5 ways to cross train for dance

While dancing is great exercise on its own, cross training can boost your performance and help you prevent injuries. Here are 5 ways to build a balanced cross training regimen and ultimately become a better dancer.

5 ways to cross train for dance

1. For core strength

A strong core is key to staying injury free when you dance. There are lots of options to help you here, but pilates is one of the best bets. Many professional dancers rely on this method to build and maintain core strength. You can also try other core-focused classes, like those done on an exercise ball.

2. For flexibility

Most dance forms require a fair amount of flexibility. Yoga is a good choice because it stretches your body out without placing undue stress on your muscles and ligaments. You could give hot yoga a try if you want to really stretch out; if you do, be sure to stay hydrated.

3. For overall strength

While dance builds strength, cross training with weights can help speed along the development of your overall strength. Try lots of repetitions with light weights to build strength and definition without bulk.

4. For stamina

Most dance classes don't have enough cardio in them to be good conditioning, so you may need to supplement your classes with other exercise. Try running on an elliptical machine or swimming for a low impact workout. You can also try running, but be sure you warm up and cool down properly.

5. For concentration

Learning new choreography can be draining, so it is important to also engage in cross training for your mind. Try a class that combines dance and aerobics for a fun workout that helps you learn new combinations without the challenging technique of a conventional dance class.

These 5 tips can help you get more out of your dance classes, but you don't necessarily have to do them all. The key is to try different things and come up with an approach that works for you.

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