Dance Fitness: Training Outside of Class

Dancing is a tremendous way to get and stay in shape. It is an effective cardio workout that incorporates strength and conditioning, and when done regularly, can yield impressive results. For most however, dancing is more than just a way to stay fit, it’s their passion and something those dancers want to improve on outside of class.

Dance FitnessSo, what can you do to get dance ready?

There is a variety of strength and conditioning exercises you can engage in while you’re not in class that can help you prepare physically and mentally for dance class and dance performances. They great thing about many of these exercises, is there is not equipment involved and these workouts can be performed virtually anywhere.

Dynamic Stretching:

Stretching is perhaps one of the most important aspects of your workout and training. It helps reduce the chance of injuries and is a great way to warm up your muscles. However, there are types of stretches that can give you better results and increase your performance. Static stretching is great, but it doesn’t warn your muscles up as efficiently as dynamic stretching. Considering dancing is a sport that requires continuous movement and bursts of energy, dynamic stretching is a much better fit. Dynamic stretching uses stretches that are dynamic, or have you moving as you stretch. It is an effective core warm-up routine and engages muscles that you will use during your dance routine. This type of stretching has demonstrated the capability of improving athletic performance and strength. compiled a list of dynamic stretches that is tailored for dancers:

  • Heel walks (Achilles’ Tendon, calves)
  • Toe walks (Calves, foot)
  • Knee to chest with releve
  • Bottom kicks (Quadriceps)
  • Hamstring Kick out with flexed foot
  • Inch worm
  • Leg swings (front, back, and side – hip range of motion)
  • Frankenstein kicks and swing through (Hamstrings – leg range of motion)
  • Lie on belly, attitude legs back (Back, hips, gluteus)
  • Spider walk (Full body)
  • High passe saute


There are a variety of cardio workouts that will improve your overall cardio. You can do this by performing 30 minutes of cardiovascular activities at a low-impact, two to three times a week. You will notice an improvement in your lung capacity and your overall cardiovascular health. Some cardio exercises you can perform include:

  • Running – Definitely the most accessible cardio workout, because you can run practically anywhere. It is high-impact but allows for more natural movements. Treadmills can make certain muscles work harder. Running without a treadmill can provide a better balance of engaged muscles.
  • Elliptical – This is great for a low impact and high intensity cardio session. However, it does not allow for natural movement due to your feet being planted, which can cause strain on your ligaments if overused.
  • Cycling – No impact and low intensity. It is important to have your seat at the proper height for maximum results and safety.
  • Swimming – Absolutely no impact and is great for your upper body.


Tabata is a high intensity interval training method that has demonstrated great results. The session will last four minutes, but it will most likely be the toughest four minutes you will experience as far as conditioning and strength training goes. You will workout for 20 seconds, then you get 10 seconds of rest for a total of 8 rounds. The workout requires you to perform at your highest level to yield results and the four-minute workout can focus on exercises such as push-ups, bodyweight squats, burpees, and mountain climbers. There are a variety of variations and these can be completed quickly, while still giving you results.

A Step Above

There are a variety of exercises you can perform that will help boost your strength and cardio. It is a matter of finding a routine that works best for you. There are many other strength and conditioning exercises you can utilize such as yoga, that will improve your cardio and help make you stronger.

A Step Above Dance Academy is home to regional and national award-winning choreography and offers top of the line dance education for students of all ages. For more information, call today at 630-326-9600.