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Cross-Training as a Dancer

As a dancer, your cross-training shouldn't be "fun." Period.

It's tempting to get sucked into the current trends -- the workouts that look cool & pretty. But if that's what you are using for probably aren't getting the benefits you actually need to be getting from your cross-training.

When I first started this Bulletproof Ballerina business 6 years ago, cross-training was still a very taboo concept for dancers. Now, almost everyone is doing it:

  • trainers creating ballet-based workouts for dancers
  • dancers doing fitness-y stuff
  • ballerinas performing dance moves with weights & balancing on bosu balls

But the problem with everyone jumping on board is that there are a lot option for cross-training right now. And you're bombarded by them almost constantly on social media with their pretty marketing & ballet-like workout posts. So sure, you are going to be drawn to fitness that looks beautiful and fun...especially if it resembles ballet or dance. Who wouldn't be? You're a dancer; you love to dance; of course you are going to be attracted to that stuff.

But that's not what your body needs in terms of cross-training.

Ever wonder why I don't post workouts with my clients or myself that often on Instagram? Because it's not all that exciting to watch. It feels f*ckin' fierce in your body... but it doesn't look exciting to the outside viewer. And that's exactly how your cross-training should be. It's not about putting on an outside show...true transformation comes from getting into your body and FEELING it work right down to every last fiber in your core.

That's why I have so much respect for the dancers that work with me one-on-one. What we do together is TOUGH and doesn't look fancy like the other dancer cross-training stuff you see these days. In other words, it's not Instagramable. But they show up, work hard consistently, and get results.

***Side note to my Bad Girl Ballerinas out there: You are fierce and dedicated...and I respect you;)

It's fine to do "creative" cross-training classes or workouts for the purpose of moving and having fun. But when it comes time to actually improve your body and its ability to perform at its peak, you need simple movements that allow you to work HARD. That kind of exercise is usually not fun and doesn't look all that spectacular. It doesn't make for an exciting post on Instagram. And, it definitely doesn't pass for your typical "ballet porn" that you find now-a-days plastered all over social media.

But that kind of exercise is exactly what allows you to work with the proper intensity while in complete control of your body. It builds strength and nuanced awareness through simple, focused, strategic movements. It may not be fun...but it's effective. And this is what gives you the power and ability to manipulate your body at your will...something that should sound very appealing to you as a dancer.

This is the kind of cross-training you should be doing as a dancer. Save the choreography & fun moves for the stage. Embrace the hard stuff. It's okay if it's not fun or pretty or "cool" looking. Let it be tough. You don't need much of it - a hardcore dose of intense, focused, intentional effort for 30 minutes once or twice a week is enough. So make it count.

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PC: Rachel Neville Photography