Published: 01/19/2022By Jillian Warren
It’s a common misconception that if you’re a dancer and you lift weights, you’ll get bulky and lose flexibility which will take away the petite aesthetic that a dancer “should” display. But, as someone who has taken classes their whole life and minored in the art form, I can tell you that dance is not for the weak. Dancers of all levels can benefit from weight training as it is the perfect tool for building strength.
Removing the “Bulk” Stigma
For many women, the thought of lifting weights carries a stigma with it that you will instantly turn into She-Hulk by pumping some iron. This is completely a myth. While yes, you can obviously get massive and muscular with the right workout regime and barbell game, this is in no way the only results you can receive. In fact, lifting weights itself will generally do the opposite by burning more calories and shaping your body opposed to bulking it up. Dancers shouldn’t fear lifting weights as it can greatly enhance their body’s structure and improve their movement skill set.
Lifting Will Create a Stronger Foundation
Dancing requires a ton of core strength to help keep balanced and stabilized at all times. And do you know what can build core strength? Simply doing barbell squats and deadlifts will immensely improve core strength. Plus, these aren’t moves that are ONLY directed at your abdominal muscles - much like crunches. Each affects several muscles, ensuring more areas of your body are working hard too.
More Strength Built Means Less Injuries
Serious dancers may dance for seven or more hours a day, meaning their bodies undergo very intense training throughout the week. Without proper strength and muscle, injuries are more likely to occur.
In a study done by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, professional ballerinas were separated into two groups: Those who did strength training and those who didn’t. Over a 12-week period, each group performed a challenging dance routine and it was observed that while the control group’s torque levels remained low afterward, the strength training group had an increased torque level. Also, the group who participated in strength training had a better knee extension which will ultimately help in the prevention of a hyperextension injury.
Ability to Perform More Demanding Movements
Dancing takes a lot of energy and one efficient way to build endurance and stamina is through weight training. By lifting lighter weights with more repetitions, your body will start to feel like it can withstand more exertion for longer periods of time. This also means that certain movements that require more of your energy won’t be as difficult to perform, since you will have built up the proper strength to handle the demands.
Dancing may be seen as graceful and beautiful, but it is a sport that requires a lot of training to keep it looking that way. Strength training, either with weights or resistance techniques, can help improve your dance skills. So, whether you are looking to cut a rug on the dance floor or planning to leap with the pros, keep in mind the power of lifting and how it can move your body to the next level.