5 pieces of training equipment that every dancer needs
TRUTH: Dance is a full-body exercise that involves not only your body, but also your mind.
Beautiful, skillful dance is fueled by passion and attention to small details. You can improve your dance skills in classes and performances, but it’s also important to train for dance outside of the studio by stretching, exercising and taking care of your body in all the right ways.
Here are five key pieces of equipment that will help you train and stay in shape for all kinds of dance, from classical ballet to hip-hop. These affordable and simple pieces can have a huge impact on how you perform in class and on stage: don’t underestimate the importance of having all the right gear!
1. Exercise ball
Exercise balls are large, bouncy rubber balls that you can use for different kinds of exercises. They’re often used for core-strengthening moves that build up your abdominal muscles, but you can also use an exercise ball for stretching and improving your balance skills. Not sure what to do with your exercise ball? An internet search reveals hundreds of exercises that you can try, and your dance teacher may have some favorites to recommend as well.
2. Balance board
Great dancing technique starts with excellent balance. As you strengthen your dancing muscles balance becomes easier, but when you’re first starting out you’ll be exercising muscles that aren’t used very often. This is where a balance board comes into play--you can use this piece of equipment to build up your dance muscles in between classes. Even basic moves on a balance board will challenge you, so don’t be afraid to start simple and to work your way up.
3. Foot stretchers
As a dancer, it’s imperative to keep your feet in good shape and to take care of your toes, heels and everything in between. One of the best ways to take care of your feet is to invest in foot stretchers, special products that allow you to safely and carefully stretch your feet without harming your small muscles and tendons. Foot stretchers are fun to shop for, too--they’re available in all sorts of cool colors and patterns!
4. Foam roller
Foam rollers look simple, but athletes at all levels use these to recover and massage sore muscles. Carefully using a foam roller to apply pressure in spots where you feel knots can make a world of difference for helping your body bounce back from tough exercise. Foam rolling stimulates blood flow, which helps your muscles repair more quickly. You can also use a foam roller before dance class or a performance to warm up your muscles--these simple pieces of equipment are more versatile than you’d think!
5. Heat pack
Heat packs come in all shapes and sizes and can be used on any part of the body. For dancers, using heat packs on your ankles, lower back, thighs, shoulders and calves can help soothe sore muscles and relax you after class or a performance. The heat keeps your blood flowing and allows you to comfortably use each part of your body. Like foam rollers, heat packs are an indispensable tool for recovery after a tough dance workout.
Buying the right equipment is not just an investment in your dance training -- it’s directly tied to your physical health as an athlete. Shop now for the equipment above (as well as other great products for dan