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Words and Photography by Eva Devore | Featuring exercises by Miss Mouse

I think all of our instructors would agree that to see real progress in your dancing and tricks, one class per week is simply not enough. Continuing your conditioning at home will support what you are learning in class, and mean that your progress will show in leaps and bounds! Committing to a new exercise routine can be tricky, but even setting aside 15 minutes per day for stretches and exercises can make a difference (as well as giving you a little bit of Me-Time!) This new blog post series will show you some easy conditioning exercises and stretches to do at home. The exercises are suitable for Pole, Lyra, Burlesque and Sling!

To make it a bit easier to commit to a home conditioning routine, try to incorporate it as part of your daily routine. Whether it’s first thing in the morning, or when you get home in the evening, doing your exercises at the same time each day will help form the habit. You can invest in a cute yoga mat and blocks to help make the whole process a bit more enjoyable!

As with any new exercise, it’s always best to check with your healthcare professional or your instructor to make sure it is safe for you to begin. Be aware of any existing injuries, and always warm up before any exercise.

Standing Push Ups

This exercise is great for strengthening arms and shoulders, while being a little less strenuous than a push up on the floor. You can do this exercise at the barre, or at a sturdy table, kitchen bench or chair back!

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Step One | Set up in a plank position

Start by facing the barre/table/bench. Take a big step back from the barre, and place your feet shoulder width apart. Place your hands shoulder width apart too, and lean over, keeping a straight back and engaging your core while being up on your toes.

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Step Two | Bend your arms and push up

Bend your elbows, bringing your chest down towards the barre, then slowly raise back up to the plant position. Make sure your back stays nice and straight! Control both the down, and lifting motions by engaging all the muscles in your arms and shoulders.

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Step Three | Take it up a notch

For a more challenging variation, you can do the same exercise with your feet right next to each other, maintaining a straight back and engaged core. Repeat for 10 - 15 reps!

Block Crunches

Work on that core using a yoga block! This exercise is all about control, while it. If y’s a small motion, you will feel it! You don’t have a yoga block, you could always use an empty drink bottle or a rolled towel!

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Step One | Set up in position

Lie on your back. Put a yoga block between your knees, and raise your knees to a 90 degree angle. Hold the other yoga blog between your hands, over your head.

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 Step Two | Crunch up using your core

Engaging your core muscles, bring your arms and the yoga block forward, while maintaining the right angle with your legs.

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Step Three | Slowly come back to first position

Using control, return to the first position. Repeat for 3 sets of 10 - 15 reps to really work those upper abdominals!

Pancake Practice

A pancake is where you fold forward while in a middle split. Work on that hip and hamstring flexibility using yoga blocks to gradually build your progress!

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Step One | Set up your middle split

Sit down on the floor. Open your legs out to the side as far as you comfortably can - whether you can middle split yet or not doesn’t matter! Take two blocks and stand them one in front of the other, in front of you.

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Step Two | Place the blocks

Keeping a straight back, place one block in front of the other. Keep placing the blocks in front of the previous, leaning over them with a straight back. You will start to feel a stretch!

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Step Three | See how far you can go!

When you feel the stretch, stop and spend about 30 seconds in this pose, then see if you can go another block-width forward! Your flexibility will improve with this gradual stretch.