As a dancer, we spend a lot of time in the studio honing our skills and training ourselves to perform. However, I felt like I could do more. I wanted to take my training to the next level as an athlete — because we are athletes.
Ever since I have started training seriously in the gym, I have noticed a vast improvement in my execution, performance, stamina and confidence. I was training my entire body to perform, rather than just the muscles that were being engaged in practice. I learned to combine them to get the “best of both worlds.”
I have received a request from claddaghstrong and several others to discuss some of the exercises I do in the gym. I decided to list a few that focus on our legs — the most crucial part of the body in Irish dance.
I’d like to mention that this is a mix between numerous fitness videos created by experts in the industry, dance exercises and, of course, adapting Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s own workout (with lighter weights for obvious reasons). So please feel free to do your own research to find exercises and workouts that work best for you.
1) Calf Raises - Smith Machine
While some people choose to do these on the stairs to use their own body weight, I choose to do them on the smith machine so I can use much heavier weights in a controlled environment. I do these to help get extra power and height in my jumps.
Quads and Hamstring
2) Leg Press
This is a great way to target your hamstrings, quads and glutes. I was also able to recover from my quad injury after nationals last year by doing these exercises. I would recommend starting at a light and gradually adding more as you continue doing these. Personally, I press about 290 pounds (this includes the weighted bar) and do 3 sets of 10 reps.
You should never underestimate the power of a good lunge. You can easily add weight to make them more difficult.
4) Platypus Walks
These are a great way to work your inner thighs while perfect your turnout. My mom found these on YouTube from the Victoria’s Secret Angels trainer. It also makes more a great laugh if you are working out with a partner — we have many hilarious videos of us doing these forwards and backwards.
I will warn you now — these are tough. Luckily, you can start these are a lower height and gradually work your way up to increase the difficulty. It’s also an incredible “mind over matter” exercise where you have to focus. If you psych yourself out, you won’t be able to do the jump. That being said, I would recommend having someone stand in front of the boxjump to spot you. Using a spotter can ease your doubts and ensure they grab you if you start to lean backwards.
6) Weighted Box Walk-Ups
Using the same boxjump mentioned above, doing walk ups using weights. This is a lower impact cardio move that still gives you a killer leg workout.
7) Frog Jumps
As awkward as these can be, they are an awesome way to mix a jump lunge with a squat. It also engages your core and forces you to use you center of gravity to balance.
If you have a spotter, you can use the squat racks. If you don’t have a spotter, use the assisted squat machine. Start with a lighter weight and ease into the heavier weights as you get stronger.
Tricks to the Gym
I would recommend having a gym partner to go with you. As partners, you can push one another to succeed and prevent each other from giving up.
Despite training with two gym partners, I always have music playing in one of my ears via my bluetooth headset. Adding music to your workout can make all the difference in the world… especially when it’s an upbeat and powerful song that makes you want to push through your sets.
For those of you that are attending or about to attend university, I would recommend checking out your school’s fitness facility. It’s a nice way to kill a few hours between classes without losing a chunk of your evening.
As I mentioned before, these are just a snippet of what I do. I hope this helps!
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TTS is a subgroup of Girls’ Generation from SM Entertainment. Subgroup members include Taeyeon,Tiffany, and Seohyun, and their name comes from the first letter of each girls’ name. JYP, founder and CEO of JYP Entertainment, liked the idea of the subgroup name and hence formed a new subgroup from TWICE members: STD. Members of the subgroup include Sana (leader and main vocalist), Tyuzu (maknae, vocalist, visual, and dancer), and Dahyun (rapper and dancer). When deciding on the order of the letters, JYP chose it to be STD because he “wanted to give the infamous name a new and better connotation”. Promotions of the new subgroup are expected to begin after wrapping up the group’s latest comeback, Cheer Up. Their debut concept will go along the lines of the athletic theme but will focus more on intense sports. Based off of their concept, they plan to debut with the song “Protection”.
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