I was having a conversation with a dancer the other day, who pointed out to me that dancers never really work their back muscles as much as their front muscles, in their upper body, when it comes to technique class, choreography, or conditioning classes. The back needs to be addressed more in supplementary resistance work.
Of course we do use our posterior muscles, within movement, and many dance movements, from floor work to partnering, but, It is very hard to work and develop the posterior muscles without using equipment such as weights or a pull up bar. The problem with this is that we create imbalances in our conditioning, and muscles.
As a very simple separation of muscle work, anything that pushes uses the anterior (front) muscles, and anything that pulls uses the posterior (back) muscles. How much pulling do you do in dance class or choreography? Probably not much (if any), when compared to the amount of pushing that you would do.
A ‘push up’ for example, is a simple bodyweight exercise, with no equipment necessary; primarily working the chest and triceps. Try to achieve the same workload and simplicity for your back muscles… you can’t. It requires a bar or suspension system to do a reverse push up, or, weights or elastics for perform a row movement.
This is just something to consider when working on a strong, balanced body. Know your muscle anatomy to understand what does what, and keep a good balance of anterior and posterior work – push AND pull.
Simple back workout:
Row (seated or free weights) - Close grip and wide grip.
Pull up (or a Lat pull down machine, working up to a full pull up - I feel everyone should be able to do at least one full pull up) - have a go at a wide grip too.
Reverse fly - easiest way to perform this is to take two dumbbells (not too heavy), hinge at the waist into an easy flat back position, arms hanging straight down, open arms wide, level with the shoulders, then return down.