Alright, guys, it’s time to lift some weight!
Male dancers need to be in top shape. Regardless if you are a soloist or a member of the corps (don’t get it? Click here!), you need to keep your body fit. A dancer performs lifts, jumps and other “tricks” that requires a lot of strength and agility.
Now, most of that strength you won’t get in the gym. Exercises in the studio are still the main way of practice and strengthening for any dancer, the gym is a supplement. But a very important supplement, nevertheless, especially when it comes to lifts. When done right, most lifts doesn’t require inhuman strength. The right technique helps a lot. (I will post something on partnering later, describing more of that). But you still have to get her up there, you still have to lift.
Usually, I do a gym-program that focuses mostly on shoulders, breast and arm-strength. I am not a big fan of gyms, and try to strengthen my abdomen, back and legs outside it. But increasing upper-body strength is just simply easiest done with a bar and some weights.
Apart from basic routines like bench- and shoulder-presses, I usually do an exercise that imitates the over-the-head lifts we perform a lot, with a shoulder-wide grip on the bar, and then a press from stomach-height to above the head.
Once in a gym, I also do crouches and abdominal strengthening exercises, but as I said, I try to do that a lot outside the gym, too.
One thing that is really important for the male dancer, is to make sure he doesn’t sway his back when lifting, and especially when lifting above the head. With a sway-back, you add a lot of pressure on the lower spine when lifting heavy above head, pressure that is going to hurt you, if not today, then definitely as time goes. And, more importantly, you are less stable with a sway-back, providing less security for the girl up there. Nobody is perfect (no, not even ballet-dancers), mistakes happens all the time. When lifted above your head, the girl is completely in your hands (pun intended)! It is your responsibility as a man to make sure she stays up there, and gets a smooth and controlled descent, no matter what. If you don’t control your own body, how are you going to take care of hers?
Therefore, strengthen your abdomen and back muscles tirelessly! It will help during lifts, but it will also provide a unique stability while dancing alone. Not to mention a six-pack to flaunt on the beach, which just is a third good reason to keep doing those sit-ups
Do you do any supplementary training?