do 10 repetitions 3 times through.
Planking is one of the best exercises for dancers because it works almost every muscle in the body. Remember to keep your belly pulled in by tucking your hips under. To make it challenging, alternate going from elbows to hands OR extending one arm or one leg. Hold for 30 - 60 seconds 3 times through.
We can't talk about the front of the core without the back! Cobra pose is a fantastic way to activate the muscles in the low back which can help you keep your hips tucked, belly pulled in and glutes activated. Hold at the top for 3 counts before repeating 10 times.