How to Build Strength in Your Knees for Dance

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Strengthening your knees can be elusive because you can't just pick up a pair of weights. According to Dance Spirit Magazine, focus on strengthening and aligning the muscles around your kneecaps to both be pain-free and a better dancer. If you have serious knee problems, consult a physical therapist for knee exercises specific to your situation. If you have minor knee problems, or if you want to build strength to get higher off the floor in your jumps, certain yoga poses can help.

Things You'll Need

  • Pillow
  • Exercise mat
  • Lie down on an exercise mat. Draw your knees up toward the ceiling and plant your feet firmly on the floor. Your arms should remain relaxed at your sides, completely touching the ground. Fold a pillow in half and put it between your knees, holding it in place with your inner thighs and muscles around your kneecaps.

  • Tighten your core muscles and lift your pelvis off the floor, keeping the pillow between your knees. This pose may feel familiar if you have done yoga, as it is like the Bridge pose. Called Setu Bandha Sarvangasana in Sanskrit, this pose is largely about alignment, so make sure not to stress your pelvis by raising it too far off the ground. Hold this pose for 30 to 60 seconds.

  • Extend one leg in front of you while still grasping the pillow with your knees for an added challenge. Create a straight line from your shoulders on the ground to your extended foot. Flex the foot that is in the air to engage your knee muscles further. Hold for 10 seconds, then bend your knee and place your foot on the floor. Repeat with the opposite leg, keeping your torso and shoulders still as you switch.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never push your pelvis so high that you feel pain in your knees. You should be able to trace a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images
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