20 Minute Conditioning for a Dance Team Athlete

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20 Minute Conditioning for a Dance Team Athlete

– UDA Molly

When people think of dance teams, oftentimes strength and conditioning is not the first thing that will come to mind. Most dance team athletes understand though the importance of having a strong and conditioned body to be able to endure and compete at high levels. Today we are going to be going through a quick 20-minute conditioning session just to introduce some exercises you can be doing on your own outside of practice or during your off-season to stay strong and competition-ready all year round.

 

Warm-Up

To start we are going to be performing a dynamic warm-up. It is so important to prepare your body for the stress you are about to put it through. Even though as dancers it is necessary to stretch your body before practice, it is also equally as important to get your body warm and ready by moving around. This type of warm-up will be progressive exercises across the floor or even a light jog to get you going. Some examples could be high knees for 30 sec., butt kicks for 30 sec., inchworms down the room and back, and like previously stated even a light jog. You can really make this portion of the session your own. If you plan on heavily conditioning your arms that day, focus on your upper body. If you really want to work on your quads and hamstrings, maybe do a more lower-body focused warm-up. Due to our time constraint of 20 minutes, we are going to keep this section at just around 4-5 minutes.

 

As an example, in this session we are going to be doing:

  • Light jog for 2 minutes
  • Inch-worms down and back whatever room you are working in
  • 30 seconds of high knees

 

Strength

Since not everyone has the option to use the gym equipment at their school all the time this will be solely strength exercises you can do with items at home or even your body weight. Strength is such an important thing to work on and often gets a bad rep. When someone says they are working on strength some people assume this will cause them to get bulky and have too much musculature. It is actually the opposite. With the proper form and exercises, strength is, in my opinion, the most important part of a workout session. Building our strength will help as all grow as athletes and teammates. It is crazy what your body is able to do, push your limits. Some exercises you can include in this portion include; variations of pushups, core strength (abs, obliques, lower back), various squats, bicep curls, tricep dips, etc. All of these exercises are things that can be done with or without weights. If you do not have a set of weights at home, grab a big water jug, grab some soup cans, get creative on different items you have in your own room that you can utilize. The sets & reps of each exercise are also important to keep in mind. When using lighter weights it is important to think about increasing the amount of times you’re are going to do that exercise, just so you can really see improvements.

 

Our sample session is going to include just a few exercises: This should take about 8 minutes

  • Squats—3 sets of 5 reps
    • Feet hip width apart, toes slightly turned out
  • Close-Elbow Pushups – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Russian Twists – 2 sets of 10 reps
    • Use a soup can or water jug for added weight
  • Tricep Dips — 2 sets of 6
    • Use the stair our side your house, the edge of your bed, or even the back of a car

 

Plyometrics

This next portion is not something that is commonly talked about. The goal of plyometric exercises is to prepare the body for explosive movements off the ground and to work on better landing form/technique. Dancers need plyometrics in their conditioning sessions. By constantly doing beautiful leaps and jumps off the ground, an explosive nature is needed. Not only that but a lot of injuries can occur from landing a jump or leap wrong. These exercises help stabilize commonly injured areas. Some examples of plyometrics that you can integrate into your training include; box jumps (or stair jumps), running stairs, jumping rope, jump squats, and anything else that requires jumps or hops.

 

Our sample session exercises: This will be quick explosive movements so we are going to have it take about 4 minutes

  • Box jumps—2 sets of 5 reps
  • Jumping rope – 30 seconds
  • Jump squats – 2 sets of 3
  • Jumping rope – 30 seconds

 

Stretching

After a tiresome work out it is so important to stretch. Stretching will not only improve your range of motion but also help lessen or prevent any intense muscle soreness the next day. The goal of stretching is to serve as a cool down for your body and really thank it for all the work it did for you that day. Focus on stretching areas that were heavily worked and strained. Each stretch can be held as your see fit, I usually stick with about 30 seconds and repeat as needed.

 

Our sample session stretches include:

  • Straddle stretch
    • Right, middle, and left
  • Lunge holds
    • Right and left
  • Cobra position
    • Really extending through the core
  • Arms linked behind back, stretching upper body downwards and letting the arms hang forward

 

 

I really hope you enjoyed this article and take the time to push your body to its full potential today. As dancers, we have to perform beautifully but still be strong. Never be afraid to better your body. Let’s Dance!

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