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The Best Ways to Warm Up Before Dance Class

Before a dance class (or any workout session!), it’s important to take some time to give your body a proper warm up. Warming up is a series of activities that gradually increase your heart rate and blood flow to muscles. Two primary reasons for warming up are to reduce the risk of injury and gradually prepare your body for the activity to come:

How To Warm Up

Though a dance class may be designed to gradually prepare the body, not all classes include a thorough warm up at the start. For this reason, it is especially important to warm yourself up before any class. Here are some ideas to try before your next dance class:

The warm up phase actually begins with aerobic movement but many dancers like to start more gently. If you just want to “get the kinks out,” here are some alternatives to static stretching that will do the trick:

  • Roll down the spine

  • Isolations like head, shoulder, rib, pelvis, wrist and ankle rolls

To increase your body temperature, start with 5 to 10 minutes doing any of the following:

  • Brisk walking

  • Jumping jacks or small jumps in place

  • Light jogging, marching, prancing, skipping (around the room or in place)

  • Lunges across the floor or a large Charleston step

  • Push Ups

Then, spend 5 to 10 minutes performing lengthening, full body movements:

  • Reaching and bending up, over, forward, and sideways (try one-leg variations to challenge core stability and balance)

  • Large arm swings or circles with torso twisting

  • Dynamic (moving) series of bridges or other yoga poses

  • Body (torso) swings

  • Leg swings standing or leg-drop swings lying on your back on the floor

You might also include core and stability work in your warm-up:

  • The Pilates Hundred Exercise

  • Bartenieff Body Half “Big X” movements (Bartenieff’s Basic Six is an excellent series to have in your warm-up repertoire)

  • Kickstart

  • Power Up

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