Photo by Francesco Gallarotti via unsplash.com

The Best Cardio Workouts for Dancers

What's the best cardio workout for dancers? Quick answer: It's not always the elliptical.

Don't discount running. Photo by Francesco Gallarotti via unsplash.com

Yes, we all love the elliptical's heart-pumping, low-impact benefits. But a 2007 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that the forces across the hip and knee joints were actually greater on an elliptical machine than when walking because of the limited pedal trajectory (the machine requires the knee to stay bent, unlike a walker's stride) and the fixed position of the foot.

The truth is, overuse on any one piece of equipment will create excess wear and tear on a joint. The key to keeping your joints healthy while cross-training is variability—switching things up.

“Minimize long term bouts on any cardiovascular machine," says Derrick Price, MS, CPT, PES, CES and programming manager at the Institute of Motion. "Use all of the machines intermittently. Instead of using an elliptical for an hour, select 3 machines and do each for 20 minutes."

Price advises dancers to think of their cross-training as a way to provide balance from your current dance load. Here's a breakdown of the benefits and drawbacks of six common options:

Graphic by Saralyn Ward

Bonus cardio tip: If your goal is to improve your stamina for a long piece of choreography, maintain a consistent intensity for 20 minutes or more. On the other hand, high intensity interval training has been shown to improve power and explosiveness, and is usually more effective when the goal is to lose weight or change your body composition.

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Photo by Ema Peter, Courtesy University of Southern California, Glorya Kaufman School of Dance

More Than Just a Studio

There's a special connection between dancers and the studios where they spend countless hours—even years—developing their craft. That's why colleges that want to attract and nurture the very best talent invest in the very best resources—like top-quality flooring from a trusted manufacturer like Harlequin—to inspire and support their students both mentally and physically.

Check out these college dance studios—and their sweeping views, eye-catching design, and industry-leading Harlequin floors—that are soon to become a home away from home to the class of 2025.

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July 2021