Dancing, and in particular belly dancing, is a gentle and low impact way of exercising, but many don’t realise just how much strength you actually need for it. Yes you can perform many of the moves with low intensity and relying on the benefit of moving, and therefore not having to hold a position for long enough to challenge your muscles, but it just becomes so much more fun once you can switch your muscles on and actually control the movements full flow! Also, it adds a totally different quality of movement to your dancing, and it’s often the thing that sets even high level dancers apart.
I am personally not a gym bunny, and know that many other dancers aren’t either, but it’s nevertheless important to incorporate some kind of cross training into your schedule. I became much more aware of this after having my son in 2016, but any kind of injury or strain on the body (like obviously having a child is) really calls for additional training.
During my pregnancy my abs split and even 3 years later I’m still working on the recovery of them. Scar tissue from abdominal surgery also means muscles will have to be reconditioned and neurological pathways rebuild as many will have been cut. In other words, you will need to think much more about what muscles you are using when performing certain moves and this requires brain as well as muscle power.
So if your core isn’t quite as strong as you would like, you are recovering from an injury, or simply are looking for a gentle yet effective exercise you can start doing to work on this, then check out my video on a few basic yet highly effective reconditioning core exercises.
Once you have built your strength you can progress to one of my favourite core exercises, which can also be done gentle, but still is very effective and really challenges your core. Watch the video here.
As always, please be mindful when doing these exercises and listen to your own body as well as GP or other health care worker. If you’re suffering from diastasis recti (abdominal weakness and separation) you should be ok to do the basic version, but do follow the advice given to you by health care professionals as all bodies and injuries are different.
The exercise is all about making your brain switch the different muscles on automatically, as well as to strengthen them enough to make this happen, so take your time to follow each movement through. You should have a slight micro bend in your elbows, but this may not be very clear on the video.
Happy practising and don’t forget that it’s better to do a few high quality ones every day than loads once a week.
Happy and strong dancing always…
Did you miss my last post? Read it here: Rumba belly dance fusion