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Hello! and a weight-training question


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Hi Everyone --


I'm new here, and so here's a quick hello: I'm a guy who instead of having

a REAL midlife crisis with a German sports car decided to sign up for ballet

at the hands of some demanding Russians with a barre. I'm in my early 40's

and have been taking classes for 3 years now; most usually 3 times a week.

I love taking adult classes, but in the absence of those I've also taken beginner

classes in a room full of 10 year old girls... talk about humbling...well, that and

the aches and pains have done it! But I'm hooked -- I want to dance as long

as my body will let me :D


Anyway, I am writing not only to say hello, but also because I have a question.

My goals for classes are not only to have fun, but to improve in as many areas as

I can. I have on 2 or 3 occasions been asked to help out in partnering classes,

and would like to work on this more, but I need to increase my upper body strength.

I'm ok for the first few lifts, but my arms and upper body are trembling after a few

minutes. Plus, in addition to endurance, I'd like to increase the amount of weight I

can lift.


So, I started working out with free weights, but I want to make sure that my

workouts are designed "for ballet" -- if there are such regimes. I've lifted weights

before, and I have read books or worked with trainers that taught me the basics,

but I thought I'd ask the dance community (and especially the adult/beginner guys

out there) what you do (if anything) special for your upper body strength? Are there

any exercises that should be avoided, or increased for ballet? Or is Ahnold's "verkout

book" fine for ballet dancers too? :wink:


Thanks in advance for any advice! From what I've read so far, this looks like a

really neat group!

Edited by DreadPirateRoberts
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A guy can "bulk up" a lot more than a girl can in ballet. So, sure, use any standard weights regime you like, but start out with a trainer, so you know how to do the exercises properly. Also explain for what purpose the training is, so that a careful trainer can tailor a weights program specifically to help with the sorts of lifting we do. Of course, the best exercise for partnering is -- do more partnering! :D


And welcome to the Adult Students Forum here at Ballet Talk on Ballet Alert! Online!, Bart. (Sorry, but the only Dread Pirate Roberts I can think of is Bartholomew Roberts!) :wink:

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Thanks, Mel for the advice! I've really enjoyed the tiny bit of partering

that I have done so far, and hopefully I'll get the chance to do more

sometime soon. My instructor, when he gave a beginner partnering class,

lined the guys up and said the following (imagine this in Russian-accented English):


"There are only two rules of partnering for men:"


"First rule is: Do not EVER EVER drop girl"

"Second rule: Make girl look good."


And I thought to myself: "There you have it! The male role defined

succinctly for ballet, and for everything else, too..." Ah, if only I had kept

this in mind in my non-ballet relationships! :bouncing:


Thanks also for the welcome -- my screen name is (as you may have gathered

from the other posts) from a marvelous book and movie called The Princess

Bride. If you haven't seen the movie, by all means rent it -- you won't be

disappointed! It has everything you could ever want in a story: swordfights,

a fire swamp, a contest of wits, a giant, rodents of unusual size, a miracle, and even

... well, I'll let you discover the rest!

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You get better at lifts in partnering by practicing lifts while partnering. Unless you are seriously just plain weak, I’m not sure you need to do any weight training. But then you may just want to do some weight training because you want to do weight training, which is fine too. I know that is why I do weight training and am equally sure it doesn’t help my dancing other than as a way to burn some calories and hence keep weight off.


The muscles that lift things (people or iron) overhead are the legs, tush, and back. And exercises that work those muscles will make it easier for you to lift objects overhead. By the way, ballet class does give the legs and tush a fairly decent workout, so if the possibility is open to you, you might consider adding more ballet classes as opposed to buying a gym membership. But if you already have the gym available to you, I don’t think a little weight training hurts anyone.


If you have access to a trainer or instructor, have him teach you how to do an exercise called power clean and jerk, essentially taking a weight from the floor to shoulders in one movement, then driving the weight overhead (not pressing).

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