One of the best things about dance cardio workouts (besides the major mood and energy boost) is that you’re secretly working muscles you didn’t even know you had—all while bopping around to Beyonce. It’d be tough to find a single muscle group that dance workouts leave behind, but dancer abs sequences are no joke.
“Having a strong core helps you move better in everyday life, improves your posture, and helps protect your back,” says Katia Pryce, former pro dancer and the founder and CEO of New York-based fitness brand, DanceBody and live-streaming platform DanceBody Live. “The core is the center of your body, so having a strong core is important no matter what exercise you do.” However, while boring-old crunches and feels-like-hours-long planks might have a place in HIIT workouts, dance cardio tends to favor upright, combination moves that are threaded into longer sequences.
These functional movements more naturally mimic real life, and pros like Pryce think they have an edge on traditional abs moves. “What’s great about dancing is that you learn to use your core in every movement, even when you’re standing. You can plank and crunch until you’re blue in the face but there’s a lot more to a strong core, says Pryce. “Dancers learn how to engage and utilize the entire core in movement, and often hit those underutilized core muscles that other workouts sometimes forget.” Ready to get moving? Below, she gives us four standing abs exercises that will burn out your core—and expand your dance move repertoire—fast.
Try this four-move dancer’s abs workout
To start, you have to engage your core before doing anything else. “The first step to engaging your core while dancing is to put your hand on your navel and let out a sharp exhale, pulling your belly button toward your spine to engage your transverse abs,” Pryce says. This should feel more tense than it did before, and that’s when you know that your abs are engaged and you’re ready to get moving.
1. Showgirl twist: Start standing with one leg pointed in front of the other and hold your arms up in a V-shape. Next, simultaneously bend your arms, bringing your elbows together and tapping your knee with both elbows. Exhale as your leg comes up to engage your transverse abs. Repeat 24 times on each side.
2. Disco hip pull: Start in a wide stance, with one arm extended up and one arm to the side in an L-shape. Take your extended arm and pull in front of your chest while your hip rocks towards the same side. Return to start, and repeat for 24 reps or until you find your rhythm.
3. Salsa swivel: Start with your right foot back behind you and your left foot in front. Step your right foot forward transferring your weight into the right foot while swiveling your hip forward, engaging your right obliques. Repeat on each side 24 times.
4. Hip-hop pop: Start in a wide stance with bent knees and both hands in front of your chest, palms out. Pop your chest forward, pulling your elbows back and arching your back. Contract your upper body, and push your hands forward, pretending to push through water to create resistance. Repeat 24 times, and get low.
Want to keep up those dancer abs sequences? Click the video below to get started.
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