quick ab workout, workout, workout for dancers, ab workout

(Hollow) Hold, Please!: A Quick Ab Workout for Dancers

Whether you’re looking for an abdominal finisher to your workout or only have 10 minutes before your audition group is called, having a quick ab workout in your back pocket is never a bad thing.

That’s why today’s Workout Wednesday post is designed to light up your deep core muscles and get you ready to tackle any challenge. 

Take this quick ab workout with you to auditions, pre-show warm-ups, or add it to the end of a lifting session for a brutal finisher. I promise you won’t want to miss out on this one. 

 The Outline:

For this quick ab workout you’re going to perform three exercises, then take a 20 second rest. 

To complete the workout perform 5-6 rounds. 

Ready?

 

 

personal training for dancers

 

 

 

Set One: Knees To Elbows x 10

For this exercise, set up as if you are going to do a Dead Bug, bracing your core in the same way. Here’s a “how to” for reference! The only difference is that you’ll hold your hands against your head, so your elbows are pointing toward you knees. 

Then, contract your abdominals to pull your elbows and knees together. Make sure you are actually engaging your core and not just rounding your shoulders and neck. A good cue for this is to imagine pulling your sternum toward your knees rather than your elbows!

Perform 10 reps then move on to the next set!

Set Two: Hollow Holds x 10

Next up in this quick ab workout is hollow holds! Lay on your back with your arms extended by your ears and your legs straight. Brace your core then, Martha Graham style, scoop your core to contract letting your shoulders come off the ground and legs lift. Hold here for three seconds, then release. 

Perform 10 reps then move on to the final set!

Set Three: Hollow Starfish Holds

Finally you get to live out your Patrick Star dreams! Lay on the ground in an X. Then, perform the same exact type of contraction as the traditional hollow holds to lift your limbs and shoulders off the ground. Hold this position for three seconds, then release. 

Complete 10 reps, then rest for 20 seconds!

Finish Strong!

Once you’ve completed 5 to 6 rounds you’re done and I’m sure your core will be screaming! 

 

Did you like today’s quick ab workout? Follow the Dancers Who Lift Blog and tune in every Wednesday for a free workout!

 

 

home workout, workout for dancers, personal training for dancers

Do it Twice: A Home Workout for Odd Chunks of Time

Just because you might be doing a “home workout” doesn’t mean you’re at home or that you have a lot of time. Whether you’re squeezing in a workout between rehearsals and auditions or trying to keep moving throughout a full work from home day, sometimes you need something that can be split up throughout the day. 

If this isn’t your first time on the Dancers Who Lift Blog, you likely know that accumulated exercise throughout the day can be as effective as a traditional 30-40 minute gym session. That means squeezing in half your workout before rehearsal and the other half of your workout after an audition can give you the same results as blocking out an hour after your long day to hit the gym. 

Not sure how that might work? That’s okay! We built a “Do it Twice” workout for you so you don’t even have to think about it!

So, get out your planner and look at your day. Identify two chunks of time you can use to complete a “half-workout.”

All set? Here’s the breakdown:

This home workout can be done anywhere as long as you have your body! You’ll complete one round of this circuit during your first chunk of time, then repeat the circuit during the other chunk of free time. 

Yes, it’s that simple.

 

 

personal training for dancers

 

 

Here’s the Circuit:

Set 1: Bodyweight Squats

The most important part about this portion of your home workout is to ensure your form is locked in. Check out this highlight reel chock full of squat tips if you’re feeling unsure about this. The most important thing to remember is to engage your core, keep your chest lifting and send your hips back as if you’re about to sit in a chair. Then, push through your feet to stand.

Perform 50 bodyweight squats then move on to set 2. 

Set 2: V-sits

Next up in this home workout is 20 V-sits. You can perform these with your knees bent or, for an added challenge, straight legs. Remember to keep your core braced and don’t let yourself “sink” into your lower back. Rather, think of lifting up and out of your hips to prevent this.

*Oh, I almost forgot: relax those shoulders! Tensing up your neck and shoulders won’t make contracting your core any easier!*

Set 3: Walking Lunges

Woof! After this we are halfway through our first circuit! How are you feeling?

Next up we have walking lunges. Alternate legs for a total of 40 reps (or 20 reps per leg). Keep your chest lifted and your core engaged. Don’t let your knees rest on the floor during reps and push through your front heel for optimal hamstring and glute engagement. 

Set 4: Plank Up-Downs

Okay, I’m going to be honest. Plank Up-Downs are hard, but I know you can do this. Get yourself into a plank position. Let your shoulder blades flow down your back, keep your hips in line with your torso, and press up, out of the floor, through your hands. 

Keeping your hips as level as possible, drop down to one forearm then the other. Then, press up to one hand then the other. That is one rep. 

Perform 2o reps. 

Set 5: 15 Second Plank Hold

Once you’ve completed your plank up-downs stay put! Hold a strong, supported plank position for 15 seconds. 

You’re almost there! You’ve got this!

Set 6: 3o Jumping Jacks

Give those wrists a break and hop onto your feet! It’s time to finish the first circuit of your home workout with 3o jumping jacks.

Now, when you do your jumping jacks I want you to actually do jumping jacks.

Visualize your arms like wings. Spread them on the up then, visualize your lats pulling them closed on the down. Doing jumping jacks like this will engage your back and, as a result, get your entire core working. 

And again!

Once you’ve completed this circuit go about your day until your next chunk of time. Then, repeat this entire circuit to complete the workout. 

Wanting to up the ante? Do this circuit as many times as you like throughout the day. But be warned, you don’t need to do more than two sets to reap the benefits of this home workout.

 

Did you enjoy this home workout? Log into the Dancers Who Lift Blog every Wednesday for a free workout that’s sure to get your heart racing and your muscles pumping!

banded pull aparts, workouts for dancers, strong arms

Training Tip Tuesday: Banded Pull Aparts

Have you always struggled with upper body strength but never knew how to hit those smaller muscles in your back/shoulders? Let’s talk about Banded Pull Aparts!

The “Why”

As a dancer, I’ve always admired beautiful backs and loved watching dancers utilize their back muscles while they’re dancing. It’s one of the main reasons why I love back exercises in the gym. 

A result of having a strong back is stunning port de bras which definitely levels up your dancer performance. This is why I love banded pull aparts for dancers. Because it’s an exercise that directly impacts your technique in turns, jumps, lifts. This is because it coordinates how your arms and back work in tandem. 

Ever heard a dance teacher say, “Move your arms from your back?” Banded pull aparts will help train your muscles to work this way. 

An added bonus? Banded pull aparts improve your shoulder mobility and, when combined with other resistance band exercises, pull aparts can also pump up chest muscles like the pectoralis major, correcting bad posture that results from long periods of time spent in front of a computer or desk.

The “How To” of banded pull aparts

For this exercise, You will need a resistance band of some sort.

First:

Take a wide stance with the resistance band in both hands straight out in front of you. Position your hands so that they’re shoulder-width apart at chest level. When performing band pull aparts, make sure you keep a tiny bend in the elbow to make sure you aren’t locking that joint out.

Then:

Slowly stretch the band by moving both hands out to each side, keeping your shoulders down. When you reach your maximum distance, slowly return your arms to the starting position. 

Repeat for 10-12 reps .

Want a visual for form and a technique deep dive? Check out this video!

Tip:

Flip your grip upside down for a different muscle activation!

What now?

Did this make your shoulders BURN? I hope so. If not, try using a different grip or adjusting the height of your hands- remember they should be in line with your armpits! Too high or too low and you won’t feel that burn!

Want more training tips? Follow the Dancers Who Lift Blog for weekly training tips, workouts, and other ways to level up your fitness!

BCAAs, Supplements, What are BCAAs

The ABCs of BCAAs: The Science-Based Facts, Revealed

If you’ve been in the fitness world for a while you’ve likely heard people talk about BCAAs, pre-workouts, and other supplements designed to give you energy, boost performance, and stimulate muscle growth.

 

And with this buzz about BCAAs comes a slurry of questions like, 

What are BCAAs?

Are BCAA supplements worth it?

Should I be taking BCAAs?

We’re going to tackle these questions and more as we dive into the ABCs of BCAAs (see what I did there?). 

 

First things First, What Are BCAAs?

BCAAs=Branched-Chain Amino Acids

What are Branched-Chain Amino Acids?

 

Branched-chain amino acids are a group of three essential amino acids- leucine, isoleucine, and valine- that are “burned” for energy and aid in building muscle tissue protein. 

Because of their role in building muscle tissue, BCAAs are excellent at preventing D.O.M.S. especially when eaten before and after exercise. 

The thing about BCAAs is that your body does not manufacture them. They must be consumed. 

And this leads us right to our next question.

 

If I Don’t Take BCAA Supplements, How Do I Consume Them?

BCAAs are naturally occurring in a high-protein diet. Yes, this means that you can get enough BCAAs to support an active life without adding in the supplement – though there may be other benefits to using a supplement depending on your goals. 

 

Here’s a list of foods high in BCAAs. You might be surprised how many foods on this list you’re already consuming! 

  • Why, Milk, and Soy Proteins (Yes, including Tofu and Tempeh!)
  • Beef, Poultry, Fish, and Eggs
  • Chickpeas, Lentils, Corn, Beans, Pumpkin Seeds
  • Whole Wheat, Brown Rice
  • Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Pistachios, Cashews

If you’re looking at this list and thinking, “Gee, that’s most of the foods I eat.”

Yes. Correct. If you are eating intentionally to fuel your body for dancing, performing, and lifting, you’re likely getting all of the BCAAs you need from your diet. 

 

So Why Do People Take BCAA Supplements?

This is where we get into the nitty-gritty.

For a long time, people believed that taking BCAA supplements before a workout was a great way to speed up muscle growth because Leucine (one of the amino acids in BCAAs) is an integral player in muscle tissue growth. 

However, studies have shown that, despite common belief, athletes who use  BCAAs as a pre-workout saw a decrease rather than an increase in protein synthesis.

Instead, combining BCAAs with WHEY protein creates a complete protein that has shown to increase muscle protein synthesis

 

 

personal training for dancers

 

 

But If I Get BCAAs In My Diet, Why Add Them to My Protein?

The thing BCAAs do very well, outside of preventing D.O.M.S., is increasing your athletic performance by keeping your energy levels high. 

You see, these supplements decrease the amount of Serotonin your body produces during a workout which prevents fatigue. 

 

What does this mean? 

It means you’ll be able to work out harder and longer with the immediate support of BCAAs than you would without it.

 

However, use this power with wisdom as this added intensity without the support of WHEY protein and a well-fueled diet can lead to a decrease in muscle protein synthesis.

 

So… TLDR What Should I Do?

It all depends on your goals. 

If you are working tirelessly to build muscle, it may be best to get your pre-workout energy from quick energy sources like an apple, honey, or even a cup of coffee. 

However, if you are eating a balanced diet and are struggling with stamina and muscle recovery during and after your workouts, BCAA supplements could be beneficial for a season. 

 

At the end of the day, we always recommend that you try to get all of your important nutrients from whole foods. If you’re eating the protein and fiber required of the professional athlete you are, you likely don’t need to add BCAAs to your supplement regimen. 

Want some more insight into your nutrition needs? Check out Body Mechanics. A fully realized personal training program designed to teach you while you train.

workout, workout for dancers, personal training for dancers

The Early Morning Workout: A 12-Minute Kickoff to the Day

Engaging in an early morning workout has been shown to have many positive benefits for athletes and pedestrians alike. However, one of the biggest obstacles to an early morning workout (beyond waking up!) is actually getting to the gym.

It’s easy to linger over breakfast and coffee and suddenly look at the clock and realize, “Oh shoot! I have to get ready for work!”

That’s why we created this 12-minute bedside workout designed to be completed as soon as you roll out of bed. And yes, I know how that sounds, But I promise you can do it. 

Shall we get started?

SET A TIMER FOR 12 MINUTES

The key to this early morning workout is to use the edge of your bed and perform as many rounds as possible in 12 minutes. Yes, you can take rests, but try to only take a rest once you’ve completed a round. (A round = one set of all four exercises.) 

Set One: 20 x Hands-on-the-bed-push-ups 

Alright, the timer’s set, and you’ve rolled out of bed. Set up in a plank position with your hands on the bed (I recommend the foot board or bed-frame if your mattress is soft.) Perform 20 reps of push-ups in this position before moving on to set 2. 

Set Two: 20 x Bed Mountain Climbers

Don’t get out of the bedside plank position yet! As soon as you finish your 20 push-ups, immediately move on to perform 20 reps of mountain climbers. Remember, try not to let your hips creep up! We want a solid plank position while you march through those mountain climbers!

Set Three: 20 x Tricep Dips

Are you feeling it yet? We are halfway through round 1 of this early morning workout and you finally get to move out of that plank position. 

For this exercise put your hands on the bed and your feet planted on the ground, hips in line with your knees. Engage your core and perform 20 reps of tricep dips in this position. Then, immediately move on to set four. 

Set Four: 20x Hip Thrusts 

For this portion of your early morning workout, ease your back against the bed so your sports bra line is supported by the bed. Brace your core so your torso can move in one piece. Slowly lower your hips to the floor then, squeezing through your glutes, press your hips up to the ceiling. Be careful to keep your core engaged so you don’t arch your lower back!

Perform 20 reps of these bedside hips thrusts to complete round one.

Repeat:

Here is where the devil is in the details of this early morning workout. Can you take a break between rounds? Absolutely. We only want you working at a capacity that keeps you in good form as good form keeps you safe. Do you have to rest between rounds? No. Remember, the name of the game for this workout is how many rounds can you complete in 12 minutes. So do what you need to do to complete all four sets as many times as possible.

Taking breaks is okay! And you can always ramp up the intensity by shortening or removing those breaks as you get stronger!

Did you try it?

How many rounds did you complete? Were you sore the next day? Let us know @dancerswholift on Instagram/TikTok or shoot us an email at dancerswholift@gmail.com. We’d love to hear how you crushed this workout.

Want more workouts?

Here, at the Dancers Who Lift Blog , we post a free weekly workout every single Wednesday. We also post training technique tips and other informational blogs about how you can optimize your training and your life to achieve your goals. 

But if you’re looking for something more personalized, and more consistent check out our Body Mechanics Program. It’s designed for busy dancers to not only receive training and nutritional guidance, but to educate you on how to build workouts and optimize your nutrition beyond your time here at DWL.

If you’re looking for one-on-one undivided attention from a personal trainer, look into the Embodied Artist Academy. It takes all the benefits of Body Mechanics one step further by giving you daily accountability, weekly check-ins, and hyper-personalized training and nutrition guidance. Got an injury you’re recovering from? No problem, our coaches will design a program tailor made for that. Training for a Broadway opening? Easy peasy, we will listen to the demands of your specific track and create an optimized training plan to keep you healthy, strong, and energized for each show. 

So whether you’re tuning in on the blog weekly, or joining the team, we’ve got your workouts on lockdown. 

Happy sweating!

core strength, ab workout, knee hovers, training tips

Training Tip Tuesday: Knee Hovers for Core Strengthening

HAPPY TRAINING TIP TUESDAY!! Today we are talking about core strengthening! 

Do you remember growing up and doing all those crazy crunches and not knowing what the heck they were or how they were helping you dance?  Maybe you just remember waiting for this part of warm up to be over so you could stop pulling on your neck!

Sound familiar? Trust me, we’ve all been there!

Well, today I want to talk about core strength and a different kind of exercise to help engage our abs and increase our core strength. 

Core strength helps us in all aspects of life. Core strengthening leads to core stability which is the ability to control one’s center while the body is moving. It’s the ability to hold the body steady and maintain balance while performing complex movements.

If a dancer’s core stability is poor, they may have difficulty maintaining good posture or dynamic alignment during small or large movements. So, as dancers, we need a strong core to help us achieve all the beautiful moves our hearts desire, but we also need a strong core for everyday life as well. 

That’s why, today, We’re talking about knee hovers. Knee hovers are a great core strengthening exercise and (bonus!) help with stability as well. 

We start this exercise on the floor, so grab a mat to help alleviate any wrist pain.

 

The Set up: 

Get on all fours (hands and knees) and with your arms straight but not locked, push the heels of your hands into the floor so that your shoulder blades flatten against your back.

The Execution:

Keeping this neutral position with your spine and shoulder blades, tuck your toes under and lift your knees from the floor. Your knees should only rise around 1-2 inches off the ground. Careful not to let your booty lift!

I recommend doing 10 sets of 5-second holds.

What Now?

Want real time feedback on your form? Tag us @dancerswholift on Instagram or Tiktok! 

Not into public posts of your workouts? Totally fine. Check out our Body Mechanics program. You’ll get workouts, nutritional guidance, and a coach dedicated to ensuring your training technique is flawless.