Competition season is around the corner. The smell of hairspray is in the air… It’s time to break out the new routines, jump in your JJ Jumper and hit the stage. While competition and conventions can make for a long, stressful and exhausting weekend, it’s important to keep your body in check in order to ensure you’re delivering your best performance and avoiding injury.
The secret? A thorough warm-up that targets every area of the body!
A solid warm-up creates a foundation to achieve peak performance on the stage and provides a variety of benefits to dancers:
- Increases heart rate to warm up the muscles of the body.
- Activates key muscle groups to pull the body into proper alignment, therefore avoiding movement compensations and misalignment from tightness and/or weakness during performance.
- Fires up the core for stability, providing a more stable base that allows for mobility of the limbs in motion.
- Relieves the mental stress and anxiety associated with live performance.
In addition, for competition dancers, the start and stop nature of competition weekends makes a thorough warm-up an absolute necessity for injury prevention.
Try this Quick 5-minute routine beforE CURTAIN:
1.) Bottoms-Up Squats
How-To: Squat down and bring your elbows to the tops of your knees, hinging forward from your hips with your chest up and fingers laced. Straighten your legs to a soft knee as your torso falls downward towards your thighs. Return to original low squat position. Repeat 10-15x.
What It Works: Warms up the hamstrings, glutes and lower back.
2.) Pocket Planks
How-To: Find a low plank position on your forearms. Remember to draw your belly button to your spine, squeeze your inner thighs together and engage your lower abs and glutes. Slowly pick up your right arm and reach underneath yourself to touch where your left pocket would be. Return to forearm plank position and repeat the movement with your left arm. Repeat 20x, alternating.
What It Works: Fires up your core and obliques, with emphasis on stabilizing the opposite side of the body from the moving limb (mimics contralateral stability required for balancing on your standing leg!
3.) Classic Push-Up
How-To: Plant your hands on the floor a little wider than shoulder distance apart and step back to a high plank position. Bend your arms as you lower your upper body down to the floor, leading with your chest. Press the floor away with emphasis on drawing your shoulder blades down your spine, squeezing your belly button towards your spine and tucking your tailbone downward to fire up the core. Repeat 10-15x.
*JJ Tip! Need to modify? Drop your knees to the floor and try this exercise on your knees.
What It Works: You can’t go wrong with a classic! Push-ups are a dynamic movement that work everything from your upper body to your abdominals.
4.) Dancer Skaters
How-To: Start with your right leg back in b-plus position. Brush your right foot to the side to initiate a glissade jumping movement. As you land, bring your left leg back to a long, turned out 4th position / curtsy lunge with the right leg forward. Focus on maintaining your turnout throughout the jump. Repeat to the left – complete 20 glissade lunges right and left, alternating.
What It Works: This move will not only wake up your rotators, but get that heart rate up!
Repeat the above routine 1-3x circuit style for a warm up suited for high platinum champions!