I’ve always been fascinated in the crossover between dance with strength and conditioning.  During my time at premiership rugby club Saracens we would often talk about what we could learn from the world of dance.  Dancers use spins as part of routines.  Rugby players sometimes use spins to evade contact.  So imagine my delight when we recently started working with a young dancer.  However, this time, the question was what does strength training for dance look like?


Can strength training benefit dancers?

Yes!  Dancers are athletes.  They are required the start and stop.  Dancers are required to take off and land.  They perform linearly, laterally and they rotate.  As a result, dancers require strength, power and motor control.  Different dance disciplines place varying physical demands on the dancer.  This is no different from different sports.  Make no mistake, dancers are very athletic.  The length of the routine, the technical difficulty of moves, and the tempo of the routine will all influence its physicals demands.

Being strong and powerful can help dancers with the following:

  • Achieve more height in take off’s
  • Control landings safely and effectively
  • Increase robustness to the demands of training and rehearsals
  • Allow for more complex movements and routines to be attempted


Effective strength training for dancers

As for athletes, dancers need to be strong enough.  So much time is spent rehearsing that dancers will be launching and landing as part and parcel of everyday life.  Therefore, any strength training should be kept to the bare minimum.  Do just enough strength training to elicit the improvements you want.  Elite dancers do not need to be elite in the gym.  Effective strength training for dancers should address:

  • Ensuring proper mechanics on take off and landing.  Think jumps, bounds and hops.  In other words, two feet, one foot to the other and single foot.
  • Ensure that the dancer has control through complete ranges of motion.  Quite often mobility and stability can counteract each other.  Ensure that the dancer is able to actively control a limb well and apply suitable force throughout a joints complete range of motion.
  • Promote spinal stability to allow transfer of force from the lower through to the upper body.  And vice versa.
  • Strengthen  injury prone errors.  Dancers are likely to have to perform many repetitions, and need to be robust enough to mithstand it.

If you are a dancer and would like to know how we may be able to help your performance please do not hesitate to contact us for free, no obligation consultation.