There is a certain level of strength any dancer needs if they’re going to be leaping and jumping. And while practicing leaps and jumps each and every class is the best way to get stronger at leaps, there are a few specific exercises that can be done as well. Here are the five leg strengthening exercises I use with my kids each week.
Turned Out Squat
The traditional turned out squat is the best and simplest form of squat. You probably do this in your warm up every jazz class. To make it more difficult, press to your forced arch, pair it with side squats or try jumping turned out squats.
Jump squats provide dancers with explosive power. When doing these, stay parallel, keep your head and chest up, and point your feet while in the air. Also, keep your shoulders pressed down.
The exercise: 10 jump squats, 3x. Rest for 30 seconds in between
Single leg squats
Grab a chair or mat and practice squatting on one leg, keeping the other in a Dégagé.
The exercise: 10 Right leg squats, 10 Left leg squats, Repeat 2x
Perform your sautes in first position as well as on the right and left (in back coupe). Make sure each dancer gets as high as possible each time, allowing their ankles to fully stretch beneath them.
The exercise: 16 counts in first, 8 counts right foot, 8 counts left foot.
Lunges are a full-leg workout so do them often. I prefer sliding back into lunges over forward walking lunges, especially for young dancers who may over-extend.
The exercise: 8x8x4 (8 pulses, 8 full back lunges, 4 times) Do each side once.