Tone Your Body with Dance Inspired Workouts
From Dancing with the Stars to America’s Got Talent, we see athletic dancers everywhere! Many of us wonder about their workout routine. It’s obviously full of practice but are there any other tips or tricks to help you tone your body? What do dance-inspired workouts look like? We got some amazing experts to help us out!
Benefits of Dance Inspired Workouts
By Michele Sotak – Founder of Amplify Strength & Dance, Certified Strength Coach
Dancers are considered artists, but more importantly dancers are smart athletes.
A home dance workout is safe, effective, highly enjoyable, and slightly addictive. Dancing is safe because it’s easy on the joints and rarely results in injury. Dance is effective because it involves a variety of movements that conditions the body and creates a lean physique.
It utilizes all the muscle groups in a dynamic way resulting in a full-body workout.
Essentially, in dance, your body is your machine. Dance is a form of calisthenics, using your own body weight in order to achieve lean muscle tone and calorie burn.
Full-body movements require significant amounts of muscle strength, similar to lifting weights, but resulting in a leaner look because of less resistance applied.
Works the Entire Body!
Specific muscle groups worked vary upon the style of dance and choreography, aka dance moves. In general, the entire body is being worked in almost every form of dance. However, certain styles can place more emphasis on certain body parts. Cabaret dance involves upper body strength when weighted body bars are held up in front of the body or overhead.
Hip rolls work the core in a significant way, in hip-hop and salsa for example. The lower body is mainly used in every form of dance but can be overloaded while hopping and getting low on the floor.
The stamina and endurance required places dance high on the calorie expenditure scale, which results in melting extra fat to support a lean appearance.
Moreover, muscle groups are kept guessing and are less likely to stop responding to the exercise or hit a plateau because of the variety of movements.
Dance Inspired Workouts Bring It All Together
Dance also involves balance, coordination, agility, and most importantly – control. All of these things lead to building lean muscle. Control is the key here because dancers must maintain a good upright frame while dancing. Dance encourages proper posture and gives the illusion of a leaner, slimmer body.
People enjoy working out because it produces a sense of accomplishment and happiness. These feel-good qualities are due to the release of endorphins. Listening to our favorite music creates the same effect. Combining music and exercise is a great combination.
Most of us listen to music while exercising, no matter what form of exercise we engage in. Music pumps us up and helps us get through a tough session. Music is the key to dance.
Synchronizing the beats and developing rhythm into a physical act produces a high level of endorphins, making it a highly enjoyable hobby and a truly healthy addiction.
Be aware that you do not have to be a pro to look like the pros on Dancing with the Stars.
It will take a lot of time and practice, but beginners can definitely benefit from dance-inspired workouts.
With the proper nutrition, beginners can be on the way to building lean muscle. Dancers start with basic movements and in the process, they find their own style or “flair”.
The more advanced dancer can incorporate props, such as body bars, which add resistance and a higher level of strength training. We all want a lean body, might as well have some fun while achieving it!
Sounds like good reasons to give one of the many dance-inspired workouts a try!
Your Dance Inspired Workout Tips
By Jason Warley – Professional dance instructor, founder, and CEO of Man In Motion.
A dancer’s physique almost always can be spotted from miles away.
Though at first glance their physique may be similar to that of any gym enthusiast, it differs in its long and lean aesthetic.
While lean muscle mass is generally attributed to exercise and a healthy diet, there are some specific exercises that help dancers to achieve this lean aesthetic. Here are just a few simple dance tips and exercises that when combined can be a great start to one of your dance-inspired workouts.
These tips can help just about anyone achieves a leaner look.
Tip #1: Repetition Is Key
Not only do dancers train several days of the week, but they also perform exercises that are repetitive. In ballet, for example, a movement at the ballet barre can be repeated as many as 32 times on one side.
The act of balancing is also an important factor in this repetition. Most often, exercises at the ballet barre are performed on one leg.
While this gives the dancer the opportunity to work on balance, it also helps to tone their legs, tighten their glutes, and strengthen their abdominals. Check out Exercise #1 below.
Tip #2: Do Pilates for a Leaner Mid-section
Many dancers supplement their training with other body conditioning methods, such as Pilates and/or yoga. Pilates (or Mat Pilates) helps to improve flexibility, muscle tone, core strength, lower back health, and balance.
Though there are over 30 different Pilates exercises that can be performed on a mat, here is one suitable for beginners and a favorite of many dancers. Check out Exercise #2 below.
Tip #3: Take Things Up a Notch by Jumping
With a wide range of dance moves that take place in a stationary position or moving across the floor, dancers also have a gorgeous movement that happens in the air.
In dance (or in any exercise routine), jumping recruits all the muscles of your lower body. This includes your calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, etc. Jumping also has cardiovascular and calorie-burning benefits which aid in developing the dancer’s long, lean look. Check out Exercise #3 below.
As with any exercise program, make sure you are cleared by your physician before beginning.
Exercise #1 – Battement Piqué
- Place your left hand lightly on a ballet barre (or even the back of a chair). Your right hand can be placed on your right hip or extended to the side.
- Place your feet in the turned-out first position. Then extend your right leg/foot in front of you. (In ballet this is called tendu.)
- With all of your weight placed on your left leg, you will lift your right leg in front of you (about 45 degrees off the floor) in a repetitive beating motion. Each lift returns to the tendu position with your toe barely touching the floor. (In ballet, this beating motion is called battement piqué.)
- Beat eight times in front, eight times to the right side, eight times back, and eight times again to the right side (a total of 32 beats).
- Without rest, turn to face the opposite direction (placing your right hand on the barre or chair and your left hand on your left hip or extended to the side) and perform the same series.
- Rest for 15-30 seconds and repeat the series again on each side.
- Keeping your weight solely on your standing leg will help you with balance while tightening your abdominals, glutes, and adductor muscles (inner thigh muscles) will help you to strengthen and tone those areas.
Note: More advanced? Try the series without holding on to a barre with your arms extended to the sides.
Exercise #2 – Single Leg Stretch
- Lie on your back (lower back pressing into the floor) with your knees raised and shins parallel to the floor.
- Curl your head and shoulder blades up off the floor and lightly grasp your right knee with both hands as you fully extend your left leg about 45 degrees off the floor in front of you. This is one repetition.
- Switch legs to now have your right leg fully extended about 45 degrees off the floor in front of you as your left knee pulses back towards you (simultaneously placing both hands on the left knee). This is the second repetition.
- Continue switching legs until you perform 10-16 repetitions. Be sure to inhale and exhale with each repetition.
- Rest 15-30 seconds and repeat the exercise two more times.
- Keep your head and shoulder blades lifted off the floor and your lower back pressing into the floor throughout the exercise. This will help to target your abdominals.
Exercise #3 – Prancing / Jumps
- Start with your weight on your left leg with the left knee in plié (bent at the knee). Your right knee is raised in front of you with your right foot pointed.
- In one explosive movement, you will push off your left leg to propel yourself in the air (head to ceiling), softly landing onto your right leg in a bent-knee position with your left knee bent and raised and your left foot pointed. This is one repetition.
- Immediately alternate by pushing off your right leg to propel yourself in the air, softly landing onto your left leg in a bent-knee position with your right knee bent and raised and right foot pointed. This is your second repetition.
- Keep alternating between legs for a total of 16 repetitions.
- Rest 15-30 seconds and repeat the exercise two more times.
- This exercise can be performed by jumping in place or traveling across the floor. Pointing your feet in the air when jumping will work the muscles of your feet and ankles and will score you extra points from the dancers watching in the room.
- Jump as high as possible for maximum benefit and be sure to land your jumps softly onto a bent knee to avoid knee injury.
Dancers have a toned, lean physique because of their hard work, determination, and sometimes genetics. If you want to get fit with one of these dance-inspired workouts, it will take a ton of dedication to tone your body and create a dancer’s physique.
Don’t look like a professional dancer after a few workouts? Never fear! If you love dancing, keep it up and work towards your goals!
Don’t let it stop you from trying one of the many dance inspired workouts to improve your health!
So get up and dance the night away everyone!
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