Happy Friday, dancers and welcome back to another blog post! In last week’s blog post we discussed middle splits and stretches to achieve greater hamstring and quad flexibility. And although flexibility is always necessary as a dancer, another attribute that is needed just as much is hamstring and quad strength . Strengthening your hamstrings and quadriceps carry such huge benefits in your betterment as a dancer as it aids in improving a variety of techniques. Stronger turns, cleaner kicks, higher leaps and even pointe work are just some of the things that can be obtained just by taking the time to show your lower body a little extra strengthening love. So, with all of that being said, today we are going to share with you our top 4 exercises to help you gain, and even maintain, strength for your hamstrings and quads! Let’s lunge right into it! See what I did there?
The exercise we all love to hate! Though they may be the definition of “feeling the burn”, squats are a very fast ticket to hamstring and quadricep strength. I recommend doing 2 – 3 sets of 10 reps for the best results. If multiple sets are a bit much to begin with, start with 1 set of 10 reps and work your way up as you get stronger. Always remember to sit back as you squat down and keep your knees over your ankles. We want those knees to stay nice and safe!
Still lunges are indeed wonderful for targeting your hamstrings and quads, but walking lunges? Oh, that’s next level right there! Keeping your abdominals tight and your knees over ankles, lunge your way from one side of the room to the other, and back again. These can really get your legs pumpin’, so start with 1 set and work your way up to adding more sets as you gain more strength.
One of my personal favorites, wall sits are another exercise that is golden when it comes to hamstring and quad strength. I would dare to even say that this one of the best exercises to target the aforementioned muscles (which is probably why they show up in almost every stretching and conditioning class 👀). With your back up against a wall and your legs in a table top position, lower your upper down to “sit” in an imaginary chair. Hold this for anywhere between 15-30 seconds, whichever is most comfortable for you, while still posing a healthy challenge.
And last but not least, the OG! An exercise that truly gives your body no choice but to activate your quadriceps and hamstrings, hip raises are another fast ticket to amazing lower body strength.This is my favorite exercise for strengthening your legs for leaps, especially! Simply lie down on your back with your legs hip width apart in a table top position. From there, use your hips to lift your lower body up into a bridge position, while still keeping your shoulders on the floor. Add one set of 15-20 of these to your workout and you’ll be on your way to a nice, strong lower body that can take anything your next dance class may throw at you!
I hope you found this post helpful and suiting to all of your lower body strengthening needs! As always, I wish you all the best as you continue to better and prune your gift of dance as you go along this journey. Thanks so much for hanging with us today and we’ll see you right back here next week!