Common Mistakes in Dancer Cross Training

Common Mistakes in Cross Training for Artistic Athletes

So we’ve taught you how to start implementing a program in a prior post, but now let’s be sure you avoid these common mistakes!

To read that post if you missed it, click here.

Here’s a list of what we see most often, but for more details or questions, contact us any time!

  • Being Too Complicated or Complex
    • You don’t need crazy equipment or movements to see results. Actually you will likely benefit much more by keeping it simple. That doesn’t mean keep it easy though.
    • Find the movements that work for you, that you feel correctly, that you struggle with, and build those until you own them!
    • Then it’s time to find some progressions to continue to challenge yourself
  • Staying in your End Ranges
    • Most Artistic Athletes spend a ton of time working flexibility and in stretched positions. This is your end range of motion, meaning near the limits of your mobility.
    • The problem is, when you never work in mid ranges (think more neutral, parallel work), you will never be able to increase neuromuscular control or strength to your full potential. Our body is most comfortable and capable in mid ranges.
    • By building your mid range, you improve the mind body connection and will see drastic improvements in your end range control.
    • Plus you increase risk of injury when doing too much end range work. We shoot for about 60-75% of our cross training in or near mid ranges!
    • Strengthen the mid range to improve the end range!
  • Going Totally Solo
    • This is a weird piece of advice for a guide to do it yourself right? If you’re having trouble understanding or making sense of all this information though, it’s time for some help.
    • Maybe you meet with a trainer for a single session to review form, shoot some messages to those of social media like us, or find some way to add a bit of knowledge to assist yourself. This could be books, webinars, or trying out new programs .
    • We’ve got a special offer for you that may help if you need to try something easy to wrap your head around all of this.

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  • Sticking to the Same Movements too Long
    • If you are not feeling the exercise where you want or just not enjoying it, I don’t care who says it’s the best. It’s not the best for you. Move on to a new exercise that you enjoy and feel better!
    • Sometimes this may just be sending a form video to a coach like us to help you modify the movement or it may be searching for entirely new movements!
  • Not Pushing or Challenging Yourself
    • Artistic Athletes have some of the highest will power and pain tolerances we’ve ever worked with. Yet, when cross training, you very commonly hold back.
    • For your body to adapt (think get better to meet new standards and demands), it has to be challenged. Be sure you are making each movement adequately hard.
    • A good guide is saying you could literally not complete another 3-4 repetitions of the movement because your muscles are tired.
    • By the end of the workout you should be tired and have a bit of muscle soreness. This doesn’t mean it’s so tough you can go to rehearsal, just enough that you know you did something.
    • We do not recommend you go to absolute failure/exhaustion every time, but for strength moves, you should get close to this level a few times a week/month.
  • Replicating Dance Movements
    • This is one of our biggest pet peeves! Doing dance moves isn’t cross training, no matter how many weights, cables, bands, and wobble boards you add.
    • Really, your likely just making you technique worse. When you arabesque with weights on your shoulders you shift your center of gravity, making your muscles work different than they typically should. Add a wobble board at it gets even worse. Your body starts to learn these positions and can lead to shifting your weight inappropriately during dance.
    • Plus, it’s just not beneficial.
    • Break the movements down to their component parts, then you can focus to work the glutes, shoulders, etc. in better positions with more focus!
    • You will build your technique from the ground up, strategically, rather than trying to do it a 1,000 different ways.
  • Only Doing Tiny Movements for Control of Smaller/Intrinsic Muscles
    • Yes we love keeping your toe strength and pelvic tilts in the mix, but you should also do some big movements as well. Think lunges, step ups, pull-ups, and med ball slams!
    • There’s a few main reasons for this. The two biggest we will cover here are developing coordination and allowing greater progression.
    • When you work the body only in isolation (think foot work with theraband), you never make those muscles work in conjuction with the rest of the body. So this has very little carry over into your dance.
    • Also it’s very hard to continue to challenge your body in small positions. It’s easy to plateau and find yourself doing the same color band, the same exercises, the same number of times. There is no benefit to this.
    • By taking that control and combing it with challenging moves that engage your whole body, you can continue to progress for years to come!
  • Too Much Variety in your Plan
    • Especially when you are starting out, you should slowly update your exercises and only a few at a time.
    • By changing all the movements entirely, weekly or even more often, you don’t give your body anything to adapt to, Just like you would not rehearse a new piece a single time, you should not train a movement a single time.
    • To keep it exciting, you can change tidbits, like longer hold, moving quicker/slower, etc. but keeping to much change doesn’t confuse your muscles or any other made up strategy. It actually just decrease the benefits of training. You need some time to get comfortable and be able to push harder in the movement.
    • You want to develop some proficiency in the movements, progress them a bit, then move to a new challenge.
    • If you do get bored easy, try to pick a few full body movements to focus on, then add what’s called supplemental work to keep varied. This could be balance moves, core work, and other smaller control type exercises.

Hopefully you found all these tips helpful. Reach out anytime for more details!

If you’re ready to try a program but not yet ready for a 12 week or longer, try out our Glute Tune-Up program!

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Group Information and Equipment Guidelines

Review the information below to find out which track is the right one for you. You can also watch this video that walks you through the options.

Once you have chosen your track you can submit the form at the bottom of this page. Select one and only one option, please.

Play Video

Group 1:

If you have access to equipment such as free weights, any cardio equipment (rower, stairs, treadmill, bike, etc.), and other things common in a fitness center, “Group 1” is for you!

  • You could also run rather than use cardio equipment
  • Options to include steps, med balls, etc. included, but these are optional

Group 2:

If you’re primarily doing this at home, with resistance bands (though a few small weights can easily be added if you have them), but still can use stairs, bike, run, or have some cardio equipment access, select “Group 2”

Group 3:

Lastly, If you don’t like to run, and don’t have access to any cardio (no stairs, bikes, or lap pools) then the last option is for you! “Group 3”

  • You will still get cardio, but in the form of exercises, you can do in a single room. This option was made specifically for COVID and people who can’t easily get outside.

Group 4:

This program is made specifically for the demands of male dancers, taking into account some extra work for upper body to support partnering, extra stability for the lower back, etc. This option is similar to group 1 in terms of equipment need.

  • If you need a band only option, please consider the co-ed options of group 2 or 3.” If you need a band only option, please consider the co-ed options of group 2 or 3.

No track is better than the other, you will get results regardless. You can find more information about the equipment requirements for each track by scrolling down.

Equipment Guidelines

Required

Weights:

  • Medium to heavy dumbbells (anywhere from 10-50 lbs depending on experience)

Bands:

  • Strong Resistance bands that can be short loops or long for different exercises
  • Plus an anchor to hold it in place
  • Cable machine would also work

Cardio:

  • Either access to equipment (any of the following: pool, bike, treadmill, rower, stair stepper, elliptical)
  • Or space to run, actual stairs, or a bike a safe space to ride it

Recommended

Squat Rack and/or Suspension Trainer

  • Squat Rack and barbell could be used instead of suspension trainer (not just for putting the weight on your back, but also movements where you may hold on the the weight in the rack)
  • If neither available, band alternatives are provided

Misc:

  • Stability Ball
    • Sliders or a towel on smooth floor can work as well
  • Box/Step/Sturdy bench to step or jump on

Optional

Weights:

  • Medicine balls
  • Kettlebells can be used or substituted for other weights
  • Squat rack and barbell for adding increased challenge to some movements

Required

Bands:

  • Strong Resistance bands that can be short loops or long for different exercises
    • Plus an anchor to hold it in place
  • Cable machine would also work

Cardio:

  • Either access to equipment (any of the following: pool, bike, treadmill, rower, stair stepper, elliptical)
  • Or space to run, actual stairs, or a bike a safe space to ride it

Recommended

Misc:

  • Stability Ball
    • Sliders or a towel on smooth floor can work as well
  • Box/Step/Sturdy bench to step or jump on

Optional

Weights:

  • If you get dumbbells, barbells, etc. you can easily add them into this program. 
  • Medicine balls

Required

Bands:

  • Strong Resistance bands that can be short loops or long for different exercises
  • Plus an anchor to hold it in place
  • Cable machine would also work

Cardio:

  • Due to COVID-19 some people have to space to go outdoors or access to equipment. This program will take away traditional cardio work, and replace it with exercises you can do with a band or just bodyweight in any room. 
  • If you enjoy running, biking, or swimming (and have access to it regularly) we recommend group 2)

Recommended

Misc:

  • Stability Ball
    • Sliders or a towel on smooth floor can work as well
  • Box/Step/Sturdy bench to step or jump on

Optional

Weights:

  • If you get dumbbells, barbells, etc. you can easily add them into this program. 
  • This program is a better option if don’t often have access
  • Medicine balls

Group 4: NSNH Men

Required

Weights:

  • Medium to heavy dumbbells (anywhere from 10-50 lbs depending on experience)

Bands:

  • Strong Resistance bands that can be short loops or long for different exercises
  • Plus an anchor to hold it in place
  • Cable machine would also work

Cardio:

  • Either access to equipment (any of the following: pool, bike, treadmill, rower, stair stepper, elliptical)
  • Or space to run, actual stairs, or a bike a safe space to ride it

Recommended

Squat Rack and/or Suspension Trainer

  • Squat Rack and barbell could be used instead of suspension trainer (not just for putting the weight on your back, but also movements where you may hold on the the weight in the rack)
  • If neither available, band alternatives are provided

Misc:

  • Stability Ball
    • Sliders or a towel on smooth floor can work as well
  • Box/Step/Sturdy bench to step or jump on

Optional

Weights:

  • Medicine balls
  • Kettlebells can be used or substituted for other weights
  • Squat rack and barbell for adding increased challenge to some movements