Why do dancers need exercises for core strength?
As dancers, we need to have strong cores. One of the reasons we need to keep our core strength is to protect our spines. Having strong core muscles enables dancers to do more with their bodies, with less chance of injury. Here in this post, I am going to discuss some of the best exercises for core strength.
There are basically four muscle groups that support your stomach, – upper abs, lower abs, external and internal obliques, which turn the trunk and provide the body with rotation and lateral movement.
The exercises for core strength below are based on Pilates, which is a well-known method for dancers to use to strengthen their bodies without bulking up.
Exercises For Core Strength
These are some of the best and most effective abs and core exercises for strengthening and firming your abdominal muscles in as little as three months.
Lie flat on your back with your knees together bent and your feet flat on the floor. Press your lower back into the floor and place your hands flat at your sides – we will refer to this as starting position.
From the starting position, place hands under your hips, palm side down. Keep your knees bent and your legs together and while bracing your abdominal muscles, bring your legs up until they are at right angles to your body. Use your abs to pull your knees towards your chest. Hold the position for two seconds and then repeat.
From starting position, keep your knees bent and your legs together. Bracing your abs, slowly pull your knees towards your chest. Unfold your legs gradually and point them straight towards the ceiling. Then keeping your legs and feet pressed together, rotate your legs slowly in very small circles in each direction. Bend knees again before lowering your legs.
From the starting position, place your hands behind your head and tuck your chin into your chest. Keep pressing your lower back into the floor and keep your abs braced while raising your head and shoulders as high as you can off the floor. Hold this position for one second and return slowly to starting position. Don’t lift too high, or your spine will become engaged, and your abs will not do the work. You could also strain your back. Keep movements slow and breathe. Once you are stronger you can do this from a neutral position where the lower back is lifted slightly off of the floor.
From the starting position, bring your knees towards your chest keeping your knees bent and your legs in the air. Thighs must be vertical and lower legs horizontal. Hands behind your head, tucking your chin into your chest, breathe out slowly, and raise your head and shoulders off the floor. Hold momentarily then lower your head and shoulders breathing in. Hold legs in the same position throughout.
From the starting position, brace your abs and your buttocks. Place hands behind your head and tuck your chin into your chest. Breathe out slowly while slowly raising your left shoulder and your left hip off the floor. Hold the position for one second and return to starting position breathing in. Repeat on the other side.
Most importantly, don’t forget to do the plank. This is an exercise that should be held for as long as you can with the core muscles engaged for maximum effect. Don’t let the spine collapse or arch. The line should be straight from the top of the head to the back of the heels.
Beginner’s routine: Ex 1 – 5 reps; Ex 3 – 5 reps; Ex 4 – 5 reps
When this becomes easy, move to 10 reps, then to 15 reps before going on to the intermediate routine.
Intermediate routine: All exercises – 20 reps. When comfortable with 25 reps in all exercises, move onto the advanced routine.
Advanced routine: All exercises – 30 reps.
Always warm-up and cool down before and after your routine.
With these few, well-chosen exercises your dream of a flat belly will not be far away.
Skip the starches at night and watch your waistline shrink! Drink between 6 and 8 glasses a day for terrific results.
As a result of eating smaller, your metabolism will be in a position to burn the calories faster.
To read more about plank exercises for core strength, click here.