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working out.....

Guest ballet boy joe

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Guest ballet boy joe

Hi, my name is joe and im 15 years old, i will be going into my last year at school and will start auditioning in september. Im very small (bodywise) for my age and thinking of all the lifting boys do (which i never done) at the dance collages, i was wondering wether i should start working out and gain a bit of muscles for the auditions. B) as i said im under weight but have started to on weight :blushing: which i think is good, and is a good starting point. But i want to know what you guys think. Should i start now, with a bit of muscles for the auditions or just go under weight.


please reply


ballet boy joe :)

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Hi, Joe, lifting is really not the most important thing in partnering. Learning where your partner's balance is. And most lifts are not about strength, they're about timing. Being slightly underweight is, if anything, an advantage for male dancers, as there's less to push off the ground when you jump! You can do some little work with barbells or apparatus, as long as you have a trainer supervising you, and it certainly won't hurt. :)

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Mel usually also recommend hand stand pushups. These simulate the lifting motion and add strength. Most important in partnering is as Mel states, I can only add that you should know and be able to do the technical steps you are partnering. All the best - I think partnering is the best part of being a male dancer.

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You may not be in the same situation as me but... I am also "underweight," basically i developed late and used to look like a stick. My partnering was fine, I could do the actually parntering and most of the lifts as well. My teachers asked me to start lifting not to really gain straingth, but to develope muscle tone. That appoach has worked well for me becuase I achieved the first goal, of looking more presentable on stage, and as I have continued to lift, gained a little muscle as well. I dont know if that idea is something that would work for you, or you even should consider, ask a pro. But if it is, i found that approach was nice becuase it let me justify easing into lifting and not overdoing it in the beginning.


hope all goes well! :unsure:


and if you start lifting, do ask a gym teacher or someone educated in weight lifting about how many repetitions and sets will be optimal for the results you want, whether its tone or strength.


also, if you are decide you want to develop new muscle, you may want to talk to your doctor or a nutritionist about getting a protein drink mix. I believe there are 21 amino acids in a complete unit of protein. A complete protien is required to produce muscle, so if you are missing (or are low) just one amino acid from your diet you cant produce (or are stuggling to produce) any new muscle. I just did a quick search on google, and if you want more info on complete proteins this site may help.



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Guest ballet boy joe

Thanks guys for being so helpful, i shall certainly take on board these adviced and will see what happens, once again thanks


ballet boy joe :unsure:

Edited by ballet boy joe
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Guest Leigh Witchel



At 15, no one is going to expect you to have the body of an adult. I did find that weight training (more reps, lower weights) was good for toning and strenghtening. This exercise helped my turns - stand with your legs parallel about a foot apart. Take just the weight bar (or even a broom handle to start) and grasp with both hands at either end. Start with your arms down, and slowly raise them and the bar steadily to 90 degrees, concentrating on keeping your back spread wide and in proper alignment. Take a 10 count to go up, a ten count to go down and concentrate on your back the entire time. I tended to turn "in two pieces", and this helped me keep my back solid to turn.


You need to think out your own program that considers your body and goals (get help on that) and concentrate on good form. Working the wrong groups of muscles is pointless, so is bulking or tightening muscles that need to stay supple. Consider your body type. Weight training can make you tighter; if you have a very flexible body, this can be of benefit, but if you don't that's a problem.


Good luck!

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That's why you need a trainer who understands exactly what you're training for and how to train you for it. A bodybuilding regimen won't do for a ballet dancer, or any other kind, for that matter. Both mbjerk and Leigh are right about the exercises that work, and Ed is right about consulting a registered nutrition specialist about things that affect your fuel vs. power needs. Normal human beings (nondancer, that is) generally have no special needs, but dancers need exercise and nutrition programs tailored to them, if they're having a problem. And by all means, don't overlook Pilates for building strength, range, and flexibility all together! :unsure:

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In general, the ballet training system strengthens the body in a way needed for ballet. I would avoid all weight training programs, except maybe those for the upper body; they could work backwards for you. As for big lifts --- it's like breaking boards in Karate. You have to focus your entire body's energy in one direction and do it all in one split instant without even a moment's hesitation. Lifting moderate weight things in that way --- quickly without a hint of hesitation --- will probably help you more than lifting heavy things slowly. If you don't learn that skill, you'll never be able to do a lot of the lifts, no matter how strong you are. On the other hand, I've seen some pretty skinny guys do some pretty impressive lifts.


For example, I sometimes pick up a barre and put it over my head as quickly as possible. It startles people so don't do it if anyone is nearby; but that is how you have to lift a lady as well.

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However, let me point out that timing is the big thing! If you try to lift, no matter how quickly, and your partner thinks it's time for plié, you're up the proverbial tributary without a means of locomotion. :)

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I think Mel’s and mbjerk’s points are excellent.


Unlike citibob, I don’t think weight training will hurt anyone. Sure, if you decide to take up serious bodybuilding and dance, it probably will, but that’s highly unlikely if you are a serious dancer. No time or energy left after dance to do those things.


One point I would add is that when lifting any object, whether it be a person or object, it is your leg, butt, and lower back muscles that should do the work. These are the same muscles that work the most in jumping, so literally improving your jumping ability will also improve your lifting ability. To substantiate citibob’s point, I do think working on your jumping inside and outside class through normal ballet exercise will strengthen your lifting muscles as well as weight training will.


Leigh’s described exercise illustrates an interesting point also. I mean, sorry Leigh, but your exercise makes no sense to me. As I understand it, it’s just what’s called a slow forward raise, an exercise that mostly works the front part of the shoulder, not the back. Yes, Leigh concentrates on what the back is doing during the exercise, which is good. In fact what Leigh’s exercise is doing is concentrating on the back while the arms are doing something that requires some effort, rather than strictly a strengthening exercise for the shoulder. But my analysis is essentially irrelevant for Leigh’s purpose. He believes it helps him, so it probably does. I guess the points I am trying to make (I feel I am babbling now) are that it’s good to invent exercises and if you think an exercise is benefiting you, it probably is regardless of what others say about it.

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Guest mic31

you want to spend you first few times in the gym with a trainer at your side. Try to find a trainer that will have you use a swiss ball for most of your excersises, instead of sitting on a bench.

Before I started with my trainer I gave her several ballet videos so that she had the general idea of what I was after.

Remember when your weight training form is everything.

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Might I ask advice? I run, except on days that I'm taking a class. I like the charge that I get from a morning run, but in ballet terms is there any reason I shouldn't continue to run? It's nothing too strenuous - a two mile stretch before breakfast.

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Jogging should be all right, the old-fashioned Army Double-Time, 140 steps a minute, and no flailing calves behind you. But true running, except for short distances, less than 100 yards, is out!

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I think Brendon needs to answer two questions. First, what is his priority? Second, what does he hope to gain from running?


If ballet is a major priority, then anything that interferes with doing ballet really well is probably not a good idea. If ballet is a real priority, however, one presumably should be putting so much effort and energy into ballet (classes and rehearsals) that there is literally not much left for running.


If ballet is recreational, then I don’t see a problem with occasionally going to class with tired legs or anything like that, depending on your answer to the second question.


Why run? One reason is that a lot of people just like to do it. It gives them great pleasure. If that is the case, then I don’t think running is going to hurt you much. If you are a very serious dancer with professional aspirations, then you do have to worry about running so much that it interferes with ballet. Hopefully, the pleasure you derive from ballet exceeds the pleasure you get from running. Things will likely work out fine then. If you are a recreational dancer, personally I wouldn’t worry about anything. You will most likely adjust running and ballet effort to maximize your overall pleasure, which is what recreation is all about.


If you are running to try to make yourself a better dancer in some way, unless you have a specific problem such as very poor cardio-vascular conditioning or high bodyweight, you are likely to be disappointed. Best way to improve your dancing is to dance a lot.

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