Exercises to Be a Better Hip Hop Dancer

Woman street dancing by graffiti mural

Hip hop dancing is an extremely challenging workout for your body, requiring many different types of physical abilities. Although no conditioning routine can truly be a substitute for actually practicing your dancing, incorporating certain other types of exercises into a supplemental routine can help you develop into a stronger and more impressive dancer.


Because hip hop dancing requires you to be able to control your own body weight smoothly and easily, practicing strength-training exercises with your body weight can be very beneficial. For example, push-ups and dips can help strengthen your back, chest and triceps. Sit-ups and leg raises can help strengthen your hips and abs, while squats and lunges can help develop the legs. Because hip hop dancing requires strength and balance throughout your entire body, you should try to target your entire body's muscles during your conditioning routines.


As a hip hop dancer, not only do you need to be strong enough to perform a particular move, but you also must have sufficient muscular endurance to maintain positions as necessary. Much of this endurance comes from your core, including your abdominal, oblique and lower back muscles; depending on the move, however, other muscles like those of your shoulders will also be engaged. An effective way to develop this endurance is to hold static positions, such as planks, bridges and wall sits, for as long as you are able.


In addition to raw strength and endurance, you must also develop your explosiveness if you wish to become a better hip hop dancer. Explosiveness refers to your ability to move very quickly, suddenly and decisively. Simulating such sudden motions in your conditioning routine can help you develop your explosiveness. Exercises such as box jumps -- descending rapidly from a platform -- and clapping push-ups are both good examples, as are many different routines performed with resistance bands.


Any physical activity roughly over two minutes requires cardiovascular conditioning; hip hop dancing definitely falls into this category. A traditional exercise benefiting the cardiovascular system is running. Intervals of sprinting as fast as you are able, intermixed with a light jog in between to recover -- called a fartlek -- is best, since it helps mirror the demands on your system while you are dancing. This method not only helps develop your cardio, but promotes muscular endurance as well.