Between academic classes, dance classes, homework and trying to hang on to a social life, you're busy every day. With a schedule like that, who has time to hit the gym? But just because you can't log a sweat session on the treadmill or hit the free weights doesn't mean you can't tone up a few times a week. DS sought out Rachel Piskin, co-founder of ChaiseFitness, to find out which exercises are ideal for dancers who can only spare 10 minutes a day.
You'll Need: A Thera-Band
Exercise 1: Banded Pliés
Where you'll feel the burn: glutes and thighs
Fold your Thera-Band in half and hold one end in each hand. Stand in a wide second position, with your legs turned out, and extend your arms straight in front of you at shoulder height.Plié as you reach your arms overhead, keeping them straight. Return to the starting position. Repeat 20 times.
Piskin says: “Keep your shoulders down and create more resistance in the band as you plié."
Exercise 2: Heel Lifts
Where you'll feel the burn: thighs
Begin in the same starting position as Exercise 1.
Lower into a deep second plié.
Staying in plié, lift both heels off the ground as you extend your arms straight overhead. Remaining in plié, lower your heels and arms. Repeat heel lift 20 times.
Piskin says: “Keep your core and glutes engaged throughout the exercise so your heels and arms move together in one smooth progression."
Exercise 3: Pull the Sword
Where you'll feel the burn: back muscles and triceps
Stand in parallel with both feet on top of the Thera-Band, hips-distance apart. Hold the long end of the band in your left hand, in front of your right thigh. Keep your right hand on your hip.
Pull the band on a diagonal toward the ceiling, bending the elbow as you pull and then extending your arm straight. Return to the starting position. Do two sets of 12 and then repeat on the opposite side.
Piskin says: “Keep your working wrist straight so you're isolating and sculpting your back and arm muscles, not your wrist."
Exercise 4: Arm-Extension Curtsy
Where you'll feel the burn: arms, glutes and hamstrings
Stand on the middle of the band with your left foot, turned out. Point your right leg behind you, staying on the ball of your foot so you're in a curtsy position. Hold one end of the band in each hand, with your arms by your sides.
Pull your arms up and out to your sides as you lower into a deep curtsy. Return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times and then switch sides.
Piskin says: “Keep your back leg parallel to the floor. As you curtsy, you should feel like you're crossing your legs in a chair—this will engage and sculpt your glutes and hamstrings. You can make it harder by pulsing 10 times in the low curtsy position."
Exercise 5: Bicep Cross Curtsy
Where you'll feel the burn: biceps and glutes
Begin in the same starting position as Exercise 4, but cross the band in front of you and hold one end in each hand, with your palms facing the ceiling.
As you curtsy, curl your fists in toward your body, working the bicep muscles. Straighten your legs and return your arms to the starting position. Do two sets of 10 and then switch sides.
Piskin says: “Keep your elbows tight to your body so you're working your bicep muscles, not using momentum."
Exercise 6: Arabesque Arm Extensions
Where you'll feel the burn: upper back, thighs and glutes
Stand on the center of the band with your left foot, bending your left leg slightly. Hold an end of the band in each hand and tendu your right foot back. Keep your focus on the ground in front of you.
Lift your right leg to arabesque as you pull the bands out to your sides. Lower your leg and arms to return to the starting position. Repeat 12 times and then switch sides.
Piskin says: “Keep your standing leg bent and focus on engaging your core to stabilize your body."
Photography by Erin Baiano; hair and makeup by Chuck Jensen for Mark Edward Inc., modeled by Rachel Piskin.