The one strengthening exercise you need to do every day
We know life is busy, right? Not enough hours in the day, and sometimes things have to give. As much as you wish you could be practising and conditioning and strengthening for three hours every night, you need to prioritise. To that end, we consulted one of the top Irish dancing fitness experts to find out what the one strengthening exercise is that you should be doing every day.
According to Frances Dunne, personal trainer and founder of Fitness Formula Irish Dance, you should get in a few sets of Side Lying Clams every day. Dunne says “this exercise works the gluteus medius muscle (among others) which is crucial for hip stability, especially when you’re on one leg – obviously very important for dancers!”
“Another benefit is the activation of the glute muscles (gluteus medius and gluteus minimus), a lack of which causes back pain and all sorts of movement malfunctions. It also assists in hip rotation, meaning that a strong gluteus medius equals better turnout!”
Follow our simple step by step:
1. Lie down on your side. Rest your head on your arm or hand so that you’re comfortable.
2. Bend your legs so that your hips are at approximately 45 degrees, and bend your knees at 90 degrees (your feet should be in line with your back). Make sure your hips are ‘stacked’ – one hip above the other.
3. Take a deep breath in – as you slowly exhale, engage your core muscles.
4. Inhale – as you exhale, float the upper knee upwards while keeping your feet together.
5. Inhale – as you exhale bring the knee back down to the starting position. This is supposed to be a slow and controlled exercise, and it is crucial that the hips don’t wobble at all – they need to be totally still as the leg goes up and down.
6. Repeat this 5-10 times on each leg.
If you want to increase the challenge of your clams, you can tie a resistance band just above the knees.
Simply taking five minutes out of every day to do this one strengthening exercise will keep all the important muscles strong so you can dance your best.
What’s the one exercise you do every day?