I know how frustrating it is when your dancer’s arms flail and you’re desperate for long lines, sharp movements and cleanliness.
When I was coaching high school dancers I was blue in the face shouting “sharper, cleaner, energy through the fingers!!” But never having actual tools to help them engage the correct muscles.
Unless your dancers are rocking a pom a routine (my personal favorite) we don’t need rigid lines but we do need control and refinement in their upper bodies while they dance. Most of the “noodle arms” I see today come from lifting the ribcage and letting the shoulders run wild instead of performing scapular retraction. This is done when your dancer pulls their shoulder blades down toward the spine and away from the ears.
Below are 5 of my favorite exercise to help your dancer keep their ribcage down, keep the shoulders engaged and improve the strength of their shoulders, biceps and triceps.
Push Back Plank
•Begin in a plank position on your hands
•Push yourself backwards leading with your glutes and extend the right leg into the air.
•This is called three-legged dog.
•Push yourself forward back into the plank position and bring the right knee to the right elbow.
•Repeat by pushing back into the three-legged dog.
Repetitions and Modifications:
Repeat 30 seconds or 20 times each leg
[-] Remove the three-legged dog and just bring knees to elbows.
• Bend at the hips, Squeeze your shoulder blades together, leading with your elbows.
• Hold for a beat before extending your arms back down.
Repeat 10-12 times
• In a high plank position, lift one arm to your rib cage squeezing your shoulder blades together before placing it back to the floor.
• Alternate arms.
• Repeat 12 times on each side.
Banded Bicep curl
• With a band outside of your palms, starting with your hands near your hips, curl your biceps by bending your elbows toward your shoulders.
• Make sure to keep tension on the band and elbows close to your side.
• Lower your hands
Repeat 12-20 times or 60 seconds if you’re doing a circuit.
Core Leg Pulse
• Begin laying on your back with hands gently pressing rib cage down and knees tucked in toward chest.
• Leaving rib cage down and low back glued to the floor, extend one leg out about 3 inches from the floor
• Flex the extended leg
• Pulse the leg up and down 5 times
• Switch legs
Repeat 4 times on each leg
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