Want to know the secret to getting those long, lean, sculpted arms dancers have? Hint: the only piece of equipment you truly need is your own body! That's right, dance workouts, like the moves you do in DanceBody cardio and sculpt classes, are great arm workouts because you work all of the muscles with low weight and high repetition, which helps you build muscle endurance. Dancers are constantly aware of their posture, core, and back muscles with practically every movement they make.
Keep the tips below in mind for working your arms like a dancer and nailing those upper body moves in every DanceBody class.
3 Tips for Dancer Arms
Think long and strong
While you're performing any arm exercise, you want to keep your arms long at all time. So what exactly does that mean? Extend your energy all the way through the ends of your fingertips as you move. This focused movement will help to keep your arm muscles engaged and active, while also creating resistance - think that you are moving through water.
Extra credit: The majority of people (aka: self-declared ”non-dancers”) sometimes have a tough time feeling the ends of their arms or moving with resistance. This is why wearing our Dance Bands in class is key to helping you feel your own body - by force! Strap on these bangles, weighing a little less than 1 pound, and wear them during any DanceBody class or simply going about your day!
No “Trap Queens”
We say this often at the start of our Sculpt classes, as many of us hold our stress (physical and emotional!) in our shoulders and neck. Before you start any move or dance class, lift your shoulders all the way up to your ears - hold and squeeze them there - then release the tension and drop your shoulders. Perform this at least 5 times.
Also, practice rolling your shoulders forward, then back, engaging the lats (those large muscles in your back) and increasing you range of motion.
Finally, pretend that you have sandbags on each shoulder weighing them down so they can't creep up to your ears during your workout.
The Dancer 6-Pack is on the Back
The key to great posture and form is a super strong back! When doing any arm exercise, engage your back in order to maintain a neutral spine. Do this by pulling your belly button in towards your spine while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Imagine you have a pencil in between your shoulder blades, and you have to squeeze them tightly together to hold it in place.
Paying extra attention to your alignment will help you strengthen those smaller muscle groups in the back of your body, whether you’re doing dance cardio or sculpt exercises. Chest up, shoulders down, and keep those ribs buttoned together!
What the hell are “D-Weights?”
So why are D-Weights important? These weights are designed so that you don’t have to grip the weight tightly, causing excess tension in your neck and shoulders. You are meant to reach through these weights, almost like a ballerina at the barre, to create energized length in your arm movements. This form allows the proper muscles to engage in the way that dancers naturally move. And, most importantly, never drop your arms until the song ends!