As with almost every activity and sport, cross-training offers tremendous benefits to help both build and maintain fitness. Dancing is no exception as dancers require considerable muscular strength and flexibility that is often best achieved through other ways of physical conditioning.
According to an International Association for Dance Medicine & Science article, Pilates was shown to help dance students increase muscular strength and flexibility. Due to the power and suppleness achieved, dancers were able to hold positions longer and increase jump heights with just two Pilates sessions each week over 11 weeks.
For dancers who would rather be working on new moves or practicing the latest routine, Pilates is an outstanding option to achieve many benefits through unique, dynamic, and challenging movement!
Economy of Movement
While Pilates is a regime that will improve total core strength – from upper to lower abs, obliques, and back – it is this increased strength that helps dancers move easier and with more precision. The deep core muscles keep a dancer stable for long periods of time to allow limbs to move freely and with fluidity. Core strength not only helps protect a dancer from injury, it increases movement efficiency to make every movement deliberate and defined.
Toned and Lean Muscles
The Pilates approach is similar to a dancing philosophy that focuses on elongating and slimming the body. With a focus on deep, intrinsic muscles and body movement, Pilates creates a slimmer – yet stronger – frame at the micro and macro level, creating a well rounded physique.
Flexibility and Balance
Standard stretching for dancing becomes too routing and two-dimensional. . Incorporating Pilates into training, dancers increase flexibility by moving the body in different ways and using resistance to improve stretching by getting much deeper into the tissue. . The enhanced mobility that is achieved allows the body to be able to control flow, increase balance, and gives a dancer time and space to make better and safer movement choices.
Joint Strength and Injury Prevention
Improving as a dancer requires repetition and practice – it also increases the risk of injury due to overuse. Pilates, as a cross-training regime, relieves muscles and tendons of repetitive movement to offset risk. By adding Pilates to a workout program, dancers can utilize a low impact, deliberate motion workout that protects joints, increases strength, and improves the effectiveness of targeted muscle groups.
Reconnect and Refocus
Training for dancing is strenuous and often requires long hours of practice. In the studio, teachers and choreographers demand much from their dancers and movements are often very repetitive. Incorporating Pilates into a dancer’s training regime provides the needed movement and strength-building but is also an opportunity for the mind to release and connect with the body to reinvigorate and re-center itself . Having space and time to feel at whole with the body helps to release tension and embrace possibility and achievement.
Are you a dancer looking to improve your performance and add an edge to your dancing ability? Pilates is for you! Pilates can help you even out strong and weak skills, achieve muscle improvement in new areas and makes your style of dance seamless.
Have you considered becoming trained as a pilates instructor? Teacher Training will improve your personal practice – a good way to keep your body and dance practice in peak physical performance. Teacher certification can also add flexibility to your work life, with supplemental income that can provide stability as well as additional time, space, and resources to continue advancing your dance practice.
At Sheppard Method Pilates we offer expert instruction, including from trained dancers, private and duo Pilates sessions, open mat classes, Reformer classes, and much more!