Pilates for Dancers Best Exercise #3

White House Pilates is back with another tip! I have to admit, this exercise is one of my favorites.

A flat board that replaces the foot bar on the reformer. You’re springing horizontally while engaging your core to initiate the jump rather than your legs. The lighter the spring, the more your abdominals have to work to stabilize your pelvis and back.

Upon take off- the abdominals initiate almost automatically to counter-balance the legs in the air. Think of pulling your navel down to the spine and draw it up towards the ribs. This exercise is excellent for teaching dance students to properly pull their weight up away from the floor and therefore, helping increase the height and form of the jump.

The landing is all about control. Rolling through the feet and getting the heels down in between jumps is crucial for injury prevention. Controlling the landing of your jumps is often the hardest thing to perfect in a dancer’s performance of petite/grande allegro. Dance teacher’s are always saying, “you should land your jumps with little to no sound at all.”

Increase your abdominal strength: While jumping curl your head and shoulder blades off the carriage of the reformer. This will help you engage your upper abominals and make you work harder!
Get Creative! Play around with seeing how many ballet jumps you can simulate while on the jump board. Most likely, you will master aentrechat six in no time!

 

Pilates for Dancers Best Exercise #2

I knew you couldn’t wait for the White House Pilates tip! Click on the photo below to learn the next ‘Pilates for Dancers Best Exercise #2.’

Leg Circles on the Reformer!

The very best exercise for strengthening the inner and outer thighs, increasing range of motion in the hip joints, and stabilization of the core.

Place both feet in the straps of the reformer and start small with you circles. Quality over quantity! Make sure you can stabilize your neutral spine before you make your circles bigger. Complete 10-12 circles keeping your tail bone anchored when you feet come up to the ceiling. Then reverse the direction.

 

  • Challenge your core work and stabilization by using the lightest resistance spring. (Peak Pilates Reformer= 1 blue spring, or on a Balanced Body Reformer= 1 yellow spring)
  • Work your inner and outer thighs and increase the stretch in your hamstrings by using a really heavy spring. (Peak Pilates= 2 yellow springs & 1 blue, Balanced Body= 1 red spring, 1 blue spring)

Leg Circles on the Mat!

 

  • Lie on your back on a yoga mat and pull your right leg into your chest. Leave your left leg lengthened down on the floor below you. Stretch your right leg and point your toe straight up the the ceiling. Your arms are by your side (more advanced) or out to the sides like a “T” (beginner).
  • Imagine a marble is balancing in the center of your neutral pelvis and don’t let your marble roll at all. You do this by stabilizing your torso by engaging your core.
  • Take your toe across your body and circle it down, around, and up. Exhale during the hardes part of the circle (most likely when the toe is farthest from your center.) Complete 8 circles then reverse the direction and repeat the exercise on the other leg.
  • Do NOT let your left hip move or lift off the mat at all. The point is to increase range of motion in your hips using the stabilization of the core. If your core is not stabilized you are not doing the exercise correctly and your core is not working.
  • Stabilization Tip! Imagine your foot on the floor is being pulled out away from the crown of your head. You want to feel like a rubber band being stretched from head to toe. Keep this line of energy throughout the circles and you will have a better foundation for stabilization.

 

White House Pilates – Pilates For Dancers

I’m proud to bring you an awesome series by White House Pilates called ‘Pilates For Dancers’! In the next few weeks, White House Pilates will exposes you to the Top 3 Best Pilates Exercises For Dancers.

Footwork on the Pilates Reformer

1st Position (Pilates V), Parallel, 2nd Position (Inner and Outer Rotation) and Releves, (Calf Raises).

1st Position (Pilates V), Parallel, 2nd Position (Inner and Outer Rotation) and Releves, (Calf Raises)
All positions of footwork on the Pilates Reformer are excellent for building ankle strength and stabilization for Pointe. Foot work exercises can also reduce the risk of injuries occurring in the feet, ankles, knees, and hips.

Core Conditioning With Balance Ball: Part 3

 

Can’t get enough core conditioning? Here are four advanced exercises to add to your strength training regiment.
1. Plank

Set-up:
– Kneel with the toes tucked
– Forearms rest on the ball, shoulder width apart
Abdominals are engaged, creating a straight line through the body
Action:
– Press forearms into the ball to stabilize
– Keep abdominals strong
– Straighten knees
Reps:
– 3 reps, hold as long as possible (3 times a week)

2. Rolling Half Plank

Set-up:
– Kneel with the toes pointed
– Forearms rest on the ball, shoulder width apart, hands clasped
Abdominals are engaged, creating a straight line through the body
Action:
– Press forearms into the ball to stabilize
– Keep abdominals lifted
– Stretch arms out to roll the ball forward
– Pull elbows back and return to starting position
Reps:
3 reps, 10x – 20x (three days a week)


3. Reverse Plank Pull In’s

Set-Up:
Arms are shoulder width apart with hands flat
– Ball is under the legs, as far back as comfortable
Abdominals are engaged creating a straight line from head to toes
Action:
– Maintain a long back with abdominals pulled up
– Draw the the knees towards the chest
– Extend the legs back to the starting position
Reps:
3 reps, 5x – 10x (three days a week)

4. Jackknife

 Set-up:
Arms are shoulder width apart with hands flat
– Ball is under the legs, as far back as comfortable
Abdominals are engaged creating a straight line from head to toes
Action:
– Press hands into the ground
– Pull up strong in the abdominals
– Lift the sit-bones into the air while rolling the ball to the body
– Reach the feet back to return to the starting position
Reps:
3 reps, 5x – 10x (three days a week)


 

Core Conditioning With Balance Ball: Part 2

 

Here’s more great exercise with the balance ball and improve your stability!


1. Ab Knee Lifts
Set-up:
-Lie on the ground
-Knees bent and placed on each side of the ball
-Lay on Back
-Hands behind head
Action:
-Engage abs
-Squeeze ball
-Bend knees towards chest
Reps:
20x (3 days a week)


2. Ab Pelvis Lifts
Set-up:
-Lie on the ground
-Knees bent and placed on top of ball
-Lay on Back
-Arms down near your sides
Action:
-Engage abs
-Roll up to a bridge (starting with the tailbone)
-Pressing heels into ball, stretch legs out and in (maintain bridge)
Reps:
10x (3 days a week)

 


3. Ab Pelvis Lifts Variation
Set-up:
-Lie on the ground
-Knees bent and placed on top of ball
-Lay on Back
-Arms down near your sides
Action:
-Engage abs
-Roll up to a bridge (starting with the tailbone)
-Lift one leg into the air
-Pressing heels into ball, stretch legs out and in (maintain bridge)
Reps:
5x right then left (3 days a week)


 

Core Conditioning With Balance Ball: Part 1

 

Are you looking for new core strengthening ideas? Try these great exercise with the balance ball and improve your stability!
1. Full Curl 
Set-up:
-Feet near wall
-Sit at the 45° mark
-Lay Back 
-Hands behind head

Action:
-Engage abs
-Lead with the top of the head to curl up and forward (maintain the curl)
-Roll back down into the ball from lower to upper body

Reps:
20x (3 days a week)
2. Side Curl

2. Side Curl
Set-up:
-Feet near wall
-Sit at the 45° mark
-Lay on side (upper body lays over the top of the ball)
-Hands behind head

Action:
-Engage abs
-Lead with top of the head to curl up and over, towards the hip (maintain the curl)
-Roll back down into the ball from lower to upper body

Twist:
-Engage abs
-Lead with the top of the head to curl up and over, towards the hip (maintain the curl)
-Twist upper body so the upper body is parallel to the ground
Reps:
10x regular 10x twist
(3 days a week)
3. Arching Curl

3. Back Curl
Set-up:
-Feet into wall
-Stomach at the 45° mark
-Lay on the top of the ball
-Hands behind head

Action:
-Engage abs
-Lead with the top of the head to arch back
-Roll back into the ball from lower to upper body
Twist:
-At the top of the arch
twist upper body right then left (slow)
Reps:
10x regular 10x twist
(3 days a week)
Looking for a Balance Ball Retailer? Here are a few nationwide and online stores to choose from. (Click on name to view product)