Whether you are an elegant and graceful ballet dancer, an Irish dancer with incredible technique and endurance or a fiery salsa dancer, you probably train as hard as any other athlete. A big part of that training involves developing a strong core. Dance techniques require core strength for intense control, writes Jacqui Haas in "Dance Anatomy."
Passe Abs Series
On the "Shape" website, former professional dancer and Pilates instructor Andrea Rogers offers a stringent ab exercise to help develop a strong core. In addition to working your abs, the exercise stabilizes the pelvic lumbar area. You lean back on a mat with your weight on your forearms and extend your legs out straight. Then bend your right knee and press the inside edge against the inside of your left knee. This is called the passe position. Lift your legs off the mat and toward your chest, then lower your legs to about 2 inches off the mat. Do two sets of eight repetitions with each leg
Professional dancer Lacey Schwimmer, who has appeared on "Dancing with the Stars," tells the ThatsFit website that she prepares for a performance or competition with a series of crunches that involve all of the ab muscles. The first is a basic crunch, but Schwimmer advises to lift your chin toward the ceiling and not curl it into your chest. Then comes a crossover crunch to work the obliques. It's performed by crossing the right foot over your left knee. Then you reach to touch the right knee with your left elbow and repeat on the other side. A circular crunch completes the workout. Starting in a regular crunch position, you rise upward to the right and then circle to the middle and then to the left. This crunch works every part of your abs.
"A plank is the best core exercise," former New York City ballet dancer Brynn Jinnett told "Dance Spirit" magazine. Jinnett says strong abs allow a dancer to move her limbs with strength and control while increasing her leaping ability. Execute a plank by assuming and holding a pushup position. Hold the position for 30 seconds with the goal of increasing your time to two minutes.
Assume a lunge position and place your arms at shoulder level reaching straight forward. Rotate your upper body toward your front foot and then return to center. Return to a standing position by bringing the back foot forward as your arms return to your side. Alternate legs and do about 10 to 15 reps with each leg. Keep your back in an upright position and don't allow your front knee to get ahead of your toes.The initial lunge position works your abs and also stretches your hip flexor muscles, while the twist involves your obliques as well.
Jim Thomas has been a freelance writer since 1978. He wrote a book about professional golfers and has written magazine articles about sports, politics, legal issues, travel and business for national and Northwest publications. He received a Juris Doctor from Duke Law School and a Bachelor of Science in political science from Whitman College.