June is about Arms!
After last month and working on the drum solo, I have decide to focus on more fluid motions. One of the weakest points in fluidity is that dancers (me included) lack the arm strength to carry off the movements. So … this months I am going to strengthen my arms. Below are some ways to strength your arm movements.
1. Do your drills with high arms. Our arms have their own weight so you do not always need to add extra weight to work them out. The more you practice your arm movements (especially those above your head) the stronger your arms get. Don’t be lazy when doing drills. Keep your arms out to the side or above your head. After a minute or two you will fill it.
2. Use weights when practicing dances. When you practice a combination try using a small set of wrist weights. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. They are easily made! Practice with weights will strengthen your arms and (as an added bonus) make you more conscious of what your arms are doing. This will reduce the “tired crab arms” that dancers so often get when they are not thinking about them.
3. Speed drills with arm movements. Speed drills are some of the best ways to perfect a movement. The concept is to start the movement at a very comfortable speed (like 4 count snake arms) and then double the counts (8 count snake arms). Double the counts again and again until it is ridiculously slow, then speed it back up. Keep speeding the movement up until it is crazy fast. Its best to do the movement at least eight times at each speed. If you do this with arm movements (snake arms, veil movements) you will have a workout for your arms.
Example Counts for a move in a speed drill: 4, 8,16,32,16,8,4,2,1(crazy fast)
4. Cross-training. I like to do some yoga or push-ups to increase my arm strength. Also other styles of dance like ballet or pole dancing are wonderful for helping to strengthening your arms. Do not limit yourself to belly dancing. Lifting weights always helps as well.
Good luck and have fun.
Do you have any favorite exercises for strengthening your arms? Any suggestions? Please comment!