• Dominique

Strength Training for Dancers

Updated: Sep 1, 2021

Hi friends!

Who loves watching a strong dancer perform? The movement is confident, powerful, and each step has assurance. When watching a strong dancer, you can relax and enjoy the fullness of the performance. Alternatively, when you see a weak dancer performing with some hesitation and wobbles, you get nervous for them and it’s much harder to enjoy the performance.

We all want to be the first dancer, but how do we get there?

You are already training really hard in the studio, so how do you build strength as a dancer so that you don't get shaky, especially when nervous?

Here are 3 tips to start strength training:

1. Understand what it is (and what it isn’t)

Dance workout taken at Carriageworks Sydney by Artisan Athletes

Strength training is not about building muscle mass, instead it is about strengthening what you already have. It does not have to limit your mobility, instead it can stabilize your movement. Strength training doesn’t have to be done in a gym but it can easily be incorporated into your routine via home workouts. It isn’t just about lifting weights, it’s about having a solid foundation of strength throughout your body so that all your movement can be executed with power.

2. Start where you are

Now that we have a bit of an understanding of what strength training is, how do we get started? Don’t overcomplicate it, start with the resources you have. If you don’t have a gym membership, start training at home. This can look like 3 workouts per week 20-30 mins in length.

As we touched on earlier, strength training doesn’t require weights. Start with bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges, push-ups, dips and squat jumps. Need a workout plan? Put these 5 exercises into a circuit and do each one of 30 secs. After completing the circuit, rest for 1 minute then repeat it for 4 rounds.

3. Maintain your progress

Once you have been training for a few weeks the same workouts will start to get easier. This is because your muscles repair after each workout and your body adapts to the “stress” (training) you are putting it through. You want to maintain a progressive overload which basically means making sure your workouts constantly increase in difficulty. This can look at adding more reps or rounds, increasing the amount of weight, decreasing the amount of rest you take between sets and introducing new exercises.

Dancers mostly prefer to tone rather than build muscle. When increasing weight, make sure you can still complete a good number of reps. In my own workouts I aim for 12-15 reps. This rep range focuses more on toning & less on building muscle.

Dance photo taken at Carriageworks Gallery, Sydney by Artisan Athletes.

I hope these 3 tips have helped you prepare for an incredible training step as a dancer. If you are looking for a community to join as you begin strength training give us a follow on instagram @artisanathletes.

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