Smooth frame/posture


Active Member
We have a new coach! (Yippee!!) He worked with us a little last night on posture and frame. He introduced some new (new to us) technique. Wow! I am a little sore this morning. My question is... Are there any exercises that I can do to help build up the dance muscles in my back and shoulders? He is really stressing on being "up" with our frame and yet being more "grounded". (The little dancer in my head says "yes, do that!". The logic side of me says "Be up and down at the same time?" Please explain.)
My posture needs a little work. My head tends to come forward as we progress around the room. Again... any stretches or exercises to help keep my blocks stacked?


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Regarding maintaining your own posture and frame, you need to practice that by yourself until you get it in "muscle memory". Because when you're dancing with a partner, you have too much else to think about. Spending 5 minutes at a time here and there during your day will help.

As far as developing muscles in core (abdomen) and back, I was shown an exercise in the gym. Using a weight machine with pulleys, hold it about forearm's length in front of your chest so the weight is pulling sideways. Then use your core to move the weight. I also have an exercise with two 25# free weights that I led hang from my shoulders and move from foot to foot maintaining posture.


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Gyrotonic. The best all-around ballroom dance exercise/body training I have found, and I've tried several modalities. Take it seriously, and you will improve your posture, flexibility, balance, mobility, and all in a way that makes smooth and standard partner dancing better. In addition, essentially, the Gyro tower becomes your partner, so every exercise you do, you do with partner feedback.


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I started with just holding proper frame for a few minutes at a time a few times a day... just standing, no moving. At the time, it seemed impossibly tough!

Then I did solo practices concentrating on frame and shape for 20 or so minutes at a stretch, using basics or easier choreo. At about the same time as that, I would do some exercises - holding dance frame with light weights on my wrists, etc.

My current favourite is using a looped exercise band, and putting one end around my left forearm, stretching it around my back right where I curve, with the other end around my right hand... then dance frame, then dance. It makes me keep tension in my arms, etc. It tends to seem easy for a few minutes, then gets really tough. Good times.

(And push ups. Them I don't like so much, but they are helping.)


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lat pulldown, single arm row, abds....lift your scapula, drop your delts, send your lats and elbows forward as you supinate wrists a small bit.....stay that way without tension for as long as possible...also keep your neck long and,if you are a woman, be able to balance a quarter on your right eyebrow


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Stomach vacuums. One of the most important muscles that people neglect and get strengthened by proxy is the transversus abdominis muscle. I cannot stress how important this muscle is with regards to stabilizing and maintaining posture through movement.

For stretches, do chest & shoulder stretches to help keep your shoulders down and keep them from rounding. Do glute & hamstring stretches to help keep your hips under you. Lower back & groin stretches are just awesome in general.

For actual exercises, what I tell you depends on your access to equipment. In general you want to do lat pulldowns, reverse flys, low rows, mid rows, high rows, good mornings(this can be a stretch too!) to strengthen you back in general. Body weight squats, lunges, and glute bridges can help strengthen your lower body.

As for the keep your upper body stretched upward and your lower body downward, go up on the balls of your feet and lower your heels without changing height. You should feel a pull in your lower back. Alternatively, try to bend your knees without changing height.

Check out Mobility WOD on youtube, there is a lot of good information there about general mobility. Honestly, if you do nothing else, practice walking for at least 30 minutes with a particular thing you want to practice such as keeping your rib cage lifted. This is important because it needs to be incorporated into the way you naturally move so it becomes second nature and the best way to do that is to actually focus on it intently for long periods of time.

This is really just general information and a starting point. I don't know what some of the actual challenges you have, such as pelvic tilt, with regards to your posture but in general, make sure you consult your coach about specifics about what you need to fix.

Basically go forth and be mobile!


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That is awesome! I might have to get one of those for my students and try it out.

The way I've explained it is that from the hips down, you want to imagine yourself being very heavy, sinking down into the floor. From the waist up, you want to stretch tall toward the sky and think light. So it's like you're a piece of taffy being pulled apart.

I'll usually have them practice walking across the floor a couple times concentrating on just that heavy, grounded feeling, then a couple more times thinking about the stretchy light feeling, then again thinking about both at the same time.

Dr Dance

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lat pulldown, single arm row, abds....lift your scapula, drop your delts, send your lats and elbows forward as you supinate wrists a small bit.....stay that way without tension for as long as possible...also keep your neck long and,if you are a woman, be able to balance a quarter on your right eyebrow
Until recently, I was not aware that lat pull downs were so beneficial for dancing posture. I did them regularly anyway during gym work outs. Just another good reason to do them!


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Bump! Ok, i have ALL THE PROBLEMS maintaining any sort of tone in my core when I dance. I'm aware of the issue, have been for years, and constantly am trying to be conscious of it and fix it. Happens in smooth and rhythm. Trying to get it into my muscle memory. Tried yoga, moved onto boxing (punches come from your body, not your arms), and yet I still am the saggy-bellied elephant when i dance. I have decent core muscles, they just...don't stay activated once i start to do anything. When i focus on it, it will stay that way for about a quarter of a routine, lesson, what have you, and then... blergh blergh blah. I've read through this thread again, and others... nothing has seemed to work so far...any out of the box suggestions on how to improve my muscle memory for this SPECIFIC thing (otherwise, it seems to work great) and how to improve maintaining it consistently?


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You're not going to like it, but... consistent practice ;)

If the issue isn't a lack of core strength and more one of activation, then it's about training how and when to use those muscles. I still - after about a year and a half of working on this - include an exercise in my daily warm-up that focuses on how I stack myself... after warming up legs and feet, I take frame or simply a working hold with arms extended (sometimes holding a stick) then do a side-collect on rise-lower thing back and forth or a waltz box. While I'm doing this, the biggest thing I'm concentrating on is alignment After a while, it simply becomes (more) automatic and transfers over to all of my dancing.

There are a couple of other things that have helped me, FWIW:
- figuring out that I was popping and slightly rotating my right hip, which was making everything else above that twist. Concentrating on fixing that helped immensely.
- taking ballet, where I spend basically the whole class every week working on alignment. When you're standing on one foot in releve, it's pretty tough to cheat - becomes immediately obvious if you are, because you fall over!
- not thinking so much about engaging my core, but about stretching upward - almost like there is a string attached to my sternum that keeps everything lifted
- not worrying about seeking a tight connection with my partner. I used to (and still sometimes do, on a bad day) push my ribcage too far forward in an attempt to "find" him, which made me do odd things with my back and pop my butt

In latin yesterday, we experimented with using the same "stretch" approach that I use for standard... apparently thinking about stretching (rather than contracting the opposing side as most do) is the magic trick for me. Thinking about contracting, for whatever reason, just makes me collapse my centre.

In sum what really worked for me was figuring out why I was collapsing - what was causing it - then then work to fix that cause, rather than just adddressing the symptom... because while that made it better, it never really fixed the issue.

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