Dancer Workouts: The Core


Dancers rely on strong core muscles to perform their amazing feats. Today we’ll look at how you can build a dancer’s core through your workouts.

Dancing and Core Exercise

The muscles of your core are located in your trunk and pelvis. They play a number of important roles in balance and stability, not only in dancing but in everyday life.

The purpose of core exercises is to improve balance and stability, since stronger core muscles are more capable of performing this function.

Ballet in particular calls for very strong core muscles. Ballerinas work the muscles of their cores the hardest, because everything in ballet depends on balance.

The importance and prevalence of jumping in ballet is one of the more notable reasons dancers have to develop such strong cores. Before jumping, dancers breathe in, using their diaphragms to activate their core muscles. Their abs work together with their glutes to execute the jump and to support them when they land.

Because of the importance of having strong core muscles, ballerinas place a great deal of emphasis on working out their core muscles. It is not uncommon for them to do core exercises first.

With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at some good exercises, other than the widely-dreaded crunches, for developing a dancer’s core.

Exercises for a Dancer’s Core

Planks are a core workout staple exercise for a reason: they can help you get firmer, more toned abs. The plank position is like the pushup position, except you want to support your upper body on your bent forearms instead of your hands. Keep your body straight, and brace your core by contracting your abs.

If you are accomplished with planks and want to make them harder, try alternating them with pushups. You can also try plank jumping jacks, taking your feet and jumping them out to either side and back while keeping your upper body stable.



The pike sit up, or pike-up, is another dancer favorite. Begin by lying on your back, ideally on an exercise mat, arms extended above your head.

Now, breathe in and lift arms and legs together. The goal is to bring your hands to touch either your feet or your shins. Draw on your abs to accomplish this. Slowly lower your arms and legs back down.

The knee fold tuck is another good one to try. You will need a medicine ball or playground ball. Begin by sitting up, hands placed on the floor and knees bent with the ball between them.

Now, lift your knees until your shins are roughly parallel to the floor, and extend your arms. As you do, you will be drawing on your abs to support you.

Draw your knees in toward your shoulders, being sure to keep your upper body as still as possible. Bring your knees back to the starting position, and repeat as desired.

Exercises like these will help you to develop a good strong core for dancing. You might also ask your dance instructor for tips.

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