Resistance training helps condition, stretch and strengthen the muscles. It builds stability in muscles and prevents injury.
What are Therabands?
Therabands are resistance bands or tubes made of latex, used widely for physical therapy, muscle strengthening, alignment and even for improving flexibility. They are coded according to their colour, working from beginning to advanced use. Different systems of colour codes based on their resistance levels are available.
Therabands: An indispensable tool for dancers
Therabands aid a dancer comprehensively as they target everything from improving pointe and turnout, strengthening ankles, conditioning the legs and back muscles, improving port de bras, increasing flexibility and stability, height of arabesques, developpes and extensions, as well as targeting specific problem areas and muscle weaknesses.
Moreover, therabands are effective training tools since they complement the strengthening routine carried out by dancers on the ballet barre.
Therabands also aid dancers who are recovering from injuries in safe rehabilitation and body conditioning by providing a means of exercising that prevents excessive strain or weight on the injured area while gradually reintroducing strength-based movement.
Therabands are dependable training tools since they are easy to use, inexpensive, portable, solo-safe, can be tailored to suit one’s needs and comprehensive as a training equipment.
Some of the basic strengthening exercises are given below:
Second position pulses: Stand in second position turned out holding the resistance band with both hands, arms extended above the head. Plie and extend arms straight out at shoulder height keeping abs engaged and the arms strong. Do 20 to 30 reps.
Second position thigh and arm presses: Stand in second position plie with one foot on demi-pointe and extend arms straight out at chest level. Pulse the right knee back, using the inner and outer thighs while arms squeeze band out. Do 20 to 30 reps, and then switch sides.
Overhead shoulder presses: Step into a small lunge position, with both knees bent to form a 90-degree angle and hold the resistance band with arms extended overhead. Plie and stretch the legs, keeping knees over toes, legs parallel, and abs engaged and simultaneously draw the arms down behind the head keeping the resistance band straight, drawing shoulder blades down the back. Stretch, repeat and then switch to the opposite leg.
Lateral Obliques: Stand in second position plie. Extend arms, drawing the resistance band over the head. Do side laterals from left-middle-right and vice versa. Sequence the breath by exhaling every time you squeeze the obliques from side to side. Do 20 to 30 reps.
Gluten presses: Start on all fours. Hold one loose end of the resistance band under each hand and place right foot on the knot of the band. Draw the right leg to hip level, bending at the knee and keeping the band in the centre of the foot. Begin to press the leg out in small movements, squeezing the glutes to lift leg. Keep abs lifted, spine in a neutral position, and weight shifted towards the working leg. Repeat 20 to 30 reps then switch sides.
Back dancing: Start on the floor in the base position with feet in a narrow v position. Place a circular resistance band around both legs, between the knees and hips. Engaging the abs, raise your pelvis off the floor and pulse the legs out and come back down. Repeat for 3 to 4 minutes.
Clam shell: Start seated on mat. Place a circular resistance band around both legs, just between the knees and hips. Lie on the left side of the body and stack the legs, drawing the knees and the toes up. Rest your head in left hand and place the right hand in front of the waistline.
Keep abs engaged and both feet together. Begin to lift and lower the leg squeezing from the right glute every time the leg lifts. Keep hips square and waistline long. Do 20 to 30 reps, and then switch sides.
Abdominal curls: Start in base position on the floor. Hold resistance band in both hands, arms extended out at chest level. Slowly crunch the upper body exhaling on the up and inhaling on the down. Add variations, twisting side to side and squeezing the band outwards to work the obliques. Do 10 to 15 reps forward and 10 to 15 reps side to side.
Exercises with therabands help articulate metatarsals which further leads to strengthening of different foot muscles as well as toning calves. Dancers focus primarily and excessively on their legs and feet, often overlooking the importance of arm strengthening. Arm exercises with therabands work as a substitute to gym and increase arm strength without adding a bodybuilder’s bulk.
What are you waiting for? Get a theraband for yourself and get started now!