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improving core stability

Guest SUE

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Hi there!

I wonder if anyone can advise the best exercises my daughter could be doing to improve her core stability?. She is 12 years old and has hypermobile joints, swayback knees and is skinny with very long legs and arms. I was recently told that swimming may strengthen her abs and improve it and she's just started training in the pool once a week and certainly feels stronger for it but I wonder if there are specific exercises which work better we don't know about?

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Hi, Sue, and welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers. :unsure:


The big deal with hypermobility is learning to go "this" far, and no further. Restraint is a hard thing to train. Likewise with the "swayback" (hyperextended) knees. The student must be trained to straighten the knee and not to lock it back.

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  • Administrators

Sue, I would suggest Pilates training. Swimming recreationally is fine, but not serious swimming, as it overdevelops a lot of muscles that we don't want overdeveloped for ballet.

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Many thanks to everyone who responded. Pilates it is then. She does do a body conditioning class once a week as part of her ballet course but we will see what other classes are available now.

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  • 2 months later...
Guest get_the_pointe1?

This summer i took ballet intensives and one day out of the week after lunch we would have an hour and a half of Pilates and as they not only educated us as they explained every detail but i felt that my core streangth became very very storong so my request would be pilates all the way!

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My DD has the same issues too! My daughter's dance studio offers a Floor Barre class 3-4 times per week, and everyday during the summer intensive. It is basically doing the barre work on the floor and a series of many types of crunches which target different core muscles. She also supplements by doing crunches every morning before school.


We've seen improvement, but still has a ways to go, but I think that as she matures this will come naturally. She used to be very active with a swim team and finally gave it up last summer to dedicate more to ballet, and people in the studio are starting to notice that her muscles have elongated more now that she doesn't swim so much.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Our youngest is also one of those 'too loose', hyperextended, kids and it's been strongly suggested that she do pilates to improve her core strength and gain more control. It's also been suggested that she's not dancing enough to have core strength.


She's almost 11 1/2 and dancing 4 days a week - two technique classes that are 1 hr 45 min each, one pointe class of 1.5 hrs and lastly a 1.5 hr class that's pointe at the barre and then flat for center. She's been dancing at a 'fairly' serious ballet school since she was 4, and taking at least three classes a week since age 9. She went on pointe back in October - very young, in our opinion. She also has one or two rehearsals each week during the Fall (Nutcracker) and every other Spring (regional company).


My question is this though, is it the number of classes we should increase or just look at pilates or is it just a matter of waiting for her to grow/mature a bit more? She loves ballet and we really want to support her passion without allowing her to burn out!



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  • 5 years later...

My daughter aged 12.5 has been told that her abdominal muscles are weak and her technique will improve when she has core stability. I am sure she is receiving excellent training at a residential school. The whole class are doing some strengthening exercises in class but she has been told specifically she needs to do them out of class. We saw a local teacher who teaches body conditioning for dancers and were shown how to do them correctly. However not sure how much she should be aiming to do and how often. According to her she does about 10 minutes before her ballet class each day.


My first question is how much she should be aiming to do eg how many modified sit-ups a day? And how long will it take to notice any difference. She was mortified that the teacher commented on her weak muscles after she'd been doing them for 10 days! I did try to explain that would be very soon to see a dramatic increase.


I am also a bit puzzled why she should have suddenly fallen quite a bit behind her classmates who are doing the exactly the same amount of training. This wasn't an issue in July.

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Balletbroke, it most likely has to do with a growth spurt. At this age they lose their core stability very easily when busy growing. It is not anything to be overly concerned about. Working on improving it is fine, but she also needs to understand that it does take a long time. It's not matter of days, or even weeks. More like months. But it just depends on the child and the type of body, and of course being disciplined about working on it class, too. :)

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Thank you for your reassurance. I am obviously not going to be able to pin you down to something specific like - 150 sit up a day, 5 times a week for 12 weeks will sort her out!


I presume that it will have an impact on all areas of her technique, but could it also cause her to start to sickle when she is enpointe or is that lack of strength elsewhere?

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No, you will not get numbers from me! :wink:


In terms of sickle, it is probably not using her rotation, which can be a result of losing core strength and center. However, that does not make it okay. She can control that.

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