Today’s post is rather exciting because today, we are WORKING OUT! That’s right, today we’re going to be focusing on exercises that will strengthen and tighten our abdominal muscles to give us a nice, strong core! Your abs or your core as it is often times called, is an extremely important part of the body as a dancer in literally every genre of dance because having a strong abdomen helps make your dancing a lot more powerful and much more solid. Below, you will find five ab exercises that will help increase your abdominal strength. We’re going to cover both the upper and lower abs, as well as our transverse abdominals, also known as, the obliques! So, without further ado, let’s get going!
Ab Exercise #1
“The Classic Sit Up”
Target Area: Upper & Lower Abs
I like to refer to Sit Ups as “The Mother of All Ab Exercises”. This is an ab move that has stood the test of time and the reason being is well…because it works! It truly, honestly works! Start by laying on your back with your hands positioned behind your head and your knees bent. Before you begin, tuck your chin downward to meet your chest to help ensure that you won’t be using your neck to lift yourself up instead of your abs, as this can lead to injury. From there, using your abs only to lift you, inhale and lift yourself up halfway, then exhale as you come back down. Do two (2) sets of ten (10) reps.
Ab Exercise #2
Target Area: Lower Abs
Leg Lifts are absolutely perfect for targeting the lower abdominals, which is a key muscle used in moves such as developpes. Start this exercise by lying on your back with your hands either down by your sides or underneath your tailbone in the shape of a triangle. From there, with your legs straight out in front of
you and your feet together, slowly bring your legs up for 4 counts as you inhale and then bring them down for 4 counts as you exhale. Make sure you tighten your ab muscles as you lift your legs to really make sure that you are working the correct muscles.
Modification: Now, let’s get real. Leg lifts are a move that does take some practice to perfect. If you find yourself having a little bit of trouble, instead of keeping your legs straight when you lift, bend them and place them in a “tabletop” position and lift from there. Once you feel like you have gained enough strength, feel free to take the plunge and go for the full gusto with both legs!
Ab Exercise #3
Target Area: Transverse Abdominals (Obliques)
Ah, yes! Another core strengthening pioneer! The Bicycle is perfect for getting those transverse abdominals, which are the muscles located on the side of your stomach that make up your waistline. Strong transverse abdominals come in handy when working on achieving nice, strong side battements and leg extensions. For this move, start once again by lying on your back with your hands behind your head. From there, with your knees bent, pressed together and in a tabletop position. Next, while keeping your left leg bent, extend your right leg out in front of you, with your left elbow reaching toward your left knee (see picture below for example). Repeat this sequence to the other side. Do two (2) set of ten (10) reps.
PHOTO BY: JASON LEE
Ab Exercise #4 “Planks”
Target Area: Full Core
I’m sure we all saw this one coming. Planks, though they can be a bit challenging, boy, do they work! This is an exercise that supports the entire core. Start by laying on your stomach, propped up on your elbows. From there, dig the balls of your feet into the floor and lift yourself until your body is in a straight, horizontal line. Tighten your core and hold this pose for 15 seconds. Once this becomes too easy, aim to hold your plank for 30 seconds. As you get stronger, you’ll be able to hold your plank for a full minute!
Ab Exercise #5
Target Area: Full Core + Arms & Legs!
This move may be a tad bit advanced, but with a little practice, you’ll be able to slay it in no time! Start by getting into your plank position, as mentioned in the tip above. However, this time, instead of propping yourself up on your elbow, bring yourself up to the palms of your hands. From there, bring one knee up toward your chest, followed by the other knee and alternate each knee as if you are climbing up a mountain. Repeat this sequence for around 10-15 seconds. Start by doing these at a slow pace and as you build more stamina, begin to pick up the pace a bit to a mid tempo sprint. This move is absolutely amazing because not only are you working your full core, you’re also working your arms and legs as well!
I hope these exercises were a huge help to you all and if any of the exercises you read here today caught your eye, feel free to add them into your ab routine and give them a try! I know you will absolutely love your results! Thanks again for tuning end and have a wonderful weekend!