Exercises for your calves and shins
Tap dancing is like a battle between your feet, calves, shins, ankles and the floor. While only tap dancing will work the muscles you need the most, there are several exercises that can be added to your dance work out to improve strength, add definition, and ultimately improve the quality of your sounds.
This article will feature exercises for your dance work out that will develop strength in your calves and shins.
If you want to have a strong core, it is just as important to work your back muscles as well as your stomach muscles. In this way, if you want to have strong calf muscles, you also need to work the opposite side of your leg, your shin.
One of the most effective exercises you can do to improve strength in your calves is also one of the simplest.
Step #1- Stand arms length away from a wall, chair, or counter top. You will use this as a support.
Step #2- Place your heels together and your toes outward (1st position of the feet for those who understand the ballet term!).
Step #3- Press to the balls of your feet and hold it for one or two counts.
Step #4- Gently release back to a normal standing position. MAKE SURE TO HAVE CONTROL THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EXERCISE! If you want to be able to control your muscles while tapping, control them during exercise too.
Step #5- Repeat. Beginners may only be able to do a few at a time. As with all skills, practice will make them easier.
After doing this exercise, take the time to stretch your calves back out. This will reduce stiffness making it easier to continue with your exercise regiment.
To really increase strength in your lower leg, you also need to work your shin muscles (the tibialis anterior muscle). This muscle is responsible for flexing and pointing your foot.
This exercise can be done either standing or sitting, making it easy to exercise even when a full work out isn’t possible.
Step #1- Stack your knee so it makes a perfect perpendicular line to the floor like it does naturally when you're standing. (Don't let it lean forward or side-ways.)
Step #2- Flex your foot until your toes are pointing toward the ceiling while your heels remain on the floor.
Step #3- Release back to the starting position.
Step #4- Repeat. Again, these will become easier with practice.
To reduce soreness and prevent stiffness later, stretch out this muscle by gently pointing your toes.
Adding simple exercises like these into your dance work out are a quick and easy way to improving your body. Worked together, these muscles not only give legs more definition, they will produce louder, stronger, quality taps.
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