Dancers know that choosing the right cross-training methods can improve their performance and increase the longevity of their careers. But as sports training has evolved, there are more options than ever. So what’s your best bet? If you’re looking to improve your level of fitness and want to see that carry over into your dancing, there’s one tool that’s highly effective: the kettlebell.
“Athleticism is strength and explosiveness, but also control and grace,” says Shawn Mozen, president of Agatsu, which introduced kettlebells in Canada and several other countries around the world. “Kettlebells are very athletic! You learn when to contract, when to relax; you also learn timing and instinct.”
Build Dynamic Strength With One Tool
As dancers, when we’re cross-training we need to consider whether a tool allows us to be dynamic with our movements. Kettlebells can build dance-specific strength by adding load to multidirectional and multiplanar motions. Without needing to change equipment, we can change levels and challenge our balance and coordination. From a single-arm front-racked squat to a goblet squat, we can perform similar movements yet engage different muscle groups. Performing HIIT sequences, such as Tabata, EMOTM (“every minute on the minute”) or AMRAP (“as many reps/rounds as possible”) with kettlebells can build stamina for those long rehearsal days and “7-to-smoke” battles. It’s the Swiss Army knife of fitness equipment!
Recovering is important for us to reap the benefits of workouts, and to practice at a high level. Although barbell training will make you feel strong, it puts a lot of stress on the nervous system and can take a few days to fully recover from.