Dancers are notorious for having strong bodies and core. Many dancers practice for several hours a day on top of other activities such as school and work. Due to the high demands and the high level of endurance needed to dance all day, dancers need a stronger core than the average person. Many dance positions call for elongation of the spine. It is important to strengthen the muscles the way they would function in dance rather than static positions or typical flexion based core strengthening such as a crunch. When we refer to the core we are not just talking about your abdomen but rather a combination of muscles that form a cylinder at your trunk and consist of your abdomen, back, pelvic floor and diaphragm. Proper function and breathing is required for optimization of movement. Check out these videos on Dance Specific Core Strength!
Foot Intrinsic Strength
Footwork is crucial to a dancer. Many dance positions require end range contractions for long periods of time such as pointework. Dancers need to develop pushoff from their toes and feet to create jumps. Dexterity and strength can be improved with specific training. Check out these videos on Strengthening The Foot Intrinsics!
Often time injuries or lack of control at our feet can come from higher up in our body. Hip strength can be a contributor to stability at our knees and feet…..
Hip Mobility and Stability
Dancers are notoriously known for being very flexible. Turnout refers to the amount of external rotation required at the hips to achieve the core foot positions. To maximize turnout, dancers may end up compensating by tilting their pelvis forward (anterior pelvic tilt), arching their back (lordosis) and letting their feet cave in (pronate). These compensations may make a dancer susceptible to back and foot injuries. Along with core strength, hamstring and glute strength is vital to be able to maximize turnout while avoiding compensation that may lead to injury. Check out these videos on Hamstrings and Glute Strength for Dancers!