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Cross Training for Dancers: A Controversial View

Why do dancers tend to gravitate toward cross training options like yoga, Pilates, and Gyrotonics?

Because they are generally good at them.

Why do they tend to be good at these options?

Because they look an awful lot like DANCE!

What is the purpose of cross training anyway?

Yes, cross training will help to improve your overall physical performance and yoga, Pilates, and Gyrotonics will contribute to improvements if not merely by adding to the sheer volume of your training. Maybe you’ve noticed that many of your dance teachers are now incorporating these movement patterns and exercises into your class warm-ups and that is because there are obvious benefits including improved body awareness, breath control, postural awareness, etc…

Are there BETTER options if you are doing these in your dance classes already?

Dancers are they should train like athletes!

Why do we see so many football players using ballet, yoga, or Pilates as their choice for cross training. Do these options look ANYTHING like football?! NO… not really. And that’s smart because professional athletes know that in order to be a well rounded MOVER they need to also address their weaknesses.

So what is a dancer to do?

I recommend resistance training for dancers. Don’t be afraid to hit the weights. There is a common misconception that lifting weights will make you “tight”. That is untrue and, in fact, you may find more ease of movement through your full range of motion as you get stronger. Yes, that can mean a higher developpé! Of course Pilates and Gyrotonic equipment do use elements of resistance in some fashion but it’s sometimes necessary to step outside our movement comfort zone if we want to see drastic changes.

Additionally, in terms of cardiovascular fitness, most dance classes are structured as moderate to high intensity intervals but lack low intensity steady state work. Running, biking, swimming, elliptical machines done at a low to moderate pace for more extended periods of time are also fantastic cross training options to improve endurance, especially if you feel “gassed” at the end of a performance or intense class. More on the in later posts!

Not sure where to start?

If you are unsure of where to start it is okay to consult with a professional. Book an appointment with us either in person or via telehealth for a customized program!