Cross Training. You’ve probably heard the term before, but do you know what it means and why it matters to you as a dancer? Well, cross training simply refers to training in a sport or activity other than the one which is your main focus. By doing so, you improve the skills and fitness needed for your main activity. In our case, it means doing activities other than dance to supplement your dance training. We’re going to explain why you should cross train, and how you can get started.
What & Why?
Why should you bother with cross training? Well, it’s a great way to continue to improve your fitness, gain skills, and reach goals. We all have different natural strengths and weaknesses. No matter how great your teachers are, or how many classes you take, sometimes there are going to be things that you need to focus on in your own time in order to see improvement.
Cross Training can also be a fun way to switch things up. You love to dance, obviously. But sometimes doing an activity without the pressure to reach an elite level can be a welcome change. You don’t need to stress about how good you are at your cross training activity: you’re doing it to help you dance! Choose something fun, and don’t take it too seriously. CoreDance Founder & Director Geneen Georgiev loves keeping her cross training playful, with monkey bar workouts at the beach, and martial arts!
How can you implement cross training into your already busy life? After all, you’re already at the studio 5 nights a week, and you have school, friends, and family. Our advice? Just add one session a week, about 1 hour. Involve your friends and family- go for a bike ride, or a Sunday hike!
During holidays and breaks from dance, add more to keep yourself in peak condition. We all need a break from dance (even just a little one) so Christmas, Spring Break, or Summer Vacation are perfect time to add a little something different.
What to do?
So what sorts of cross training are useful for a dancer? Well, that depends on what you want to get out of it.
Do you find that you’re struggling with flexibility? Perhaps a yoga class would be perfect for you. Are your teachers telling you that you need to work on your core? Try going to the gym or focusing on strength training at home: standing on a balance board or working with a stability ball can be extremely beneficial in gaining core strength, as well as balance.
Some other suitable choices for dancers include pilates, swimming, biking, hiking, running, aerial silks, and weight training. Figure out what it is that you need to focus on, and find an activity that complements it!
Tips & Reminders
Choose activities that are specific to the style of dance you do, and what you need to improve on. If you want to improve your stamina, focus on cardio like swimming, biking, or running. If you want to increase your flexibility, choose something along the lines of yoga or pilates. If you’re looking at overall strength and fitness, hit the gym or add some resistance/weight training at home.
Remember that cross training should be supplemental to your dance training; it shouldn’t take over, or cause you to be tired during your dance classes. Keep it fun, and don’t over do it!