"The Top 6 Cross Training Methods for Injury Prevention" by Keira Whitaker

So you’ve hit a plateau in your training, or maybe you have an injury that needs to heal but you need to stay in shape while you’re recovering. What’s a dancer to do? Well that’s where this list comes in handy. We have compiled the 6 best methods of cross training for dancers, and you may find that one or more of them is the answer you’ve been seeking for injury prevention and fitness. 

#6. Yoga

Become one with your mind, body, and spirit with this amazing workout made up of of stretching, meditation, and strengthening. You really cannot go wrong with a yoga class after dance class, or a nice hot yoga chisel class on your day off. This will definitely help you with your balance, focus, and strength. #yogiforlife #oratleastfeelinglikeayogiinmylulus

#5. Cycling

Do you find yourself winded mid performance, or the height of your jumps suffering from leg fatigue? Then cycling could be just what the doctor ordered! It’s still low impact (and can be really good for your knees in particular), but it’s upbeat and one of the best cardio workouts of all time. So jump on that bike and improve those cardiovascular levels!

#4. Swimming

It’s weightless, impact free, and frankly it’s just good fun! Get some vitamin D by hopping into the pool for a workout that doesn’t hurt your knees or hips and gives you an awesome cardio intensive workout (side note: no need to become Michael Phelps here, but feel free to give yourself a gold medal for your efforts).

#3. Gyrotonic Method

The Gyrotonic Method is everything a dancer needs… in addition to being a method of injury prevention, it's also a practice that increases range of motion, re-centers alignment and balance, builds strength, relaxes gripped muscles, and teaches breath control. It’s like the perfect pie of cross training, and if you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out. (Learn more about how Gyrotonic can improve your dancing.) Gyrotonic can be a little trickier to find than some other methods - find a studio near you

 #2. Pilates

Looking to improve your turns, strengthen your core, or rehab an injury? Then Pilates is definitely the best cross training technique for you. Joseph Pilates started his studio in New York in 1925, and dancers have been flocking to Pilates studios ever since to improve their technique and their core. Workouts can take place on a mat, or on a Reformer, a machine that enhances your workout experience. Pilates is readily available at a variety of gyms and private studios around the country, so make sure you find a teacher that's right for you.  

#1. Walking

Yes, that’s right, coming in at the top of our list is the most basic form of cross training. By simply moving one foot in front of the other, you can participate in one of the best (albeit simplest) active recovery techniques known to man, which is particularly beneficial for some knee injuries. So leash up your dog, throw on those joggers, and get to movin'!  

The best part of this list is that you can try them all, and see what works for you! Maybe you'll fall in love with more than one cross training method. I know that for me, Pilates and Yoga feel the best in my body and I really enjoy both, so my routine is Pilates in the morning and Yoga on my day off. My core feels ready for ballet class, and on my day off I feel rested and rejuvenated. But you have to find the best routine for YOU that is going to take your overall health as a dancer to a higher level. 

About the author

Keira Whitaker is a dedicated teacher, performer, and choreographer, who has been dancing for the past 21 years. She recently graduated from the University of California Irvine with a BFA in Dance performance and a minor in English.