Cross Training Safely at Home
by Katie Groven
We’re almost a year into a pandemic and while some dancers have been able to get back into the studio, many have not and are still relying on virtual practices to prepare them for a season that may or may not be coming.
Even if your team or studio has been practicing like “normal” , I think we’ve all learned that everything can change in a moment and it’s good to be prepared.
My goal is to make sure you are prepared to return to practices or maintain your progress even if you need to use your kitchen table as a barre.
Since dancing at home doesn’t always allow dancing full out, incorporating cross training will help you to execute your skills with strength, endurance and of course free of injury.
Here are 3 Tips to Making That Happen
- Decide on a goal
- This is a fantastic time to work on areas of weakness, flexibility, and giving some TLC to muscles that don’t get the opportunity to be trained during the season.
- Dancers spend so much time dancing on one side following the season’s choreography
- Or they focus on big skills and never get to really connect with their hips and glutes.
Take this time to choose a few goals and work backwards to decide which exercises will help with turning more consistently on the left or finally getting that full split in the air.
- Make a Plan
If your goal when cross training at home is to build strength and / or endurance for a skill:
- Choose 4 exercises that you feel would benefit that specific skill. For example planking and jump squats for jump height. Rows and dead bugs for turn consistency.
Choose an additional 2 for core
- Choose an additional 2 for endurance.
- Add weight or an athletic band for an added challenge (see below)
- Do 15 to 20 repetitions of each
- Repeat three times
If your goal when cross training at home is working on flexibility:
- Focus on form, not just cranking your hips open
- Be aware of where your knees and hips are during the stretch
- Pay attention to engaging the muscles surrounding the area you’re stretching
- Hold for 60 seconds each.
When to incorporate cross training at home.
- Find time in your schedule to incorporate your cross training that doesn’t overwhelm your already busy schedule.
- Aim for 2 -4 days of cross training for 15 - 20 minutes
- A fun way to build endurance and strength is to put your exercises into a circuit.
- For the circuit, do each exercise for 40 seconds, rest for 20 and repeat 1 to 3 times.
- Turbo Boost Your Workout
Cross training at home has its advantages, one of those being the unlimited number of items around your home that take your workout to the next level.
To challenge lower body:
- Wear a backpack full of books
- Use the stairs for box jumps
- Use the stairs to elevate one side at a time
- Use a paper plate for sliding lunges
- Add a jump
To challenge upper body and core:
- In a plank, use a paper plate for sliding feet to the side
- In a plank, lift one arm or leg off the floor
- Hold water bottles or books for bicep curls, shoulder press and rows
- Incline and decline pushups on a coffee table or bed
Add weight to all exercises:
- Water jugs
- Kitty Litter
- Backpack full of books
- Wrap a sports bra around legs as an athletic band
As you can see, cross training at home can be a fun way to keep your body performing its best, even when you can’t be dancing full out or doing kicks across the floor. Take the time to set your goals, make your plan and become a detective about what ordinary objects take a simple exercise and transform it into a full body challenge.
Katie Groven is an ACSM certified personal trainer, holistic health coach and two time world champion dancer. She is the creator of dancer-fitness.com an online exercise database designed to transform competitive dancers into athletic powerhouses. She has combined her 25 years of dance and her expertise in fitness to empower dancers of all ages to view themselves as athletes and gives them the tools to increase their strength, endurance, injury prevention, and overall performance. Katie travels the country cross training teams and studios including Larkin Dance Studio, home to World of Dance finalists Eva Igo, Ellie and Ava Wagner and The Trilogy. When she’s not training individual dancers or teams she’s spending quality time with her husband Chris, daughters Hazel and Amelia or growing her collection of Converse shoes.
Katie is also a Doctors For Dancers specialist and regular blog contributor for More Than Dancers, The Line Up. Listen to Katie speak about simple and effective ways to strength train dancers on the Dance Boss Podcast (Ep.56) Count me in Podcast (Ep.68) and Dance Studio 411 Podcast (Ep.30)
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