How to do a proper deadlift

How to Do a Proper Deadlift: The Ultimate Guide for Dancers

Learning how to do a proper deadlift is not as intimidating as it may seem. Unfortunately, most of the videos you’ll find in a google search feature powerlifters and other gym rat types which can make you wonder, should dancers really learn how to do a proper deadlift? None of these athletes look like us.”  


The answer is, YES! 



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Dancers should absolutely learn how to do a proper deadlift. 

Deadlifts have been scientifically proven to build power (Hello, grande allegro)! Deadlifts also strengthen the posterior chain which greatly contributes to core strength, injury prevention, and facilitates coordination of your limbs! Sound like anything a dancer might need? We thought so too.


So, what makes learning how to do a proper deadlift so challenging?


One of the early challenges when learning how to do a proper deadlift is understanding how a deadlift differs from a squat. At first glance these two exercises look similarly. But on further inspection you’ll learn that a squat (like a plié) moves on the vertical (up and down) plane while a deadlift works in the horizontal plane


A deadlift, is what fitness professionals call a “hinge” movement. A hinge movement is a functional movement meaning, it helps us perform daily tasks like picking up a heavy box from the floor. A hinge movement happens by hinging your hips backwards until your torso reaches a tabletop position. In contract, a Squat movement happens by bending your knees and moving your hips straight down while maintaining an upright spine. 


If you’re having trouble getting the hang of this hinge movement, try setting your deadlift form up in front of a wall. Take two steps from the wall. Then, keeping your shins perpendicular to the floor, hinge your hips backward until they gently touch the wall.  Want more information about how not to “squat your deadlifts?” Check out this form video



One of the most common challenges for dancers as they learn how to do a proper deadlift is the temptation to do a flat back


Yes, you are flexible enough. 


Yes, you might be able to do it with a lighter weight. 


But is it a deadlift? No. 


Is it dangerous for your back and hamstrings? Yes. 


So how do you do a proper deadlift?  Let’s break it down.


Start by setting up your weight. 


If this is your first time deadlifting, I recommend starting with a lighter weight until you get the form locked in. Once you’ve chosen your weight, set your weight up so that the bar is about two inches in front of your shins. 


Next, set up your stance.

Your feet should be about hip width apart, toes in a neutral position. 



Next, you’re going to hinge your hips backwards until your torso hits a tabletop position. From here, gently bend your knees until they kiss the weight.



Grab the bar just outside of your legs, and lift your focus straight ahead, elongating your chest forward. Do not arch your spine. Instead, Brace your spine as if you are doing a hollow hold. Remember when your dance teacher used to say “show off that diamond necklace” when she needed you to open your chest? This is a similar feeling. 



Inhale, and on the exhale, press into your feet as you push your hips back to neutral. Try your best not to hyper extend in your hips at the end. We don’t need any extra tucks or pushes at the top of your lift!


Lower to Reset.

Slowly lower the weight by hinging the hips backward, keeping the shins parallel to the floor. Remember, your shins should be kissing the weight on it’s way down, just as it did on the way up! Let the weight touch the floor and release the spine. Lastly, re-brace the spine, for the next rep and repeat.


And there you have it! You now know how to do a proper deadlift!


The best thing about deadlifts? Besides the many physical benefits of deadlifts, there are TONS of variations for deadlifts. And don’t worry, we have all the deets on common mistakes, form videos, and tips for each of these variations. Such as:


Common RDL mistakes to Avoid


How-to B-stance Deadlift


Tips for Kettlebell Deadlifts

So no matter where your deadlifting journey takes you, Dancers Who Lift has you covered. Want a little more guidance? Check out our 1:1 training program and get all the guidance you need

at home core exercises

7 Epic At Home Core Exercises (That Aren’t Crunches!)

Dancers are constantly told that they need to have a strong core. Core strength is about so much more than rippling abs – especially for dancers. Weak core muscles can not only cause problems in your technique, but they can lead to lower endurance and even injury


Yet, due to our jobs, we don’t always have access to a gym. That’s why having an arsenal of at home core exercises can definitely come in handy. But I’d be willing to guess, my core exercises and your core exercises look a little different. 


You see, dancers across the country have been doing the some variation of the same crunch combination since the dinosaurs walked the earth. You know the combo: center crunch, single-leg-crunch, switch, lift-both-knees-to-90-crunch, both-legs-straight-up-crunch, straddle-crunch, side-crunch, switch, static plank, collapse. 


More and more evidence is coming out that crunches are not the be-all-end-all for core strengthening. In fact, crunches only target a very small portion of your core and can create lower back pain


So where does that leave your list of at home core exercises? Looking a little thin? That’s okay! I have compiled a list of seven at home core exercises that will take your core training up a notch!



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Dynamic Planks

A dynamic plank is a plank that is not static. In other words, you’re doing more than just “holding” the plank. Dynamic planks are a fantastic at home core exercise because, first, they are equipment free and, second, they engage more than your abs. Dynamic planks engage both your superficial and deep abdominals, but they also fire your glutes, obliques, shoulder girdle and hips, for stability. 


Good examples of dynamic planks are: around the world planks, plank pull throughs, up-down planks, RKC planks, and side planks with flexion. Want some other plank variations? Try out these five core moves for a dynamic core workout. 

Bird Dogs

Bird dogs are a Dancers Who Lift favorite. Why? Because Bird Dogs train your body to maintain a neutral and stable spine while your limbs work seperately. These exercises are particularly great as a part of your pre-show warm up. You can do them anywhere and they get your whole body engaged and focused. 



We here at Dancers Who Lift LOVE the bird dog. It’s. Great dynamic, functional core exercise. So often as dancers, we fall into the trap of static core training, such as planks for time. And while this might *feel* really effective, ultimately when we’re dancing, we need to be able to engage our core as we’re moving! The bird dog is an optimal exercise for training contralateral movement— while maintaining postural alignment! Additionally, this movement works for hamstrings, the glutes, the rectus abdominous, the obliques, the spinal extensors, the lots and the posterior shoulder musculature ! So it’s a lot of bang for your buck ! It can also be easily progressed or request, depending on the dancers strength and ability. 👉A regression (easier) might look like just moving one limb, or not having the limbs leave the floor 👉 a progression (harder) might look like maintaining a hovering quadruped position, or even working in a full plank position, or potentially holding weights in the hands. If you want to learn more great movements like this, and how they can apply to one’s dancing, join our free ab challenge for dancers ! Link is in my bio! #Dancerswholift #shelifts #mobilitywod #movementitmedicine #strongnotskinny #fitness #dance #nycdancer #abs #selfcare

♬ original sound – dancerswholift


Dead Bugs

Another DWL staple and wonderful at home core exercise is the dead bug. Dead bugs are fantastic at working your deep core muscles, preventing back pain, and promoting strong spinal stability. The best part? There are TONS of variations on the dead bug so no matter what your mood, you can choose the variation that works best for your needs. 


Reverse Crunches

Reverse crunches are sneaky hard. But, for this exercise, you will need to find something stable to hold onto while you’re lying on the floor; this could be a couch or bed frame, something that wont move as you do these. Once you’ve found it, lay down and grab hold of it with your arms above your head and get started. Ready to level up your reverse crunches? Try out coach Ariel’s Dragon Flag reverse crunch here

L-Sit to Bridge

Okay, this little combo will have you SWEATING. Add this at home core exercise to your pre-show ritual and you will be warm and ready! Start in an L-Sit, hovering your booty just above thr ground. Then, push your hips up toward the sky until your body is in a table top position. Finally, return to the L-sit starting position. That’s one rep. Repeat. Want a visual for the form? Click here. 



I know, I know. But before you yell at me that push-ups aren’t a core exercise, take a moment and think about good push-up form. Yes, that’s right, good push-up form is basically a plank. Therefore, is a push-up not a type of dynamic plank? Push-ups are a true full body exercise and they will do wonders for your core strength when done correctly. The key to making push-ups a part of a dynamic core workout, is ensuring that you are mastering your form before you progress to the next level. Not sure what that looks like? Give this form break down a quick scan. 


Hollow Holds

Finally, we get to hollow holds. Hollow holds are fantastic for targeting your deep core muscles. Hollow holds work against back pain, increase pelvic floor strength, and will do wonders for your front extensions! Hollow holds also have tons of variations like hollow holds with flexion, banana rolls, supermans, and hollow hold rocks. 

So, which of these core exercises will you add to your workout? Pick a couple and let us know how it goes! Want us to check your form? Tag us in a video on instagram @dancerswholift. We’d love to give it a look! 


Professional Dancer

Are Dancers Athletes?: A Cool Take On A Hot Topic

There’s never been any question that dancers are artists. But, time and again, the question is asked: are dancers athletes?


When I was in college the dance majors and minors were not allowed access to the school athletic trainer. Instead, the dance department referred us to a P.T. nearby who “took most insurances.” And while that P.T. was excellent, I couldn’t understand why the college didn’t recognize pre-professional dancers as athletes. After all, unlike the football team, soccer team, and even the hockey club, dancers were being graded on their physical abilities. Think about that; our graduation status relied on our ability to participate physically in our classes, yet we were not considered student athletes. 


As a result, I started a petition with a statement:

 “Are Dancers Athletes? Yes. And we deserve the same free access to care as the other student athletes.” 


I was successful, but it took a great deal of work. I not only had to convince the school but, in many cases, I had to convince the dancers themselves! That’s right, even the other dancers found it challenging to identify as athletes. 


“Are dancers athletes?”


So I did some research. 

According to Merriam-Webster the definition of an athlete is, “a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina.”


And, The American Heart Association defines as athlete as,

one who participates in an organized team or individual sport that requires systematic training and regular competition against others and places a high premium on athletic excellence and achievement.” 


Sound like anyone you know?  


One of the largest arguments against recognizing professional dance as a sport is the fact that it isn’t competitive in the way other sports are competitive. However, a quick google search of “Are Dancers Athletes” revealed even more affirming evidence. 


Ross Tucker, a sports science researcher for World Rugby believes the definition of athlete is too narrow, suggesting we broaden definition of ‘competition’ beyond competing against other athletes in that specific moment. For example:


“…is a person who climbs Mount Everest an athlete? I’d say so, because they’re pushing boundaries, which I think meets a definition of competition where ‘competitive’ means challenging oneself to perform better. (Ian McMahan, Washington Post) 


This implies that the difference between an “athlete” and an “exerciser” is focused performance aspirations.


To put it another way, if you are training instead of working out, you are an athlete. 


Do you prefer to use the traditional definition of athletic competition? 

Think back to your last audition.

Are you still willing to say that being a professional dancer is not competitive? Do you believe that there are not specific, defined, markers of excellence in dance technique?

I didn’t think so.  


Let’s take stock. Are Dancers Athletes?

Are dancers trained or skilled in exercises that require physical strength, agility, and stamina? Check. 

Do dancers push their physical boundaries and “compete” against themselves to improve? Check.

Do dancers have specific skillsets required with measurable levels of excellence in order to “win” jobs? Check.

Do dancers train and cross-train with specific physical performance goals in mind? Check.


So, are dancers athletes?


According to this check list, absolutely yes. And if you are a professional dancer, that means you are a professional athlete. And if calling yourself a professional athlete gives you pause, this study showed that dancers out performed Olympic swimmers in seven out of ten categories of athletic testing.


Okay, great, so dancers are athletes–why is this so important? 

The answer is simpler than you might think. The reason it’s important that we as dancers identify as athletes is because when you identify as an athlete, you act like like an athlete.  According to the American Psychological Association, identifying as an athlete leads to an increase in the frequency and intensity of training. 

This means that, if you believe you are an athlete, you will train harder and more often than dancers who don’t. That is an incredible asset when you’re walking into a room of 300+ talented dancers for an audition. 



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How do you train like a professional athlete? 

I’m so glad you asked!


First, if you aren’t already, you need to cross-train. Stop believing the myths about the gym that dancers have believed for too long and start lifting weights. Weightlifting is one of the best ways a dancer can resolve their muscle imbalances, achieve higher extensions, and add rotations to their turns. Don’t believe me? This blog gives an extensive explanation about why.


Second, you need to focus your cross-training on exercises that will advance your dance technique. For example, this quick read breaks down strength training exercises that will improve your pirouettes. 


And Finally, you need to start seriously thinking about your recovery. The faster your body is able to recover, the more training you’ll be able to handle without risk of injury. This doesn’t mean you don’t need to rest! In fact, resting is one of the most important parts of speedy muscle recovery. There are a lot of ways to promote muscle recovery and, you guessed it, we’ve got a list ready for you right here.


Final Verdict. Are Dancers athletes?


I think so. But what do you think?

 Let us know in the comments. Or, tag us with your thoughts on Instagram or Tiktok @dancerswholift

How to Do a Pirouette

Ready To Turn Heads?: This Is How To Do A Pirouette

As dancers we’ve heard over and over that there are jumpers and turners…and every one of us knows which one we are. But what if I told you I could teach you how to do a pirouette better than you’re doing them now–no matter which category you fall into? 


If you’re needing the absolute basics of pirouettes, check out this article on Masterclass for a proper “how-to” breakdown.  But remember, learning how to do a pirouette is one thing. Learning how to do a pirouette perfectly every time is another. 


In order to have a successful pirouette, you need a stable base for your preparation, a stable core, and a controlled landing. Lucky for you, Dancers Who Lift is here with seven exercises for pirouettes that will leave people asking,


“Where’d you learn how to do a pirouette like THAT!” 



So whether you’re learning how to do a pirouette for the first time, or fine-tuning your pirouette technique, let’s dive in. 



Let’s start by stabilizing the core.


number 1


The  Hollow Hold: 


This exercise engages your deep abdominals and stabilizes your spine. Start by laying on your back with your knees bent. Next brace your abdominals by ensuring your entire spine is maintaining contact with the floor by firmly exhaling out into the front, back, and both sides of your body. Take a few breaths here to make sure you can maintain that abdominal engagement. Next, without letting go of your core, lift your knees so your shins are parallel to the floor. Slowly extend your legs out to the hollow hold position while reaching your arms behind you (biceps parallel to your ears!) Inhale and exhale here for 5-10 breaths. To rest, bend your knees and hug them into your chest. Shoot legs and arms back out to repeat for three sets. 



number 2


Hollow Hold with Knee Flexion:


Once you have the swing of the hollow hold, add knee flexion to build stability in the obliques! This will especially help you if you tend to lift your hip in your passé. To do this variation, loop a resistance band around your feet before getting into the hollow hold position. While maintaining your hollow hold, slowly and with control bend one of your knees until it hits ninety degrees. Then push out without letting go of your core. Repeat for 8-10 reps for three sets. Repeat on the other side.


Check out this video for form specifications!

Looking for more core stability exercises? Give this three-minute read a glance. 

number 3


Kneeling Pallof Press:


This stability routine can be done with a band or a cable machine! First, set up your band (or cable) so that it is even with the base of your armpit when kneeling. Next, set yourself up so you are kneeling with your knees side by side. Lengthen your spine, brace your core and engage your glutes. Holding the band, extend your arms straight forward, then slowly pull the cable back toward your belly button. Make sure as you press that the band maintains tension throughout the entire exercise. As your repeat this for 8-10 reps, resist and tipping, leaning or sinking into one side or the other. Repeat for three sets. 


Band Chop: 


Tired of falling out of your turns due to lagging arms? Stay down in that kneeling setup for this next one! Holding the band, extend your arms in front of your belly button. Now, ensuring that your hips and obliques remain stable, twist your obliques. Repeat this for 8-10 reps, three sets. TIP: Make sure you keep your lats engaged so your shoulders don’t creep up! 



Beep boop! Falling out of your pirouettes? Try incorporating this drill! #dancer #fitness #dancerswholift #crosstrainingfordancers

♬ original sound – dancerswholift


Reverse Lunge: 


Every dance teacher out there has said “Your pirouette starts with your prep!” Nobody likes wobbly pirouette preps so how do we get perfectly stable pirouette preparations? Reverse Lunges. Begin with your feet hip-width apart, then step back into a deep parallel lunge. Brace your core and elongate your spine as you lunge. The most important cue to remember here is that your feet should be on train tracks NOT a tightrope. This will keep your hips square and give you a perfectly stable base to push up from. Repeat this on each side for three sets of  8-12 reps.


Reverse Lunge with Drive to Passé


Once your reverse lunges are free from wobbles try adding on a passé drive as you return to standing. So, step back into your lunge. Then, as you come to standing, drive through your front foot and bring your back foot up to passé; hold for one count. Repeat this for 8-12 reps, three sets. 


Unsure about the form? Give this short video a watch!


Single Leg Multi-Planar Reach


If there is one exercise I could do daily to keep my supporting leg stable it would be this. These airplane taps will not only help stabilize your supporting leg in your turns, but they will improve your stability in tilts, developés, and battements too. To set up this exercise, place yoga blocks (or a stack of books) in front of you and on either side of you. Then stand with your hands on your hips and bring one of your feet to parallel coupé. Next, hinge from your hips as you extend your coupé foot backward into a “T” shape and tap the block in front of you. Try to keep those hips square and spine stable! Return to the starting position. Then, repeat for the blocks on either side of you. This is one rep! Repeat this for a total of 5-8 reps, three sets, then switch sides. Click here if you’d like a visual reference. 


So, which one of these exercises are you trying first? I challenge you to pick two of them and add them into your training this week. And if they make a difference, let us know! It’s amazing how much strength training can affect our pirouette technique. If you want to learn more about exactly how strength training can transform your dancing, check out this blog, Should Dancers Lift Weights. I think you’ll be amazed at what you find. 


Still looking for more exercises to perfect your pirouettes? Try our Free 5-Day Turn Course! It’s sure to whip your turns into shape!


Can’t get enough? Here are a few links you might find helpful!

“Improving Dancer’s Pirouettes!’


“2 Core Exercises for Better Balance” 


“4 Strengthening Exercises for Perfect Pirouettes” 


“How to Improve your Pirouettes; The Science Behind Turning”


“How to Spot for Pirouettes”


exercises for dancers

10 Exercises for Dancers That Will Transform Your Technique

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Weight training houses some of the best exercises for dancers out there. From posterior chain strengthening to increased mobility, the benefits of weight training for dancers are immense. 


I am so glad that the industry is waking up to the idea that strong dancers are dancers that thrive on contracts. And I am even more thrilled to see more and more dancers walking into the weight room. But with the internet overflowing with “workouts for dancers” it can be hard to decide what to prioritize in the gym. 


Likely the exercises that comprise your workouts fall into one of five categories: 

Push, Pull, Hinge, Squat, and Core. The first three of these categories are called “functional movements” as they help you perform daily functions as well as feats of athleticism. These exercises are important for dancers and humans alike.If they are in your workout, you’re doing great so far! 


But, what if you could take it to the next level?


 Have you ever considered the difference between working out versus training? Training is a workout specifically designed to help you get improve not just in health, but in your specific sport. As a professional dancer, you should be training. This means your workouts should contain the best exercises for dancers out there.  


So, just in case you haven’t joined the fam here at Dancers Who Lift yet, or if you just like building your own workouts. We’ve compiled a list of 10 Exercises for dancers that will transform your technique. 


number 1




Dead Bugs: 

Dead bugs have been a Dancers Who Lift favorite for a long time now. Dead bug exercises work your deep core muscles, as well as your rectus abdominus, and your obliques. They train your core to work together to stabilize the spine while allowing the rest of your limbs to move freely. We believe so strongly that  Dead bugs are one of the best exercises for dancers we wrote an entire blog post about them.

number 2


Bird Dogs:

While we are discussing core exercises, I would be remiss if I did not include Bird Dogs and all of its variations in my list. Bird dogs are one of the best exercises out there for teaching balance and coordination. (Sound like anything a dancer should have?) Bird dogs are also fantastic at creating a mind-body connection for spinal alignment. And bonus, once you hit pro level with Bird dogs, you can try this variation to turn up the heat!


number 3



Pallof Presses

People don’t talk about Palloff presses very much because, well, because they aren’t sexy. You likely won’t find reels of “fit-spirational fit-fluencers” doing palloff presses. BUT, palloff presses will improve your pirouettes every single time. No more arms lagging behind you when you spot. No more wobbly obliques when the tempo starts to fly. Palloff presses build an incredibly stable core and back. And the best part? There are TONS of variations depending on what you are working on. Start with the basic form to get the swing of things. Then, try the kneeling pallof press to train those lagging arms. Got the hang of that? Try the single leg pallof press to add a balance challenge!




Dead Lifts

Dead lifts can look intimidating. But dead lifts are also one of the most beneficial leg exercises for dancers. Once you get the form down, the number of variations on this lift offer an entire world of training exercises for dancers.  Dead lifts will put the spinal stability gained from your Bird Dogs to the test! But the biggest benefit of dead lifts is that they will improve the height of your jumps! Want to soar through grande allegro with ease? Dead lifts. Want to put the cast of Newsies to the test? Dead lifts. Needing help stabilizing your pirouette standing leg? Try this off-set dead lift variation!



Split Squats/Reverse Lunges

Split squats are one of my favorite exercises for dancers because not only are they fantastic glute and hamstring builders but, like our other top rankers, split squats work out your stabilizers. The way Split Squats (and their cousin Reverse lunges) force you to center your weight between a front leg and a back leg is perfect for training powerful pirouette preps. And if you’re really looking to train pirouette preps, add the drive to passe at the top of your squat! That will really test your stability! Another reason to do split squats? They are fantastic at helping you train better jumps!

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Squats are probably some of the most talked about weight training exercises and it’s for very good reason. Squats strengthen the quads, calves, glutes, hamstrings, and the knee joint, all while improving hip mobility and strengthening the abdominals and lower back. Talk about a powerhouse exercise. But why is this one of the top ten exercises for dancers? Because having a strong lower body translates into powerful jumps and turn preparations. Having improved hip mobility means higher extensions. And having strong abdominals and a lower back make for a stable dancer who can be lifted easily, turn like a top, and land jumps with control. Even better? Just like split squats, Squats come in many forms and variations so you’ll never get bored. 





Rows are some of the best exercises for dancers who struggle with droopy elbows in their turns and port de bras. Rows will take the pressure off of your (likely) already tight pectoral muscles and engage your back and lats. Why do we want this? Relaxed pecs and engaged lats result in relaxed shoulders that are not rolling forward. This gives you supported arms no matter where your port de bras takes you! Need a visual aid? Check out this reel of Amber explaining the best exercises for proper port de bras





I know, I know, a lot of dancers really hate push-upsh. But I think that’s because we were never really taught how to do them. They’re usually thrown in at the end of an ab workout or, worse, used as a punishment. But when you learn how to do a push-up properly, almost no other strengthening exercise will engage your entire body the way a push-up does. Push-ups build a stable spine, strong core, and of course, strengthens the arms and chest. Learning how to stabilize your body for push-ups is also helpful for teaching you how to hold your weight during lifts. What’s more, push-ups will naturally improve your posture. So, how do you do a proper push-up? Take a glance at this form breakdown and you’ll be well on your way to perfect posture and a strong core. 




Mobility Flows

Mobility > Flexibility. Period. Read that again.

“Flexibility is the degree to which a muscle or group of muscles is able to passively lengthen.

Mobility is the degree to which a joint can move through its range of motion without any outside influence or momentum” (Emily Dadmun, DWL Blog).

You can be as flexible as you want. But if the end range of motion in your joints is not strong, you will not be able to support the extensions you’re training for in those over-splits. How can you work on this? Well, weightlifting helps. But mobility flows are fantastic at requiring strength while releasing your muscles. Mobility flows gradually move you into deeper and deeper stretches all while incorporating your breath. Coach Kierstin just posted a great mobility flow, here. Give it a try next recovery day!





Don’t roll your eyes at this. Rest is one of the most important exercises for dancers. And yes, it is an exercise because dancers tend to need to practice resting well. Our lives are full and we love being active, but our bodies need time to reset and recover. In fact, resting is one of the best tools a dancer has to promote faster recovery between workouts, shows, and rehearsals. Proper rest prevents injury and can actually help us break plateaus by getting our bodies out of stress-mode. So next time you’re feeling like you’re working SO hard but not seeing any progress, ask yourself when the last time you truly rested was.

And there you have it, the 10 best exercises for dancers! Which do you think you’ll be trying first? If you’re intimidated by this list, remember you only have to try one at a time. And if you’re worried about building a workout with these in them, check out this list of 20 conditioning workouts for dancers, it will definitely give you training a jumpstar

No Gym, No Equipment, No BS: The Best Workouts for Dancers That Can Be Done Anywhere


It’s an age-old debate. Which will yield better results, weightlifting or bodyweight workouts? When searching for “workouts for dancers” on the internet, you’ll get a lot of mixed reviews on this topic. Not to mention a lot of misinformation about what workouts for dancers should look like. (For better clarification on that topic, give this blog a read.) 


As for the debate, there is evidence that shows that weightlifting will result in a faster progression toward your goals. There is even more evidence that shows that bodyweight training is effective at any point in a person’s fitness journey for burning fat, building muscle, and increasing mobility and flexibility. 

This study from the Polish Journal of Medicine showed that a ten-week bodyweight training regimen yielded and increase in strength, endurance, flexibility, and aerobic capacity!


Why is this good news?

Dancers are always on the go. We need the ability to work out anywhere without having to lug equipment around in our suitcases. Moreover, we need that workout to be effective. A dancer might find themselves working out on tour, working out while traveling, or even working out at home. That’s why bodyweight workouts are the perfect workouts for dancers. Because they give us the opportunity to continue progress on our physical goals- no matter where we are or how much time we have. 


 The International Journal of Exercise Science published a study stating that one of the biggest benefits of bodyweight workouts is that it improves your cardiorespiratory fitness with little time commitment! As a result, participants who performed an eleven minute bodyweight circuit just three times a week for six weeks, increased their cardiorespiratory fitness by an average of 7%!  


If you’re asking yourself, “What is cardiorespiratory fitness?” 

It’s the ability of the circulatory and respiratory systems to supply oxygen to the skeletal muscles during periods of sustained physical activity. If you ask me? Any workout that helps muscles perform better for longer during a class or show goes on the list of “good workouts for dancers” in my book. 


So, you’re on board to try some bodyweight workouts while you’re touring, or rocking that summer stock life. Now what? Well, instead of just giving you a list of workouts. I’m going to teach you how to build one for yourself.


First, when doing bodyweight training, it’s important to focus on your form and move slowly. This will increase your muscles’ time under tension–the slower you go, the more challenging.


Now, to build solid bodyweight workouts for dancers (or any athletes really) you’ll want to make sure you incorporate one exercise from four categories of workouts: Upper body, Lower body, Plyometrics, and Core. You’ll do 5-15 reps of each exercise for 4-6 sets total. 

weight lifting for dancers personal training


Let’s take a look. 


1) Upper Body Workouts for Dancers

There are tons of options for no-equipment  upper-body workouts. Some of those include:


-Pike push-ups

-Tricep dips

-Eccentric push-ups

-Shoulder taps

-Scapula push-ups

-Hands elevated push-ups

-Feet elevation push-ups

-Diamond push-ups



Not sure if your push-up form is up for this? Give this two-minute read a glance and you’ll be pushing up in no time!


2) Lower Body Workouts for Dancers

Let’s take a look at some equipment-free lower body exercises:


-Sumo squat

-Pistol squat

-Pulse squat

-Split squat

-Hamstring curls (floor assisted) 

-Glut bridge

-Walking glute bridge

-Hip thrusts

-RFE split squat

-Frog Jump

-Cossack squat

-Duck walks (Only if you don’t have cranky knees!)


3) Plyometric Workouts for Dancers

Plyometrics are your explosive, controlled movements such as:

-Star jumps

-Mountain climbers

-Jumping jacks

-High knee runs


-Split squat jumps

-Clapping push-ups

-½ Burpees

-Jump squats

-Skipping (Yes, really!)


4) Core Workouts for Dancers

Every dancers favorite category! Yet, surprisingly, there isn’t a traditional crunch in sight!

-Dead bugs (Check out this list of Dead-bug variations!) 

-Hollow holds

-Russian twist

-Reverse crunch

-Plank saw

-Up-down planks 

-Side plank

-Leg lowers




There you have it. You have all the tools you need to build enough bodyweight workouts to last a year! Now you can workout while traveling, on tour, or even in your home on a rainy day and not have to worry about losing your progress. 


Not feeling a strength workout? Don’t sign up for that expensive cardio class. (Unless you want to) Running is free and has tons of benefits for dancers! Don’t believe me? Read this to learn all about how running is one of the best cross-training workouts for dancers. 


And hey, if you’re not feeling creative enough to put together your own workout, don’t sweat it. We have this blog with five home workouts for dancers already written up for you to try. 

Now go get your workout in and tell us what combo you used! Even better? If you build a workout, post it on instagram and tag us @dancerswholift. Then we’ll give it a try! And who knows, maybe we’ll repost the sweat session for others to enjoy!

Want to make your favorite gym exercises WFH friendly? Take a look at these posts!

Inverted Row

Hamstring Curl

Bicep Curls