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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Upper Body


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  • Administrators

Well, there are only about a gazillion ab exercises, which I think everyone knows! Strengthening the abs also strengthens the lower back. Upper back and arms can be strengthened in a gym, with machines or weights, or with Pilates work. Ballet classes are designed to build basic and overall strength, and you will find even the arms get stronger as you begin to do more pas de deux work :)

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  • Administrators

Sit ups and crunches are designed to strengthen the abdominal muscles, which also helps the lower back. They do not BUILD the upper body. However, female dancers do not want to build the upper body anyway, only to strengthen it. ;)

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Guest Aleasha Barkova

I was on a swim team last year, and I developed some arm muscles that turned sort of, well, I don't know how to describe it, saggy I guess, during the winter. I didn't look like a body builder by any means, and my arms are still mainly muscle but it looks like fat. How would I go about stretching and exercising and toning my arms (mainly my biceps and triceps) to regain the strong but lean look? Please delete this if it crosses the fine line into the weight-loss related category, but it is truly not meant to be that way. Thank you!

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  • Administrators

Well, I guess you could start swimming again ;) But, you could also work out with weights or the machines in a gym. Best to get some one to help you learn to work with the right machines or weights, though. You do not want to do anything with heavy weights, just very light in order to tone and not build more muscle.

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Guest twinklehooves

There's a bunch of upper body strength exercises w/ ######. Oh, what are they called...they are large, rubber ######, especially for dancer. It's in Discount Dance Magazine. Sorry, I wasn't much help.


Oh, you can also do just basic arm positions. First, second, third, fourth, fifth, low fifth- port de bras- in different series. We do that all the time in ballet class. It's REALLY builds muscle if you do it long enough. :)

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Guest Rachel

To increase arm definition without acquiring the muscular bulk that can result from weight lifting, I suggest doing push ups. Not only do they give considerable strength to the biceps and triceps, they help to acitvate the back muscles the dancers need to hold up their arms. If push ups are too difficult, you could subsitute "girl push-ups" which are equally effective. To do these, distirbute your weight between your hands which are spread shoulder-width and your knees, while your feet are suspended in the air. I do three sets of ten every day and find that doing so has greatly increased my strength for pas de deux.



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Guest dancingostrich

something that i found out is good if you do it right. extend your arms strait forward, clasp your hands together, bend your elbows so you make a L with your arms. (it can work with or without your elbows touching.) then all you do is move your arms up and down using your own resistance to make it harder. im not to sure if it works because i just saw it at my SI yesterday, but my friend was doing it so i guess it does.

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