In the last article we mentioned a few reasons attention to arms is important for dancers. Today, we would like to mention a few exercises to help you look great and do what you need to do…
Consider some of the following upper body exercises for dancers, starting from least to most challenging.
They build tone and flexibility without bulk, and can fit into any routine, as long as you do not have health restrictions, and provide some variation from the classic (and highly effective) push-up.
The Standing Push-Up With Elastic Resistance
This is a fairly easy exercise that is great for the front part of the shoulder and for a general arm, shoulder and upper back stretch.
- Use a thera-band or a stretchable elastic resistance band. For a greater challenge select one that has less “give”.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, with the band around your back, and under your armpits, or attached to a wall as in a gym.
- Hold the ends tightly by wrapping them around your hands.
- Keep your hands in line with your shoulders and push forward as though you were performing a push-up on the ground.
- Hold for one long count, then return slowly to your starting position. Repeat several times.
The Standing Push-Up Against a Wall
This is a bit more challenging but still easier than a standard push up. It also works your chest and shoulders in addition to your arms.
- Stand arm’s length from a wall.
- Extend your arms forward at shoulder height, and place your hands flat against the wall.
- Bend your elbows and press your body toward the wall as if doing a push-up.
- Make sure that your back stays straight.
- Straighten your arms and repeat.
- To make this more challenging, position your hands lower on the wall or on a table, with your legs further back.
The Reverse Push-Up/Modified Tricep Dip
This is a great exercise for the back of your triceps and shoulders.
- Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you.
- Place your arms beside your hips, with the palms of your hands flat on the floor.
- Lift your hips off the ground, keeping your shoulders back and down, and your elbows straight.
- Gently bend your elbows, to lower your body almost down to the floor, then straighten your elbows again to get back to your starting position, with your hips off the ground. Repeat several times.
The Reverse Push-Up from Bridge
This is a challenging exercise that requires back flexibility, but is a great way to work your back in addition other upper body muscles.
- Begin on your back with your knees bent, your arms bent, and both hands beside your head.
- Place your palms flat on the ground, with your fingers pointing toward your feet.
- Lift your body off the mat, using both your arms and legs until your back is arched, and your arms are straight.
- Slowly lower yourself back onto the mat by bending your arms and raise yourself again by straightening them.
Arm stretches are also important to maintain flexibility. Consider these, which can be done anywhere, any time:
- Raise and lower your arms in a controlled wave-like motion.
- The movements should be large and extend over, and then and behind your head, and then down in front of you
- Keep a straight posture and shoulders down at all times.
- Repeat several times with each arm and then both together.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart or seated on a floor with your back straight.
- Raise your left arm over your head and lean to the right.
- Make sure that you feel a stretch (not a strain) in your arm and armpit area.
- Hold for a few seconds, and return to center.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
- This also gives a great side stretch.
Every aspect of dancing adds to its beauty and enjoyment. So does every aspect of you… so, it is best not to neglect any part of you, even your arms.