5uptown

Cross training for boys

14 posts in this topic

I am curious-- how old is your son, and what kind of cross training does he do? When did he start specifically cross training for ballet? Does he do this as part of his ballet training program, or supplemental to it? 

 

My son is 12, he "cross trains" with other recreational sports that he enjoys (soccer, volleyball, a little tennis), and he takes modern and jazz dance each once a week, but so far he hasn't specifically begun to work on core or upper body strength for dance. Assuming a typical progress through the levels at ballet school, he will have another two years before strength training is actually offered to him there. He is definitely aware that this is something he will need to start working on (also I expect he will also need more work on flexibility, which doesn't come easily for him). 

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My son doesn't do any actual "cross-training" in another sport but he started strength training/conditioning when he was 12 when he started full time ballet training.  They didn't have a weight room but they did a lot of push ups, hand stands, planks, etc.  When he went to a company affiliated full time program at 13 he started weight training in the weight room with a conditioning coach as a class that meets twice weekly in addition to mat classes, pilates, and Yamuna.  He also works in the weight room outside of the regularly scheduled classes to increase his strength for pas  - the conditioning coach gave him a circuit to follow.

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No actual cross-training per se, but sports (baseball and track) and PE classes at school, and since about 13-14 he has had a regular daily regimen of stretching, push ups, sit-ups, planks, etc., that he does at night.

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My 16 year old son, lifts light weights with the football team 4x a week. Nothing above his body weight and generally less than 15lbs an arm and does a lot of core exercises. He also does intervals on the track, plus some resistance band workouts. We avoid any weighted squats. He plays club soccer and football for his high school team. His endurance and strength always show compared to other dancers. He has also avoided injury through having a balanced body and variety of motion. 

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BBdad, I am impressed that your son has time to play sports at high school. I don't think that will be available for my son (the two high schools which will accommodate a ballet school schedule don't have sports). We have kept him doing rec sports but I see that he will age out of those leagues soon. 

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And thanks for all the feedback so far! 

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My son does not have a disciplined cross-training regimen this year (at 17); it's catch as catch can.  I'm not suggesting this is ideal, but he's so active already that it doesn't make sense to steal his fun activities from him just so that he can call them "cross-training."  He does pushups, crunches, and planks when he stretches.  He is in regular high school p.e. classes, and he really enjoys this, because he's surprisingly good at things like pickle ball (pickle ball?).  He also hikes the mountain ridge near our house, mountain bikes on long weekends, skis in winter, and plays tennis on occasion.  I would like to see him do more pilates, however, or something that would allow him to work on flexibility outside of ballet class.  I'm hoping that next year, he can make this a regular activity.

 

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Mln, he sounds very well rounded (and a bit like my kid who will choose physical activities anyway for fun). 

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BBdad - I am going to mention what you said about weight training with the football team to my son. He is wanting to do some, but I don't think he ever thought of trying to do it with one of the teams at school. Thanks!

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What a great and important question!

Mine is 17 now. He has been a tapper for 10 yrs and trained in ballet for the past 5. While in his YAGP training, he developed knee issues. That brought us to cross train through GYROTONIC/Pilates. It has been an amazing addition to his training. We would highly recommend it if you can find trainers who are/were dancers.  

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Since I posted my original question, my son has tried some gyrotonics and he really likes it. We have found a studio where he can drop in to small group classes (4 students maximum) which makes it much more affordable, after a couple of initial private sessions to learn the equipment. He is doing some weekend classes over the summer as he can, but our plan is to make it a regular thing next year, supplement to ballet and the rec sports he is still going to try and fit in. And yes-- its very helpful that the trainers are dancers-- they really know how to talk to him and what kinds of concerns a young dancer is dealing with. He feels that it has helped him in ballet class-- not necessarily that he is so much stronger, but that he is understanding how to use his muscles differently. 

For example: He is in a very intense summer program right now. His knees were bothering him last weekend (he has had Osgood Schlatters which comes and goes during this part of his life where he is growing rapidly) and after the gyrotonics class he said they actually felt much better, as did all his sore muscles and aches and pains. It was good to hear that he felt like the gyrotonics helped, and didn't make him more tired. 

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5uptown, that's fantastic to have a group class of 4! it is definitely more economical. We started in an hour private until he was free of issues and switched to 30 min privates. Now we do semi-private between my two kids while summer schedule allows. 

For my son, and probably many boys, his quads are overworked and huge. The overstimulated quads have at times caused knee pains. Gyrotonic has helped him engage his hamstrings and butt to maintain turnout as well as lengthening his quad muscles. He and his sister love taking gyrotonic especially before ballet classes and never complain about being tired since it is a great relieve for them.

As a parent, I've seen their dancing transform - their lines look leaner, their turns are tighter and look more effortless. Totally love it! <3

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18yo DS has been attending a gym for the past year where he mainly works with free weights and some resistance machine. He did nothing structured and formal before this as he was growing so much. His teachers had consistently discouraged him from adding more to his schedule than stretching at the studio and a full time dance program. Once he stopped growing he has started to add bulk (relative terms here). He had 3 sessions with a personal trainer when he got the gym pass and this was really revolutionary for him. He learned how to progress his program and safe lifting principles. Honestly I had low expectations of those 3 hours but boy, was I wrong. His body has changed a great deal over this time and I know that this is directly related to his gym time. Still long and lean but lots of definition and strength for pas.

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It's always fun to see growth in our kids, isn't it, Thyme?

As you mentioned, there's no time to really add much to their already impacted schedule, my son has been doing triceps pushup for the past couple of years. It's one he can do on the side of the class or just a few minutes in the day. It helps with his shoulder strengths as well as building his core.  

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