By Kevin Sateri

We all have our favorite muscles to workout. Unfortunately, sometimes the muscles that need the most attention get overlooked due to weakness, disinterest, or lack of knowledge that we actually aren’t engaging them as much as we should (or could). Here is a list of 5 muscle groups that are often under engaged or could use some more attention on how we activate them.

  1. Inner Thighs – As dancers, we can find our inner thighs most effectively being used on tendus. Whenever we lift our legs off the floor, the quadriceps want to get involved and help out, as they are a larger, stronger muscle. Pay attention to how you can use your inner thighs more while you are dancing, or strengthen them with a Pilates Magic Circle or squeezing an air filled ball with multiple repetitions.
  1. Core – The core consists of our abdominals, obliques, lower back, and even the glutes. Specifically, the transverse abs, which are the deep layer of abdominals underneath the ones that are visible, are important to keep strong and engaged. Using our abs will help lower back issues and help us find our balance. All movement in Pilates initiates from your core, so keeping it in top shape helps us get stronger in all aspects of the body.
  1. Lats – Good dance teachers have helped most of us find our lats in our back, when our arms are out in second position. Many people have trouble finding them or feeling them being active. If your arms are extended straight out on front of you, and you actively press down on a partner without engaging your neck, shoulders, or trapezius muscles, you can often feel them engaged. The trick is to be able to isolate and use them when needed, and Pilates can help strengthen them when using them in isolated exercises.
  1. Hamstrings – We stretch our hamstrings constantly, but don’t work to strengthen them as often. Since they are connected to our glutes, which are activated most of the time, it’s important to keep these strong as well through bridging or pelvic tilt exercises.
  1. Triceps – We don’t use our triceps much… dance or in daily life. They are located on the opposite side of the biceps, which we use when lifting or carrying, but the triceps need to be isolated more in order to truly work and tone the backside of the arms.

Focusing on balancing out our weaker muscles can help our bodies be more well rounded and less prone to injuries. By drawing attention to it, hopefully it will help you understand that all muscles are important, not just the ones we like to favor.

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