Core Strengthening Tips
For dancers, like many athletes, it is important to have good core strength. Your core includes all of the muscles in the mid-section of your body – abdominal muscles as well as your low-mid back muscles and even your hip muscles. It helps with balance, control, posture and strength. So, it is important to do different exercises that help you develop your core strength. Here are a few exercises you can even do at home.
Crunches and Sit ups
- Laying on your back, place your hands on your head just behind your ears. Bend your knees keeping your feet flat on the ground.
- Tighten your stomach muscles – you should feel like you are pulling in your belly button towards your spine.
- Keeping your feet flat on the ground, slowly raise your head and then lift your shoulders. To do sit ups, continue to lift your upper body until you are sitting upright.
- Hold the position for a second then lower back down but do not lie flat completely. Try to keep yourself slightly off the ground
This is a very simply exercise that will help you develop your stomach muscles by repetition. You can work all the different muscles in your stomach by varying the type of sit ups you do.
- Lay on your stomach face down on the ground.
- Raise yourself up into a push up position balancing on your hands.
- Place your elbows on the floor, clasping your hands together and leaning on your forearms.
- Balance yourself on the balls of your feet making sure you keep your legs and body in a straight line parallel to the ground. (Be careful not to let your bottom lift too high in the air or drop past your hips).
- Hold this for at least 30 seconds.
Also try doing the plank on your right and left side. To do this, lie on your right side then lift yourself up balancing on your right arm and your toes. Hold this for at least 30 seconds before repeating on the left. This will help work the muscles on the side of your body called oblique muscles.
Upper Body Twist/Twist Crunches
- Sitting upright, bend your knees keeping your feet flat on the ground.
- Bend your arms bringing your hands into your chest.
- Keeping your feet flat on the floor, twist your upper body from left to right. You should be aiming to bring your elbow to the opposite knee.
To make this more difficult or make the workout more intense, try lean your upper body back so you are further away from your knees. Always remember to squeeze your stomach muscles.
Lying Glute Push ups
- Lying on your back, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the ground.
- Raise your hips up until they are in line with your knees keeping your stomach muscles tense.
- Slowly lower your hips back down to the floor.
This exercise targets the glutes and lower back muscles. You may like to repeat this exercise a number of times or alternatively hold the position for at least 30 seconds with your hips raised before lowering.
- Lie on your stomach on a flat surface with your arms and legs stretched our straight.
- Lift you arms, head and chest off the floor and look straight ahead - your body will be in the position of a flying superman
- Hold this for at least 30 seconds before lowering.
You can also try the twisting superman. Begin the exercise normally but instead of holding it, this time twist your upper body to the left, then to the right and then lower. Repeat this to get the most out of the exercise remembering to tense your muscles.
To the Core of the Matter
By doing these exercises you are gradually strengthening your core. You will see an improvement in your dancing. It is important to be never give up as you will not see results over night, but rather from being consistent and training your body to be the best it can be.
Share some of your suggestions and exercises for core strength in the comment section below.
By Energetiks writer Katerina Petkovska