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Understanding the Importance of Core Stability

The Importance of Core Stability


Core stability plays a pivotal role in a dancer’s ability to execute movements gracefully. From controlled developpés to powerful jetés, flexibility and mobility is simply not enough to make these movements seem effortless.

 

A stable core includes having strong abdominals, obliques and lower back muscles which are essential in providing support and control. These muscles act as a stabilizing force, enabling dancers to maintain proper alignment and poise, while relieving tension in other parts of the body.

 

What are some benefits of a stable core?


Benefit 1: Better control over movements

Good care stability translates into better mobility and balance when performing more complex dance techniques, such as pirouettes, jumps and pointe work. During pointe work, having a stable core can take the pressure off the legs and feet, holding the body up and maintaining poise, reducing risks of ankle and knee injuries. Proper posture also allows better balance when doing pirouettes and balancing on demi pointe.

 

Benefit 2: Reduced risk of injuries

Core muscles are activated when standing, turning or balancing. Especially for dancers with hypermobility, who have looser ligaments and are predisposed to injury, strengthening the core can better support joints and body structures, reducing the risk of injuries in the hips, back and knees.

 

Poor core stability can have detrimental effects on a dancer’s body. Lack of sufficient core support can cause dancers to overcompensate using other muscle groups, resulting in tension and muscle imbalances. Without adequate core support, dancers may experience more strain on their lower back muscles and develop tight hip flexors, causing compression of the spine.


Thus, strengthening the core muscles is crucial, to allow dancers to better withstand the physical demands of training and performance, and promoting long term musculoskeletal health.


Here are some simple exercises you can do to strengthen different core muscles.


Exercise 1: Dead Bug



  1. Lie on your back and extend your arms overhead, directly above your shoulders.

  2. Lift your legs such that your knees are directly over your hips, forming a straight line from your hips to your knees.

  3. Engage your core and press your lower back to the floor. Move one arm until it reaches beside your ear, as you straighten the opposite leg parallel to the ground in a controlled manner. Tip: Keep your lower back pressed into the floor, ribs down.

  4. Return your limbs to the position in step 2 and repeat the movement with the opposite arm and leg.


Level up!

If you are up for a challenge, you can try extending two legs in step 3 instead, while leaving your hands in the starting position.


To work your obliques (or more simply, side abs), try the next exercise!


Exercise 2: Side Planks



  1. Lie on the ground on your left side.

  2. Using your left forearm to support your weight, lift your upper body off the ground.

  3. Stack your right leg over the left, forming a straight line from your head to your feet.

  4. Keeping your feet tightly together, use your obliques to pull your right hip toward the sky, allowing your right arm to extend overhead.

  5. Hold here for 3 minutes, then switch sides.


Level up!

If you are up for a challenge, you can try doing the following steps in this plank position.

  1. Extend your left arm overhead.

  2. Inhale, twist and reach your hand down and under the left side of your body, into the space between your body and the ground.

  3. Return your arm overhead, then repeat 10 times before switching sides.


In essence, core stability is indispensable for ballet dancers, serving as the cornerstone of ballet technique and artistry. Building up core strength enables dancers to unlock their full potential, moving with grace, precision, and confidence on stage.



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