23 August, 2011
Breakdancing demands remarkable core and upper body strength. If you're looking to draw crowds at the dance floor, practice strengthening exercises on a regular basis that work your abs, arms and shoulders. Since many dynamic breakdancing moves are inspired by gymnastics moves, you also should round out your routine with exercises that promote balance, coordination and flexibility; each are as important to the breakdancer as to any gymnast.
Improve your core strength with traditional calisthenics, such as pushups, or with free weight training or weight machines. For a breakdancing-inspired variation on the pushup, start in the normal "plank" position. Keep your body straight and support yourself with your straightened arms. Your feet should be hip-width apart. Do one normal pushup. When you return to the plank position, slide your left foot underneath your right leg, rotating your body and raising your right hand off the ground. Complete the movement by facing upward and placing your right hand on your right side. Your position should resemble a "crab walk" pose. Do the same movement in reverse to return to the pushup pose. Repeat the motion, alternating between pushups and the crab stance.
Upper Body Strength
Plenty of weight training equipment focuses on the arms and upper back muscles, important areas to strengthen for breakdancing. If you don't have access to equipment, practice calisthenic exercises that work your shoulders, triceps and biceps, lats and upper abs. For "supermans," a whole-body workout, lay on your stomach. Extend your arms straight outward, lifting your arms and legs slightly off the ground. Engage your back and abdominal muscles, arching the small of your back slightly. You also should feel your shoulders and buttocks working. For a more intensive workout, do "inchworms." Start by standing up and placing your hands on the ground in front of you. Walk them outward as far as you can comfortably, bending at your hips and keeping your torso and legs straight. Straighten your body downward into a plank position. Then either walk your legs forward, repeating the inchworm-style walk, or do a set of pushups.
Work flexibility training into your regimen, doing slow stretches at least three times per week. Select stretches that work your major muscle groups and any muscles you use in your regular workout. Avoid any bouncing stretches, which can damage your muscles or tendons. As a general rule, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends holding each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds and doing three to five repetitions.
Improving your balance and coordination also helps in executing breakdance moves. Start with simple exercises, such as standing on one leg or performing simple exercises like arm curls while balancing on one leg. For additional balance work, invest in a stability ball or a half-spherical balance ball. Many traditional calisthenic exercises, such as pushups, crunches, squats and jumps, adapt well to the balls, which require heightened balance and coordination.
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