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I do a lot of salsa dancing and like many other dances you need to have certain muscles subconsciously and almost perpetually tense so that the dancer isn't having to remember to 'flex' all the time to keep posture, etc. Hopefully some of you understand what I'm getting at.

By keeping muscles tense I mean remembering which muscles to use to perform certain routines properly without having to think about it.

My question is, what kinds of exercises can I do so that my core is always ready when I need it without having to think about it? When I do spins and turns I often forget to tense my core. And because the core is a supporting muscle than one used to perform actions it's very hard to use it.

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2 Answers 2

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To keep good posture you should work your pelvic floor, lower back, and ab muscles. Those muscles are always getting engaged in dancing. A tight core will greatly improve your dancing posture and make it easier for you to maintain that posture throughout the routine. Here are some exercises to help your endeavors:

  1. Posture Exercises - YouTube - need foam roller
  2. Mayo Clinic - Slideshow of Core Exercises - bridge a.k.a. pelvic tilts (works pelvic floor), planks (works abs and lower back) and superman's (lower back, stretches abs) are great, no additional equipment needed
  3. Deadlift - you want to maintain muscle balance by exercising the opposing muscle (the lower back and abs are opposing muscles), need access to bar/plates or dumbbells
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I have the muscles already, so that isn't the problem. It's being able to isolate them and remembering to use them when I do the routine. Having said that, I do like the Posture Exercises. I do already own a balance board and can stand on it straight, but never thought of doing the exercises she explains which is great. Thanks. –  Salsero69 Mar 24 '11 at 12:15
    
Nice then the rest is all dance technique: your frame, proper foot work (where you shift your weight), and spotting (focusing on a target). But maintaining a tight core will def. help you keep your frame during spins and turns. See this vid for fundamentals. –  Rhea Mar 24 '11 at 13:47
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If you have the muscles built already, then the thing you need to do is just practice. Eventually you'll remember to call on the muscles you need and it will become second nature. There is an example known as the Johari Window which is commonly used to portray this:

Johari Window

Clockwise from the top-right corner:

  • You don't realize there is more to learn, and so therefore you don't know that you don't know.
  • You become aware (in your case through dance lessons) that there is more to know, but you don't know them yet.
  • You learn to do those things consciously with effort through practice, repetition, and training.
  • You become familiar enough with performing those trained actions that you no longer realize you are doing them.

It sounds like you're currently in the third phase of this process from your question and comments, and if you will continue to consciously practice and make an effort to perform the movements correctly with correct posture, it will eventually become a trained response that you will perform automatically. Just don't give up and keep on practicing!

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Yup, that's me. I always need to remind myself to do it. But there is so many things that I need to remind myself to do that sometimes the most important stuff falls off the list. –  Salsero69 Apr 1 '11 at 0:04
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