Wednesday, January 6, 2016

How to Stay in Shape During a Really Long Break

My Fellow Dancers, this one is for you. I have been off for break for a total of three weeks and the amount of physical activity I have had falls short of acceptable to say the least. My holiday breaks and the amount of physical activity I have during them tend to vary from year to year, simply based off of what other things are going on during the break. This year I have no good excuse, except to say that I have had an EXTREMELY relaxing and refreshing vacation which, not to be misleading, is also very important. But let's get real, I have one week left and need to get my act together.

Know of any dancers that would enjoy this workout? Share this post with others!

Dancers are very diverse in what ways they prefer to maintain strength and stay in shape over breaks. After all, every body is different! Some of my friends prefer to give themselves class everyday, others maybe only two days. Some of them like to do a daily 10-minute ab series to hold them over. Have you ever heard of cross-training? The internet defines cross-training as training in two or more sports in order to improve fitness and performance, especially in the main sport. Cross-training is great for dancers and practical for over long breaks. Some of my friends in the company are gym rats. Personally I hate the gym. I hate the thought of paying for something that I can do for free at my house, though I am acutely aware of my ignorance and closed-mindedness. ^_^

I really advocate Pilates. I've been learned in Pilates ever since I've been learned in ballet and they are very complimentary. Pilates is great for creating long lean strong muscles as well as enhancing flexibility, which might I not forget to add, is also very important to maintain over long breaks. Overall, no matter what method you choose to use in order to maintain your physique, whether you are a dancer reading this or a "normal person"; what I want to convince you of the most, is to listen to your body. It will tell you how much or how little, of what you need. Also as I forementioned, sometimes you might just benefit simply from rest!

Below I  share with you the systematic routine of exercises that I enjoy doing over my breaks to help keep myself in shape. A fusion of Pilates and some other things, I typically would do these every other day or so over the course of my whole break, though this time I have only just begun on this past Monday. Oh well. Here's to feeling sore and accomplished. Be sure to check out the very interesting video I found and posted at the end of this entry about maintaining flexibility. Happy exercising!

TAKE NOTE: One thing I love about this "1,2,3..." workout is the way it progresses! The order is easy to remember! Notice how with each exercise, it's reps or it's timed amount correlates in some way to its designated # in the regimen. Enjoy!  

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#1- 100 Crunches

#2- 20 Side Crunches

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#3- 30 Bicycles twists

Actually, I alternate tugging my one knee into my chest with head lifted and other leg straight about 10 times without the twist, first. 

Then I do the bicycle twist 15 times alternating slow

Then 15 times alternating fast.

#4 - 40 Triceps Dips

Like the picture.

If I am up to it, I'll insert a set of regular push-ups here too!

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#5- Single Leg Circles

A Pilates Move. I do 5 inward circles with the right leg, then the left.

Returning back to the right leg, do 5 more circles going outward this time, then left.

Isolating the hips. The bigger the circles, the more strength it takes.

#6- Hamstring Tugs

A Pilates Move. First with relaxed head and neck. I pull one straight leg above my head, holding and stretching for about 6 mins. each leg

Then alternating legs, head lifted, I tug one straight leg toward my head than the other 10 times slow, 10 times fast. than 10 times fast with no hands or arms, just slicing legs through air.

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#7- Double Leg Lifts 

A Pilates Move. (1st Picture) 7 reps. Do not let the feet touch the ground. If I am up for a challenge I will also throw in a set of Pilates teasers (2nd picture)

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#8- Numerous Leg Exercises 

-40 inner thigh leg lifts, each leg

-20 clams, each leg, great for butt!

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 -10 outer leg lifts. fast up, slow down. each leg.

The higher the leg is lifted, the more strength it takes.
-10 leg lifts back, on stomach. I like to think these are good for arabesques.

#9 -Numerous  Stretches

  Ballerinas you know what to do! Various ballet stretches for about minutes. that's about two songs on my iPod.

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#10- The Planks

 I usually do the regular front plank with bent arms, and the both the side planks, each for a minute. Feel the Burn!

To finish off...

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I usually do whatever else my body needs; sometimes some releves, or stretches or whatever. I love doing my Theraband exercises. A Theraband is a long strip of rubbery elastic, that through resistance, is used to conduct different strength building exercises for your body. Dancers love them! I often use them for my feet and weak ankles (my left one which I have sprained twice in the past) though Therabands are not exclusive to just that. If you don't have one, I'll tell ya, they are worth the investment!

 Doing all of this at leisure pace, it usually takes me about an hour to and hour and a half. I better finish up this entry and great right to it!
What do you like to do to stay in shape?

SIDE NOTE: Sometimes I feel superficial talking about all these exercises and body workouts, but honestly it's expected of me, for my career, and for the excellency of our craft. But regardless of that, let us be reminded that whether we are dancers or "normal" people, pursuing a healthy lifestyle and taking care of our bodies which includes healthy eating habits and exercise, it is glorifying to God. As believers these things should become inherent.

  • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

  • Romans 12:1  I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

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    1. OK so...any advice on how to actually get off of the couch and do those?!

    2. haha...maybe you don't even have to get off the couch! haha, but then you got me thinking and i went straight to youtube! This is what I found: bahaha...

    3. Love this! Desperately trying to get back in shape after break...thanks for the thoughts!

      1. Thanks for reading Megan!! You'll get back in shape in no time! Push through the soreness but always ease back into things CAREFULLY! ;)