tabata workout

Workout Wednesday: The Tabata Workout

Today’s workout is a brutal Tabata workout.You’ll only need a time, a mat, and probably some water! 

Tabata workouts are an excellent way to improve your aerobic and anaerobic capacities simultaneously. That means more bang for your buck as for time in the gym and (as you saw above) they don’t require much equipment making them perfect for a dancer on tour.  

To successfully complete this workout you’ll perform each exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds, and repeat 8 times before moving to the
next exercise. This Tabata workout should take about 16 minutes. 

Are you ready?

The Tabata Workout

Kneeling Stand-ups

This exercise might seem easy at first, but wait until you are on round eight of these. 

To begin this exercise, kneel on both knees with your hips in line with your knees and hands on your hips. 

Next, lift your right leg into a kneeling position. From here, press into your front heel to push up to standing. 

Finally step your left leg back to return to a right side half-kneeling position, then, return your right knee back to the ground. 

Repeat this leading with the other leg and continue alternating sides until time is up!

*Repeat exercise for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this pattern for 8 rounds then move on to the next exercise.*

Marching Bridge

Next up in our Tabata workout is the Marching Glute Bridge!

Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. 

Take a deep breath to settle yourself, then brace your core by pulling your ribcage together and belly button to spine. Allow the natural curve of your back to maintain it’s position here. The idea is to support your spine, not flatten it!

Next, lift your hips toward the ceiling. Imagine your hips are lengthening toward your knees as you lift! Go as high as you can without arching your back. 

Now that you’re in your glute bridge, maintain that position as you lift one leg up so its shin is parallel to the ceiling. Without dropping your hips, bring that leg back down and repeat on the other side. 

The trick here is maintaining the isometric hold of your glute bridge while shifting the weight from one leg to the other. 

Work to keep your hips level (don’t let them flop to one side or the other!) and continue to contract those abs so your lower back doesn’t arch. 

*Repeat exercise for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this pattern for 8 rounds then move on to the next exercise.*

 

 

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Half Side-plank with Crunch

We are halfway through our Tabata workout! How are you feeling?

For this exercise lay on your side like a mermaid with your knees stacked. 

Lift up your hips so you are in a half side plank supported by your forearm.

From here, stretch your top arm above your head so your bicep is next to your ear. 

Then, crunch your top elbow and knee toward each other, then extend. Repeat for as many reps as possible in the 20 seconds. Don’t let those hips drop!

*Repeat exercise for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this pattern for 8 rounds then move on to the next exercise.*

Split Squat Jumps or Alternating Lunges

You made it to the final round of today’s Tabata workout! Finish strong, this one’s a doozy but then your done!

From a standing position, jump into the air and land in a split squat position (bent-knee lunge). 

From the bottom of your lunge, jump up and switch legs in the air to land in the same lunge position but on the opposite side. 

If your knees aren’t up for this amount of impact, replace the split squat jumps with alternating lunges. 

If split squat jumps are not possible for you today, replace this exercise with alternating lunges. To perform alternating lunges, simply step into a deep lunge then step your legs back together and repeat on the other side. 

*For both exercises,  repeat exercise for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this pattern for 8 rounds.*

 

You Did It!

And just like that, in less than 20 minutes you’ve accomplished your workout! How do you feel?

You just worked incredibly hard. Give yourself a moment, then either go for a walk or do some light mobility work to cool down. Bringing your body back to homeostasis after a workout like this is an important part of helping your body leave “stress-mode” and keep your functioning optimally all day.

Want more workouts? Check out the blog every Wednesday for a new workout!

But until then, give these a try: Training Tip Tuesday: Leg Assisted Chin-up , The 15 Minute Workout, 8 Fast and Effective Bodyweight Cardio Exercises for Dancers

how to palloff press

Training Tip Tuesday: The Palloff Press

Today we are talking all about the Palloff Press!

The palloff press is a deceptively hard exercise because, from the outside, it does’t look like much is happening.  But when done properly, it will light up your core.

This exercise specifically helps you work the core stabilizing muscles dancers need for unshakable balances, endless pirouettes, and sky-high extensions!

Yeah, it’s that good. 

How to perform the Palloff Press

Set up

First you’re going to find the cable machine in your gym and attach a hand grip attachment. (The one that looks like a loop with a plastic place to put your hands.)

Next adjust the height of the cable so that when you pull it out, it’s level with your belly button. 

Great! Now that you’re set up, choose an appropriate weight.  (If you’re new to this exercise, I’d start with a medium weight.)

Instead of facing the machine for this exercise you’ll be standing parallel to it, with your shoulder in like with the cable column.

Holding the hand grip close to your stomach take two to three steps out, away from the machine so there is tension on the cable. 

The Reps

From this position, without twisting your hips or shoulders press the cable straight out in front of you. 

Hold here for as many breaths as the workout prescribes (usually 3-5) then come back in. 

To repeat reps, push the cable back out. 

And there you have it, the Palloff press. Trust me, your core will be crying tomorrow!

Important Tips

The most important thing about this exercise is to keep your body square. Letting your arms push toward the machine will allow you to give in to the resistance. Pushing away from the machine will make your outer obliques work a little too hard. 

The goal is to remain even, just like you’d stand in a pirouette prep or balance. 

If you’re wanting a visual check out this video of Coach Kiersten demonstrating the set up and performance of the Palloff Press!

Trust me, it’s harder than it looks. 

Will you give it a try? 



 

More Training Tips: Sculpting Strength and Flexibility: Workout for Dancers, Performance vs Outcome Goals: The Role of Each In Productive Goal Setting, Stay Alive For 25 (minutes!): Workouts For Dancers

Workout Wednesday: The Lateral Workout

A Lateral workout is fantastic for protecting your body against injury and keeping your body mobile. It improves your stability and, for dancers, is exceptional for helping you build a solid core without limiting the mobility of your limbs. 

Today’s lateral workout is quick- just 18 minutes! So no excuses, let’s get after it!

The Lateral Workout:

Curtsy Lunge x6/side:

First up in our lateral workout is the curtsy lunge. This exercise can be done with bodyweight, a pair of dumbbells, or even a kettlebell. Please, choose whichever weight feels the most challenging without sacrificing your form. 

Start by standing holding your weight in each hand. (If you are using a kettlebell, use a goblet hold.) 

Then, simply step your right foot behind your left foot and lunge (like you’re curtsying!)

Press through your front heel to return to standing. 

**Perform 6 reps on the right, 6 reps on the left, then immediately move on to the next exercise**

Lateral Raise x12-15/side

Grab a pair of dumbbells or stand on a long band. Either way, you’ll want to ensure the weight is light!

To perform a lateral raise, you’re going to think back to your port de bras. 

Stand with your knees soft and your core braced, holding your weight in your right hand. 

On an exhale, lift your arm until it is in line with your armpit. Be careful not to lift directly to the side, instead, keep your wrists slightly in front of your shoulder. It should feel (a little bit) as if you straightened your arms while holding them in second position. 

When you lift, similarly to your port de bras, don’t lift my raising the shoulders up by your ears. Instead, imagine you’re lifting your arms like wings from your back. 

Slowly lower down and repeat for 12-15 reps. 

** Complete 12-15 reps per side, then, immediately move on to the next exercise**

 

 

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Side Plank with Lift x6/side

Next up in our lateral workout is the side plank…with a lift for some extra spice. 

For this exercise, get into a side plank supported by your elbow.

In this position, make sure your neck stays long and your shoulders stay down. The range of motion may also be a bit smaller for this exercise so no cheating by letting your hips drop between reps!

From this position, lift your hips toward the ceiling, then slowly return them to a neutral side plank position. Be careful not to let your hips tip forward or backward!

**Perform 6 reps on each side then, immediately move on to the next exercise**

Kick through x5/side

The Kick through is an excellent lateral workout that really trains your mobility. 

Begin by putting yourself into a bear plank

From this position, kick your right leg through your left arm and leg. As you do this, try to keep the hips as close to the same level as possible.

Then, again keeping the hips on the same level, return to the bear plank. 

**Repeat for 5 reps on each side then, immediately move to the next exercise**

 

In-out squats x10-12

And we’ve made it to our final exercise in our lateral workout circuit!

This exercise may seem simple and fast, but dang does it pack a punch!

In-out squats move your muscles closer to exhaustion by training them in an isometric hold…kind of.

For this exercise you’re going to imagine your head is underneath a shelf and it must remain there. 

Put yourself into a standard squat position.  Go as low as you can with the knowledge that you’re going to maintain this depth for a little while. 

From this depth, jump your feet apart (out)  and then back in without letting your depth change (remember you’re underneath a shelf!)

And remember, keep your chest lifted- it’s still a squat after all!

**Perform 10-12 reps, then rest for 30 seconds before starting the circuit over again**

Complete the Workout

To complete this lateral workout, perform 5 rounds of this circuit, resting for 30 seconds between rounds. 

I know, it’s killer. But we believe in  you!

Let us know how the workout goes by tagging us on Instagram at @dancerswholift! And tune in every Wednesday for a free workout!

 

Don’t want to wait until Wednesday? Give these a try in the meantime: Full Body Thirty Minute Workout (aka perfection!), Keeping Things Cool: The Benefits of Deliberate Cold Exposure for Dancers, Training Tip Tuesday: The B-Stance Squat

assisted chin-up

Training Tip Tuesday: Leg Assisted Chin-up

Whether you are on a journey to complete your first chin-up, multiple chin-ups, or you are just committed to improving your back strength and posture, let me introduce you to one of my favorite foundational and supplementary moves to help you get closer to your goal: the leg assisted Chin-up.

 

The Leg Assisted Chin-up is amazing if you: 

-don’t have access to an assisted chin-up machine 

-don’t want to mess around with bands for assistance 

-are kind of scared of heights 

-are still working on your grip strength 

-want to increase overall volume of your vertical pull

 

Set up is pretty easy: 

To set up your leg assisted chin-up, head to your squat rack or Smith machine. 

Lower the bar to about belly button height then, Set your hips on the ground beneath the bar.

Reach your hands directly overhead to grab the bar.

Then, depending on how challenging you want to make the move, bend your knees tighter to your body for more assistance, or walk your feet away from your body for less assistance (like an upside down plank).

Once you’re in position, pull your chin to the bar and get those gains! 

 

That’s all there is to it!

This may seem like an entirely different exercise than a chin-up. You might even be thinking, but it doesn’t even look like a chin up. 

Well, the thing about the leg assisted chin-up is that it not only works the same back muscle groups as a chin-up (making the muscles needed for a chin-up stronger) but it also forces your abdominals to kick on. This recruitment of your abs is the key to any chin-up, assisted or not. 

So, it’s fair to say that training in this way will teach your abdominals to join the party when performing this move, ultimately bringing you closer to your chin-up goals even faster.  

Do you think you’ll try it?

Let us know if you do! We’d love to celebrate you reaching a fitness goal! 

 

 

Did you like this Training Tip? Check out these blogs for more fitness secrets: Well, Isn’t That Handy?! An App-Free Guide For Tracking Food, How to Do a Proper Deadlift: The Ultimate Guide for Dancers, Performance vs Outcome Goals: The Role of Each In Productive Goal Setting

 

simple workout for dancers

A Simple Workout: No Equipment Necessary

It can be really easy to get caught up into all the bells and whistles that come with “getting into the gym.” But the reality is, all you need is your mind, body, and a little determination. That’s why today we are trimming the fat and providing you with a simple workout – no equipment necessary. 

But don’t be fooled, just because this is a simple workout does not mean it’s easy. 

Think you can hang? Grab a mat, some water, a timer, and let’s get started.

The Simple Workout: 

Squats x 25

I told you this was a simple workout.  To kick us off you will perform 25 squats. (You can add a weight here if you’d like, but you do not have to!)

But just because this is simple doesn’t mean you can go on autopilot! Pay close attention to your form. 

First step, engage your core. 

Next, stick your tush backwards as if you are about to sit in a chair. Keep your chest lifted as you descend and only go as low as you can while keeping your keeps planted and your chest lifted. If you were wearing a T-shirt with words on it, you should be able to read it. 

Then, push through your feet to return to standing. No hip tucks at the top!

*Perform 25 squats, then immediately move onto the next exercise.*

 

Walk-out Push-ups x 5

If you, like many others, still haven’t mastered your push-up form yet, that is okay! Check out this quick read to perfect your form and ensure you’re getting the most out of this portion of our simple workout. 

Walk-out push-ups are a little different because they begin standing up. 

Then, roll down until your hands reach the ground. Walk your hands out until you reach a plank position. 

Keeping your shoulders relaxed, lower yourself into a push-up. 

Once you’ve completed the push-up, walk your hands back to your feet and return to standing. 

*Perform 5 walk-out push-ups, then immediately move onto the next exercise.*

 

 

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Plank shoulder taps x 10 

Plank shoulder taps might make for a simple workout, but they certainly don’t make for an easy workout.

Roll back down until your hands touch the ground, then, walk your hands out to a plank position.

Make sure your shoulders are relaxed and your neck is long. 

Without letting your hips tip too much from side to side, lift your right arm and tap your left shoulder. 

Return the hand to the ground and repeat on the other side. 

*Perform 10 total reps, then immediately move on to the next exercise.*

Superman x 10

At this point in the circuit you might be pretty tired, so, I give you permission to lay face down on the floor.

While you’re on your tummy, reach your arms up so they are parallel to your ears. 

Now, engaging your lats to keep your shoulders down, lengthen your arms and legs away from each other until they lift off the ground. Let your back arch naturally as this happens. 

Then, slowly, return to them to the floor. 

*Perform 10 reps, then rest as little as possible before starting the circuit all over again.*

Wrap it up!

To complete our simple workout, perform a total for four rounds. To keep yourself moving, set a timer and see how quickly you can finish-
taking as little rest as possible.

How do you feel? Sweaty?

Let us know by tagging us on Instagram or Tiktok @dancerswholift!

And if you want more workouts tune into this blog every Wednesday. Can’t wait til then? Give these a read in the meantime: 7 Epic At Home Core Exercises (That Aren’t Crunches!, Get Strong Anywhere: The Best Travel Workout Equipment for Busy Dancers on the Go, Exceed Your Own Expectations: How to Use the Principle of Progression to Overcome Plateaus

y-raise, how to do a y-raise, training tip

Training Tip Tuesday: Y-Raise

Happy Training Tip Tuesday! Today we are telling you everything you need to know about the Y-Raise!

What is a Y-Raise, You Ask?

A Y-raise is a scapular/mid-back exercise that helps us strengthen our scapular retraction – in other words- this exercise helps maintain proper alignment and good posture! 

What muscles does the Y-Raise strengthen?

This exercise targets a variety of back muscles including:

  1. Supraspinatus
  2. Infraspinatus
  3. Teres minor
  4. Subscapularis
  5. Anterior Deltoid
  6. Lower Trapezius

Here is a little diagram to help you visualize: 

Y-raise muscles used

So How Do You Perform the Y-raise?

Follow these steps:

  1. Set yourself up on a bench angled at 45 degrees and lie with your chest on the pad. You can keep your feet on the ground if you are tall enough, or if you are short like me, kneel on the headrest of the bench so your neck and head extend off the top of the bench.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand (you won’t need a lot of weight to feel this exercise), with a neutral grip: palms facing each other. Allow your hands to drop straight toward the ground on either side of the bench.
  3. Keeping a soft bend in the elbows, raise your arms (keeping that neutral grip) on a slight diagonal to align with your head making a “Y” shape. 
  4. Lower arms back down to the starting position.

Still have questions? Here are a few extra technique tips to look for:

  1. Keep your spine aligned and don’t let your head drop
  2. Keep your shoulders down and don’t let them rise into your ears
  3. Keep thumbs pointing towards the sky the entire time

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

 

Want more training tips like these? Check out: FLEXIBILITY vs. MOBILITY: Is passive stretching overrated?, Training Tip Tuesday: kneeling thoracic extension stretch, What is a Rest Day? The Key To Unlocking Your Progress